Long-time readers of my blog already know that this time of year is both my favorite time and my busiest time. Why is that? Because spring migration is ON, baby, that’s why! Some species have already started to show up here in Michigan, and others are still down south making their way toward us. We track our favorite species on the eBird maps each day to see how much closer they’re getting to us. We’re all making notes about which friends will be in Ohio on which days, hoping to renew our friendships over birding, always followed by pie at Blackberry Corners. (Note to self: Lose a few pounds to make room for pie.)
Thousands of bird lovers from around the globe are making plans to visit the southern shore of Lake Erie in May, to witness one of the most amazing spectacles in all of nature. The Biggest Week in American Birding is in its fifth year already. This will be my fourth year attending, which means that it’s been four years since my world changed forever.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’m the official “Blogger Wrangler” this year, in charge of motivating the bloggers and sharing what they write on the Biggest Week’s Facebook page. But I thought many of you might find their blogs interesting too, so I just wanted to give you a brief list of some of their Biggest Week writing so far. Everyone’s bios and profile pictures are on the Biggest Week page if you care to go over there when you’re done here. Many of the posts linked below have beautiful pictures of birds too, so I hope you enjoy browsing through them.
Jennifer Callaway – Birdfreak: Biggest Week in American Birding: Hoos In?
Cheryl Harner – Weedpicker’s Journal: Birding Events Matter
Jerry Jourdan – Jerry’s Birding/Digiscoping Blog: Warblers on My Mind
Nemesis Bird (Drew Weber and Anna Fasoli) – 5 Reasons to Go to the 2014 Biggest Week and Beat the Winter Doldrums by Registering for the Biggest Week!
Robert Setzer – Dr. Bob’s Bird Blog: Spring and one’s fancy turns to … The Biggest Week
Chris West – Swallow-tailed Kite: The Biggest Week in American Birding
Hot Off the Press: The official visitor’s guide for the Biggest Week in American Birding just went online today: check it out here. The guide contains wonderful articles about conservation issues, the full festival schedule, and even a “Boardwalk Code of Ethics” to help everyone play nice on those “bodacious birding boards” of the Magee Marsh boardwalk.
And one last special announcement: May 10, 2014 will mark the first annual celebration of “Bird Ohio Day,” as approved by the Ohio Senate only a few weeks ago. Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) worked closely with Senator Randy Gardner to designate one day each year for celebration of the benefits the state of Ohio reaps from their efforts to protect habitats and to showcase the birds that migrate through there in such numbers each spring. Not only do birds provide valuable ecosystem services for farmers (eating agricultural pests, for example), but they draw lots of birders to the state too. Surveys by Bowling Green State University and BSBO found that birders spend $30 million in NW Ohio every spring, can you believe that? Hmmm, that makes me think that every other state would be smart to try to attract birders too.