Millions of birds are coming to Ohio this spring. It’s really an unbelievable sight worth checking out.
We Buckeyes are fortunate to live in a state that has one of the Great Lakes. There are many advantages to having a Great Lake in your state and world-class bird watching is one of them.
It’s all happening up in the Lake Erie area and the great news is that Ohio has a “driving trail” you can follow to catch all the action. The trail is called the “Lake Erie Birding Trail” and it encompasses 312 miles of the Ohio shoreline and inland areas from Conneaut east to Toledo.
Of course you don’t need to drive the whole 312 miles to get in on the action. There are many shorter routes and stationary spots to “cherry pick” from.
There are seven trail loops with over 80 birding sites along the way. The entire trail can be explored in one trip or visitors can explore loop by loop. The loops are as follows: Ashtabula Loop, Cleveland Loop, Western Lake Erie Marshes Loop, Huron Loop, Sandusky Loop, Lake Erie Islands Loop and the Oak Openings Loop.
The spring migration provides some of the most memorable visual spectacles in nature with over 400 species of birds being spotted in these areas every year in gigantic numbers. The Lake Erie shoreline in northwest Ohio is considered the number one birding site in America.
Many of the migrating songbirds stopping off to rest and feed on the Lake Erie shoreline during their long journey are actively singing when they arrive, making the area also known as the “Warbler Capital of the World.”
Many of these birds migrate thousands of miles north to reach their breeding grounds. For example, many grassland birds travel 6,000 miles all the way from Argentina to the arctic tundra and stop off at the Lake Erie shores as a resting spot on their way. Hummingbirds also migrate from Central and South America to Ohio.
Some great hotspots in Ohio to check out these birds and take some great photos are the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area and the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve.
You can get more information and find more viewing hotspots by visiting the Lake Erie Birding Trail website at lakeeriebirding.ohiodnr.gov for bird identification tips, facts, events, checklists and directions.
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.