By Kevin Williams
A flooded field on the west side of Toledo, Ohio isn't a place you'd typically find a lot of Amish people. But it's also not typically a place you'd spot a Curlew Sandpiper. The bird is rarely spotted in North America, being more common in Asia and Europe. You can read more here
Birding is a passionate hobby for many Amish (especially, it seems, in Holmes County, Ohio). Many Amish were already about an hour away at Magee Marsh in Ohio to enjoy festivities associated with the annual Biggest Week in American Birding. The birding grapevine is incredibly effective and fast, so once word got out about the Curlew, plenty of birders (Amish and non-Amish) flocked to Raab Road on the west side of Toledo to spot the bird. Rachel and I stopped there also since we were on the way to Magee Marsh anyway. A bunch of Amish people arrived at the same time. I had a chance to chat with one of the men there. He said they were from Holmes County, but were in town for the bird festival anyway. It's a bit jarring to see the Amish in their old-fashioned dress toting some of the more sophisticated spotting scopes money can buy, but birding really does fit into the Amish lifestyle as a great, generally low-tech, back-to-the-earth type hobby.