Toledo’s tallest buildings dimming the lights to help birds migrate through the area
By Michael Bratton | Posted: Fri 11:33 PM, May 03, 2019 | Updated: Fri 11:44 PM, May 03, 2019
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – It’s known as the biggest week in American birding and for good reason.
“We’ve got three big migratory fronts coming through, and they all come through here all at the same time of year,” Don Bauman from California said.
Every year birds of all kinds pass through Northwest Ohio as they head north for the summer. Not far behind the feathered creatures are those who enjoy watching them on their way.
“Out in California we’ll see maybe two warblers, here you’ll see 30, Bauman said. “It’s almost like a different world.”
This year an estimated 90,000 birders from six continents will flock to the area. Between lodging, food and shopping those people will pour $40 million into the local economy.
“The Biggest Week has become a real economic engine at a time that the tourism folks consider the off-season,” Kimberly Kaufman, executive director of the Black Swamp Observatory, said.
To ensure the people and money keep coming back the city of Toledo is taking proactive steps.
“We understand that this is something that contributes to our community and our economy,” Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said.
Over the next week buildings like One Government Center and ProMedica’s headquarters will go dark at night to help birds find their way.
“These birds migrate at night and they migrate using the star patterns,” Kaufman said. “So tall, lighted buildings disorient these birds. Some of them literally crash into these tall buildings and die.”
Because of the move Toledo is being honored as “bird-safe” and “birder-friendly.” Organizers of the “Biggest Week” say that makes the city an easy selling point for the future.
“Toledo is a bird-safe city, now it becomes more birder-friendly, and we will do everything we can to market the city as a birder-friendly city,” Kaufman said.
By bringing back birders again and again organizers hope it will solidify our area as the place to be for the biggest week in American birding.