A Young Birder at the Biggest Week Festival

Townsends Warbler - Photo Mick Thompson

Editor’s note: For those who may not know, the Biggest Week in American Birding is a birding festival that takes place every May in Northwest Ohio. Run by our friends at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, the festival draws tens of thousands of visitors annually from across the country and around the world to witness the spectacle of bird migration. Special treats always include most of the eastern warblers, as well as vireos and other sough-after migrants.

I debated not going on a walk that evening, but I am very glad I did. My friends and I took an evening stroll at the Maumee Bay boardwalk. We were casually just walking, tired from our long day of birding. We were just chatting and observing migrants. I debated going back to the lodge because our friend Ben had stayed behind and I felt bad for just leaving him. Max convinced me to keep going, and I did. We hit an active area and Travis goes “that’s a weird looking warbler”.

Max, Oliver, and I instantly get on the bird. We all had a bit of an “omg” moment. Oliver shouted “That’s a Townsend’s Warbler!”. We were frantic. We began to get the word out after Max and I snapped photos. The issue was that half our phones were dead. We took turns reporting and contacting people and staying on the bird. People began rolling in. It was madness. People were smiling and congratulating us. The energy off the crowd was something I had never experienced before. We stuck around for a while helping people get on the bird and telling our story. I hope to never forget the moment with some of my closest friends.

That is one of the many stories I have from this years Biggest Week In American Birding. I had the wonderful opportunity to be up at the lake for a total of 7 days. I was reunited with some of my closest friends from other states and made many new ones. This year was by far the best Biggest Week I have ever had and I am so grateful for every moment of it.

Adriana Losey is a member of the Central Ohio chapter of the Ohio Young Birders Club.