Biggest Week In American Birding Recap

The dust is still settling (or perhaps I should say the mud is still drying!), but I wanted to thank everyone who joined us for the Biggest Week In American Birding. The official total for the event was 226 species, including highlights such as American White Pelicans, Upland Sandpipers, displaying Bobolinks and American Woodcocks, 37 of the 38 eastern wood warblers (the exception being the more southern-ranged Swainson's Warbler), one hybrid, the Brewster's Warbler, and of course, one very photogenic Kirtland's Warbler.

Some fun facts include: sales of more than 80 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamps, Federal Duck Stamps, and Jr. Duck Stamps (that's just from BSBO, not sure of numbers sold at Ottawa and Magee), 44 states represented in the event registration, and people visiting from Spain, Kenya, Guam, Japan, Ecuador, England, Canada, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, and Mexico; the Lake Erie Marsh Region was truly a melting pot during the event.
Some personal highlights for me were hearing many people say that the event had inspired them to come out and try birding for the very first time. One young mother, with two small children in tow, stopped back by BSBO to tell me that she had seen 14 species of warblers on her first time out. The festival also introduced hundreds (if not thousands) of birders to other great birding areas along the Lake Shore. BSBO handed out approximately 5000 free copies of birding area maps and directions to places like Mallard Club Marsh, East Harbor State Park, Toussaint Wildlife Area, and Oak Openings Preserve Metropark. It was great fun to have people stop back in to tell us how much they enjoyed exploring these other areas and sharing their sightings.

I cannot find the words to express our gratitude to the multitude of volunteers who made this event possible. Volunteers came from across Ohio, and from Texas, Florida, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, California, and Michigan. It was truly the ultimate example of teamwork and I thank you all for the incredible effort you all put into this event. From driving busses to handing out registration packets, directing traffic and making copies of maps, serving hot coffee and acting as room monitors, volunteers led the charge and made the event fun for everyone. Thank you all, so much!
(Coming Soon...a tribute to the Biggest Week Volunteers!)

To our partners at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and the Ohio Division of Wildlife, thank you for taking on the additional work load of helping to organize and host this major event. All this in addition to the extraordinary work that you do to manage the habitat that plays a critical role in the survival of millions of migratory birds. I'm humbled by the work that you do.

To Kenn Kaufman and Kaufman Field Guides, a debt of gratitude for presenting NINE keynote talks, helping lead field trips, keeping the "Birding Pages" updated with predictions on migration, and of course, for finding the Kirtland's Warbler that delighted thousands of people on Friday.

To the volunteer guides from Tropical Birding, aka "The Dudes in the Yellow Caps," who volunteered their expert services during the Biggest Week, thanks for changing the lives of hundreds of beginning birders over the course of the last 11 days. Your expertise was evident and your enthusiasm infectious. It was a pleasure working with all of you.

To the staff at BSBO...omg, you are just the most remarkable people I will ever meet! I'm so proud to be a part of your team!

And finally, to Rebecca Hinkle and Delores Cole: It was an honor to work alongside you both during this long year of planning. I've learned so much, laughed so hard, and loved every minute of it. You two represent the reason why this event was such a success.

We'll be posting a more comprehensive summary of the event, bird and birder photos, and dates for next year's Biggest Week soon at:


  1. As I said in a previous post, if your goal was to put your part of the world on birder's wish lists, you succeeded resoundingly.

    And, though I wasn't able to make it, I have no doubts that ANYONE worked harder than you and Kenn.

  2. Sounds like like you did the usual awesome job! Thank you and I will find a way to come next year with Adam.

  3. Thanks, Guys! Kenn I did work our arses off, but you can't even imagine the insane number of volunteer hours that went into this event, including YOURS Dave Lewis! We could have just called it the Biggest Week In Volunteering! I'm working on a post that pays tribute to all those stay tuned!

  4. I still working on labeling all of the photos I shot that week...1700+
    You guys were amazing!


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