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WINGS Birding Tours – Itinerary

Northwest Ohio: Spring Migration

Sunday 12 May to Saturday 18 May 2024
with Ben Lucking as leader
May 2025

Price: $2,450 (05/2024)

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Chestnut-sided Warbler is one of about 35 species of warblers we may encounter on this tour.Photo: Steve HowellChestnut-sided Warbler is one of about 35 species of warblers we may encounter on this tour. Photo: Steve Howell
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler is one of about 35 species of warblers we may encounter on this tour.

    Chestnut-sided Warbler is one of about 35 species of warblers we may encounter on this tour. Photo: Steve Howell

  • Blackburnian Warbler

    Blackburnian Warbler Photo: Steve Howell

  • Prothonotary Warbler

    Prothonotary Warbler Photo: Steve Howell

  • Black-throated Blue Warbler

    Black-throated Blue Warbler Photo: Steve Howell

  • Bay-breasted Warbler

    Bay-breasted Warbler Photo: Steve Howell

  • Northern Parula

    Northern Parula Photo: Steve Howell

Branded as the “Warbler Capital of the World”, Northwest Ohio and the famous Magee Marsh boardwalk are one of the best areas to witness spring migration in North America! The convergence of several migration routes, the bird-blocking effect of Lake Erie, and a fine mix of habitats combine to produce a remarkable number and diversity of Neotropical migrants. Nearly all woodlots will be filled with song as breeding males closer to their northern breeding grounds. Raptors and shorebirds should also be passing through in numbers, while we will be able to catch up with a good number of lingering waterfowl as well. This is a migration spectacle well worth experiencing!

In addition to Magee Marsh, we’ll visit a number of other productive and less crowded birding sites including Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Metzger and Howard Marshes, Pearson Metropark, Oak Openings Preserve, and—in southeast Michigan—Pointe Mouillee. Most days we’re likely to encounter more than one hundred species and we hope to see 30 species of warbler before the tour concludes.

Day 1: The trip begins at 6:00 p.m. in our hotel near the Detroit Metro Airport with a brief meeting followed by dinner. Night near Detroit Metro Airport.

Day 2: We’ll depart early for Pointe Mouillee State Game Area just north of the Ohio border. This 4,000-acre coastal wetland complex borders Lake Erie at the mouth of the Huron River and is a magnet for waterfowl, waterbirds, and shorebirds. If we hit it right, we should see hundreds of Dunlin and perhaps Short-billed Dowitcher and Black-bellied Plover among others. Black Tern, American White Pelican, and Yellow-headed Blackbird are locally uncommon, and we’ll keep an eye out for them. We’ll make several more stops en-route to Ohio, targeting Bobolink among others. In the late afternoon, we’ll check into our hotel and, if time permits, bird a local park before dinner. Night in Oregon, Ohio.

Days 3-5: With Oregon as our home base, we’ll spend the next three days birding countless hotspots in northwest Ohio. We’ll remain flexible as weather, winds, and bird reports will largely control when and where to bird. Our main stop will be the Magee Marsh boardwalk where sighting more than twenty species of warblers in a single day is not out of the question. We’ll also hope to see various species of vireos, flycatchers, thrushes, and cuckoos. We will also bird nearby productive woodlots such as Metzger Marsh, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Pearson Metropark, and the Maumee Bay State Park boardwalk, keeping our eyes to the skies for migrating raptors—most notably Broad-winged Hawks. We’ll also bird several wetlands and flooded fields for waterfowl and shorebirds, especially Howard Marsh, which is a metropark that was only recently converted from farmlands to 1,000 acres of prime wetland habitat and has attracted nesting Black-necked Stilts, Wilson’s Phalaropes, and Yellow-headed Blackbirds—all three of which are rare breeders in Ohio! We’ll also search for American Pipit, Marsh Wren, and lingering ducks. An hour east, we’ll spend one morning birding a beautiful eastern hardwood forest where Cerulean and Yellow-throated Warblers breed. Rare near Magee, these local breeders are quite reliable at this local metropark and we will also keep an eye out for a few other resident breeders such as Acadian Flycatcher and Wood Thrush. One evening we’ll offer an optional night-birding excursion for rails,bitterns, and Eastern Whip-poor-will. Nights in Oregon.

Day 6: We’ll depart early for the forty-five-minute drive to Toledo’s largest Metropark, Oak Openings Preserve. This 5,000-acre park is predominately oak savanna which contains oak forest, grasslands, and vegetated sand dunes.  Wild lupine blankets the forest floors while prickly pear and sand cherries grow on the shifting dunes. Our main targets are birds we won’t find elsewhere: Barred Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Lark Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Henslow’s Sparrow, and Yellow-breasted Chat. Red-headed Woodpeckers are abundant, and we should be able to pick up a good selection of Neotropical migrants. After a full day of birding Oak Openings and its surroundings, we’ll make our way to Detroit. Night in Detroit.

Day 7: The tour concludes this morning in Detroit.

Updated: 20 September 2023


  • 2024 Tour Price : $2,450
  • Single Occupancy Supplement : $530
  • (2025 - Not Yet Determimed)


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Questions? Tour Manager: Sara Pike. Call 1-866-547-9868 (US or Canada) or (01) 520-320-9868 or click here to email.

* Tour invoices paid by check carry a 4% discount. Details here.

Maximum group size seven with one WINGS leader

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