Magee Marsh Wildlife Area
The Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, purchased by the Ohio Division of Wildlife in 1951, protects some of Ohio’s finest remaining wetlands—a boardwalk, meandering nearly a mile through the woods, provides hikers and birders access to this marsh complex.
Magee Marsh has been designated an Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy and Audubon Ohio—the wildlife area’s diverse habitat attracts waterfowl, shorebirds, and Neotropical migrant songbirds. Throughout the year, hikers and birders can experience the variety of species found along the boardwalk, forest, causeway and Wildlife Beach Trails—portions of which were formerly included in Cane Creek State Park.
One of the most famous birding sites in North America, Magee Marsh draws expert and novice birders from all over the world to the area’s boardwalk—the single best-known birding location in northwest Ohio.
The Magee Marsh Boardwalk, a raised and numbered platform, immerses the visitor in the forest that bridges the gap between Lake Erie and Magee Marsh—an area that hosts incredible concentrations of migrant birds throughout the spring and fall.
You can begin your hike along the boardwalk at the trailhead located at either the east or west entrance—both of which are accessed from the parking area. The West Entrance corresponds with the first number of the boardwalk—the numbers, a series of markers etched into the railing ranging from 1 to 34, serve simply to help track yours and others bird sighting locations.
We timed our visit to coincide with the “The Biggest Week in American Birding”—an eleven day event from May 7 – 16, 2010 sponsored by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Tropical Birding Tours, Kaufman Field Guides, and Ottawa NWR—providing us with excellent opportunities to view and photograph an amazing variety of birds, especially warblers.
After only a few minutes hiking the boardwalk, we were treated to superb views of several warblers—Palm Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler all posed for our lens. In addition, we saw White-throated Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Northern Waterthrush, Baltimore Oriole, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Gray catbird, and Veery. The number and variety of birds make Magee Marsh an incredible place to spend the day.