Warblers in Ohio: Birding at Magee Marsh

Most birders know about Magee Marsh and the incredible warblers in Ohio. Learn more about this spring migration birding hotspot.

As our regular readers know, I spend a lot of time birding at Magee Marsh in northwest Ohio and working with the Biggest Week in American Birding.  I’ve been in Ohio the past two weeks for this year’s Biggest Week, and it was again a phenomenal event! My time there was capped off by the most incredible experience with warblers in Ohio this past Sunday afternoon! Migration has been a bit slow this year, so we knew that at some point the warblers would have to come through in higher numbers than we had been seeing during the festival. Saturday evening provided good migration conditions, and we were excited to see what Sunday would hold.

As the reports came in, I was a bit jealous that I couldn’t make it out to the area until late afternoon, but when I arrived, I knew I hadn’t missed the show. Due to the weather, all of the warblers and other species were staying incredibly low, allowing us to view them mostly without binoculars. There was even a Chestnut-sided warbler that came within four inches of my face! Check out 25 photos of warblers.

warblers in Ohio at magee marsh©Rob Ripma
Chestnut-sided warbler

Warblers in Ohio

After just walking 25 feet on the boardwalk at Magee Marsh, I already had 10 warbler species. After three hours of enjoying the spectacle, I had seen 22 warblers and 60 total species. I’ve been visiting the area for nearly 15 years, and this was by far the best day I have ever experienced there! It’s hard to put into words just how incredible the views of these colorful little warblers were. I had heard about days like this, where the trees were dripping with warblers, but I had never seen it with my own eyes. As I walked along the boardwalk, I was equally interested in both the birds and the looks on the birders faces as they were eye-to-eye with the warblers. It was nothing but smiles as everyone moved along the boardwalk! Here’s 10 spring warblers you should know.

Warblers at Magee MarshRob Ripma
Bay-breasted warblers were plentiful in Ohio

You can see my full checklist for the afternoon here.

Biggest Week in American Birding

As amazing as the birds were during Biggest Week, particularly the last day, the festival is about so much more than just the warblers. Check out the Biggest Week’s Facebook page here to read about some of the festivities and see photos from the largest birding festival in the country. Here’s how to find the perfect bird festival for you.

I hope you are seeing lots of good birds, including warblers, as migration continues this spring!

Rob Ripma
Rob is a lifelong Indiana resident and co-owner of Sabrewing Nature Tours. He has birded extensively throughout the Americas and also spent time birding in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Rob is currently on the executive boards of two organizations: Past President of the Board of the Amos Butler Audubon Society in Indianapolis (after leading the board as President for 6 years) and Secretary for Ohio’s Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO). He also serves as the field trip coordinator for BSBO’s Biggest Week in American Birding annual event. Rob sat on the executive board of the Indiana Audubon Society for three years as Treasurer and Vice President. He is a co-founder of the Indiana Young Birders Club and speaks at a variety of organizations and schools about birds and birding to share his knowledge and experiences in the field. His leadership and expertise led to Rob working as the primary bird blogger for Birds & Blooms Magazine from 2013-2017. Rob enjoys working with both new and experienced birders of all ages and believes that teaching people about birds will not only increase interest in birding but also help them better understand why we must work to protect them and their habitats. Additionally, he loves educating others about the positive impact nature tourism can have on local economies, especially in developing countries. This passion led to his involvement in the production of a PBS television program called, “Flight Path: The World of Migratory Birds”, where a crew accompanied him on a tour to Panama to highlight and bring to life the effect that birds and birding have on both the people that see them and those who work and live in areas visited by birders and nature lovers. Rob graduated from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in 2008 and lives in Carmel, Indiana with his wife and daughter.