Welcome To Bird City Wisconsin

"Making our communities healthy for birds...and people"
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Public help sought in counting Chimney Swifts
Flying WILD Workshops Planned at Horicon
Bird City recognizes Door County “Loon Capital”  
Reduce Bird Collision
Ten Things You Can Do to Help Birds This Summer
Bird City Summit Draws a Big Flock
Outdoors TV show focuses on a Bird City
Prevent birds from striking your windows
Outdoor Cats: Single Greatest Source
Public's help sought in counting Chimney Swifts; you can protect a declining species

What appears like "smoke" pouring into brick chimneys in coming weeks isn't an optical illusion, but rather what state wildlife officials say is likely hundreds of native chimney swifts roosting for the night and gathering strength and numbers before they migrate south. Citizens -- and especially those in 87 Bird City Wisconsin communities -- can count and report sightings in the upcoming weeks during the birds' nightly roosting phenomenon, as they prepare to migrate south to the Amazon.

Click here for all the details and to see an amazing video of Chimney Swifts heading into a chimney to roost.  http://dnr.wi.gov/news/Weekly/?id=444#art2

Bird City Wisconsin recognizes Door County and “Loon Capital” 

Conservation project honors 6 more communities as its ranks swell to 87;
 new group includes Mercer, New Berlin, Whitewater, Reedsburg, DeForest

Six more Wisconsin communities statewide have been saluted for their long-term commitment to working with residents to make their neighborhoods a better place for people, birds and other wildlife. The new group once again spans the state and brings the ranks of Bird City Wisconsin communities to 87.  It includes:

Andrew Struck, president of the Milwaukee Audubon Society and chair of the Bird City Wisconsin steering committee, said the communities announced on July 28 demonstrate the statewide scope of this partnership-based conservation project that now draws its major support from the Bird Protection Fund of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.

Bird City Wisconsin has recognized a total 12 new communities in 2014, its fourth year of partnership-based activity to spur avian conservation efforts in cities, villages, towns and counties statewide. New Berlin becomes the seventh Waukesha County community recognized as a Bird City, while DeForest is the seventh Dane County community so honored.

Click here to read the full news release

BCW communities each receive a special Bird City Wisconsin flag, plaque and two street signs to be erected at their boundaries, marking their conservation achievements. Bird City accepts applications for initial certification three times each year. The next deadline is Nov. 1.

Click here for more information

Flying WILD Workshops Planned at Horicon

The Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center will be hosting both educator and facilitator workshops for the Flying WILD curriculum.  Whether you are an avid birder or don’t notice the difference between a chickadee and an eagle, you can learn activities to teach students about birds and the conservation issues they face.

For communities seeking recognition as a Bird City (or for already-recognized communities strengthening their conservation efforts!) Flying WILD meets public education criteria 4A.

Birds are everywhere, and yet their population declines are indicators of the conservation problems we all face. The Flying WILD curriculum engages children in bird conservation and gets kids outdoors!  Take a look at the flyers linked below for more information on how this wonderful bird education curriculum could be beneficial to you and for registration details.  Feel free to pass along the flyers to anyone you think might be interested in attending this fun and informative training.  Thanks and please let me know if you have any questions!
Liz Herzmann
Wildlife Conservation Educator – Wildlife Managment
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
N7725 Hwy. 28, Horicon, WI 53032
Phone: (920) 387-7893
Workshop Flyer
Registration Form
New Opportunity to Reduce Bird Collisions with Communications Towers by 70%

Every year at least 7 million migratory songbirds collide with communications towers in North America. Learn about new Federal Aviation Administration lighting recommendations that make possible a 70% reduction in bird collisions while reducing tower lighting and maintenance costs. These “win-win” tower light changes are simple, fast, and can be applied to both existing and new towers.

Click here to see a webinar presented by Dr. Joelle Gehring of the Federal Communications Commission: https://nctc.adobeconnect.com/_a1089783514/p844pllecfj/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal

Click here to read a one-page FCC report on this development:

Hundreds of millions of birds die each year in collisions with manmade structures, including glass windows and buildings, communication towers, and wind turbines. The American Bird Conservancy continues to be a leading force in ongoing efforts to protect birds from collisions, working with industry representatives, the federal government, and other conservation groups to find solutions to this growing problem. To read more on the overall issue, click here:


Ten Things You Can Do to Help Birds This Summer

American Bird Conservancy

With the arrival of summer, billions of birds in North America are carrying out a host of activities related to raising their young and preparing for migration-and there are many simple things the nation's 45 million birdwatchers can do to help our birds in those life-sustaining tasks.

According to American Bird Conservancy (ABC) President George Fenwick, "The next three months are critical. Some studies suggest that perhaps as many as half of all migrating birds do not make it back home, succumbing to various threats along the way. Our birds need all the help they can get."

Fenwick added: "Simple instinct is not always enough to keep the birds alive given the enormous tracts of habitat that have become suburban sprawl; the draining of waterways; the loss of biomass to pesticides; air and water contamination; and other threats such as window glass, cats, and wind turbines."

Here are American Bird Conservancy's recommended top ten things concerned individuals can do to help birds breed successfully and prepare for fall migration.

1. Leave baby birds alone. If you find a baby bird out of its nest, don't pick it up or bring it indoors. Although people mean well by "rescuing" the baby birds they find, in almost all cases, the parents are nearby and know best how to care for their young. An exception is injured birds, which can be taken to a local wildlife rehabilitator for treatment.

2. Ensure dogs and cats stay away from young birds. Free-roaming cats kill billions of birds every year, taking an especially high toll on fledglings. Loose dogs also have an impact on nesting birds; for example, roaming dogs are suspected of recently wiping out a colony of threatened Least Terns in Florida. Keep your pets contained, and be especially cautious near beach-nesting birds.

"Where Ecology Meets Economy Forum"

SEWISC (Southeast Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium) and Johnson’s Nursery are going to have another "Where Ecology Meets Economy Forum" on Sept. 17. Above is a "Save the Date "flyer. Last year about 150 people attended with a very interesting cross section of the Green Industry and Land Managers. The discussions and interactions were fascinating. And birds can be the beneficiaries.

3. Keep things fresh. Your birdbath or other water feature should be cleaned regularly and kept filled with fresh water. Hummingbird feeders also need special attention, as hummingbirds will be switching back from an insect-rich diet to nectar in preparation for flights south in the fall. Be sure to thoroughly clean hummingbird feeders and replace the sugar water before it ferments-usually within three to seven days depending on the heat and sun.

4. Maintain your land in a bird-friendly fashion. Consider letting some of your yard or other property go "wild," or garden with native plants. Even small wild areas act as sources of food and shelter for birds through the summer. Avoid or minimize tree trimming to prevent disturbance to nesting birds. Where possible, avoid mowing grass in large fields and roadsides until after July to enable ground-nesting grassland birds to safely fledge.

5. Be a good landlord. If you're lucky enough to have swallows or phoebes nesting on your porch or carport, keep the nest intact. The birds will be gone soon enough, and in the meantime, they will help you out by eating hundreds of insects each day. If you have active nest boxes, clean them out after the young have fledged. Old nesting material attracts parasites and can be a source of disease.

6. Don't spray: Stay away from pesticides. Reconsider using pesticides, since even products labeled as "safe" will likely have negative consequences on birds. For example, many home and garden products include neonicotinoids, or "neonics," which have been found to be deadly to both bees and birds in even minute amounts.

7. Celebrate good times ... without balloons. When weddings, graduations, and other parties are on your list of to-do's, put balloons on your list of don'ts. Birds can become entangled in the long ribbons; individuals have been found hanging from trees or asphyxiated. Birds may also ingest the deflated balloon itself, which can eventually block the digestive tract and cause the animal to starve.

8. Turn the outdoor lights out. Review your outdoor lighting for unnecessary disturbance to night-flying birds (as well as wasted energy). Bright artificial lights can disorient migrating birds and make collisions with windows, buildings, and other structures more likely. Consider putting steady burning lights on motion sensors. Or, if your outdoor lighting needs permit, consider blue and green LED lights as they are less distracting to night-migrating birds.

9. Be a bird-friendly boater. If you're boating, avoid disrupting birds. Boats operated in proximity to nesting birds can cause behavioral changes, even leading to nest abandonment and failure in some cases. If you notice congregations of birds, steer clear to enable them to spend their energy on gathering food and raising their young.

10. Gone fishing? Remember the birds. Discard fishing line properly in trash receptacles, since entanglement in line is a common and preventable source of bird mortality. If you accidentally hook a bird, don't cut the fishing line. Instead, net the bird, cut the barb off the hook, and push it backward to remove. Just as important, be sure to use only nonlead fishing gear. Scores of birds suffer mortal poisoning from ingesting lead weights in fishing gear.

Bird City Summit Draws a Big Flock

Bird City Summit Draws a Big Flock

159 Attend WBCI Annual Meeting to Share and Learn Best Conservation Practices

Recent news that Wisconsin ranks second nationally in the share of citizens considered birders could not have been timelier.  In the planning since fall, the theme of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative’s annual meeting at the Oshkosh Convention Center March 21-22 was Bird City Wisconsin Summit: Making Communities Healthier for Birds...and People.

With 81 communities of all sizes, from cities to villages to towns to counties, certified as Bird Cities in Wisconsin, the WBCI/BCW Summit showcased this innovative program. Some 159 people attended, including representatives from 44 of the Bird Cities and 30 WBCI partners. In a leadup to the conference, 10 people took the Flying Wild workshop, a program that introduces students to bird conservation.

Featured talks included:

·         Project Passenger Pigeon: Dr. Stanley Temple with lessons from our past on why it’s vital to promote conservation of habitat and strengthen the relationship between people and nature

·         Why Birds Matter - IMBD Lets Us Celebrate the Future: Sue Bonfield, executive director of Environment for the Americas

·         The Power of Partnerships: Personal stories from 8 Bird Cities

·         Bird Cities -- New Tools for Conservation Education:  Bill Volkert, naturalist and wildlife educator

·         Habitat Improvements on a Backyard Scale: Vicki Piaskowski, author of “Recommendations for Landowners: How to Manage Your Land to Help Birds” 

Twenty other presentations covered the complete range of conservation best practices, everything from green tourism and birding festivals to window collisions, cats indoors, making a difference for Purple Martins, and getting kids hooked on nature.

As one participant said, “It was an amazingly energizing meeting. I typed up six pages of notes – all great ideas. What a wonderful group of people, all doing great things.” Many said they left with their heads bursting with ideas. Once post-conference survey results are in, a summary will be posted of what inspired attendees the most to take home and implement in their community, neighborhood or backyard.

The conference -- which included speakers from the Department of Natural Resources’ Urban Forestry, Wildlife Management and Natural Heritage Conservation divisions, the Department of Tourism, National Audubon and Environment for the Americas -- followed by one week the release of a new U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service report showing that fully one-third of state residents 16 and older report that they travel to watch birds, or actively watch and identify birds around home.

Outdoors TV show focuses on a Bird City
Bird City Wisconsin was the focus of a Sept. 7 segment on “Northland Adventures,” a widely syndicated TV show that tells “unique stories about the people, places and issues of our great outdoors.”  The 7-minute segment explains the goals of the program by focusing on how Stevens Point became a Bird City.

WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

And to read more of the powerful story behind Bird City Wisconsin, go to the June issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.

Prevent birds from striking your windows

As many as one billion birds die each year by flying into window glass because they simply cannot see it. An amazing new product called BirdTape helps the birds to see the window while still allowing you to look out from the inside. The price for this tape ranges from $10.95 to $14.95 per roll; a small price to pay to save the lives of the birds in your neighborhood. You can find this life-saving tape through the American Bird Conservancy at abcbirdtape.org. They provide you with instructions and application patterns so you can get the best results from the tape. For an overview on Birds and Collisions, go to Preventing Window Strikes and Birds and Collisions.

Outdoor Cats: Single Greatest Source of Human-Caused Mortality for Birds and Mammals, New Study Says

Cat with American Coot by Debbie Shearwater

Cat with American Coot - Photo by Debi Shearwater

A new peer-reviewed study authored by scientists from two of the world’s leading science and wildlife organizations – the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – has found that bird and mammal mortality caused by outdoor cats is much higher than has been widely reported, with annual bird mortality now estimated to be 1.4 to 3.7 billion and mammal mortality likely 6.9 – 20.7 billion individuals.

The study, which offers the most comprehensive analysis of information on the issue of outdoor cat predation, was published in the online research journal Nature Communications and is based on a review of more than 90 previous studies. The study was authored by Dr. Peter Marra and Scott Loss, research scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and by Tom Will from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Migratory Birds.

American Bird Conservancy logo and link to resourceABC provides the following resources that may be helpful to you in understanding more about the problems caused by outdoor cats, dealing with those problems, and conducting a Cats Indoors Campaign in your neighborhood.  (Click logo right to access resource)

For more discussion of this study and related information, click here

 Bird City Wisconsin - 1111 E. Brown Deer Road - Bayside, WI 53217 - Phone (414) 416-3272 - Email Us