Warblers at Magee Marsh

Most birders know about the incredible warblers that can be found at Magee Marsh.

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 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!

Warblers at Magee Marsh©Rob Ripma
Rob Ripma Chestnut-sided Warblers stayed very close to the boardwalk.

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!

Warblers at Magee MarshRob Ripma
Rob Ripma Bay-breasted Warblers were plentiful.

You can see my full checklist for the afternoon here.

As amazing as the birds were during Biggest Week, particularly the last day, the festival is about so much more than just the birds.  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.

I hope you are having good birds as migration continues this spring!

Rob Ripma
Rob Ripma, a lifelong Indiana resident, has traveled and birded extensively throughout the Americas.