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Spring's Symphony from Songbirds

April 23, 2024

by Aubry Hall, Membership and Volunteer Manager, Imagination Station

The buds have started to bloom and spring has marked its arrival in Toledo, meaning it’s time for birds to begin their migration journey north once again.

Most birds follow distinct paths when migrating north every spring. In fact, there are four routes—called flyways—that birds follow in the United States when they migrate. There are the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific Flyways.

Northwest Ohio falls into the Mississippi Flyway which spans from Ohio to Iowa and is used by 325 bird species. Toledo is the perfect resting spot for birds flying through this route because of its various habitats. From Lake Erie's shorelands to Magee Marsh to the wooded Metroparks, the Northwest Ohio region offers vast and diverse backdrops allowing migrating birds to refuel and recharge before continuing over Lake Erie.

One of the most popular bird species that choose Toledo as a resting spot is the well-known warbler. Warblers are small, colorful, songbirds that flock to this region when they migrate. While Toledo is the perfect place to recoup before flying over Lake Erie, for birdwatchers, Northwest Ohio is one of the best spots to glimpse the notorious winged wonders.

Knowing this, the Black Swamp Bird Observatory—located in Oak Harbor, Ohio—created the Biggest Week in American Birding in 2009. The 10-day experience, which happens during peak warbler migration, attracts birders of all ages and abilities to the Northwest Ohio region.

Last year, over 2,000 participants flocked from 49 states and 11 countries to see 243 different bird species and 36 different types of warblers.

This year, the festival begins on May 3 and at the science center, our own Birding Week starts on May 7. As thousands flock to our region to celebrate, grab your binoculars and get ready to see the birds that call Toledo home – even if only for a few weeks.