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"Making our communities healthy for birds...and people"
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Bird City Wisconsin names new director
Birders can help with Emerald Ash Borer
Ozaukee County Is FOR the Birds
Bird City recognizes Door County “Loon Capital”  
Reduce Bird Collision
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
Bird City Wisconsin names new director

Dr. Bryan Lenz, 36, returns home to lead community recognition and avian conservation program;  Carl Schwartz will chair Steering Committee

Bird City Wisconsin has announced the hiring of Dr. Bryan Lenz as director of its program to recognize communities who work with their residents to make their neighborhoods a better place for people, birds and other wildlife.

A Milwaukee-area native, the 36-year-old Lenz is returning home after spending a decade in New Orleans while completing his Ph.D. at Tulane University. For his dissertation research he spent 16 months living in the Amazon where he examined the impacts of tropical forest cattle ranching on the mammal community, especially primates, while also recording raptor sightings and data on the tree community.

A long-time bird watcher, Lenz continues to serve on the board of directors and conservation committee of the Orleans Audubon Society. Lenz taught a course on primate behavior, ecology, and conservation at Tulane University and has published several academic papers on primates and raptors.

Lenz succeeds Carl Schwartz, 65, who has coordinated BCW’s urban bird conservation and recognition program for the last five years. Schwartz in turn will succeed Andrew Struck as chair of the BCW Steering Committee. Struck will remain on the steering committee and continue to serve as the organization’s treasurer.

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Bird City 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

Ozaukee County Is FOR the Birds

What is this about Ozaukee County being a “Bird City” and why are so many individual Ozaukee municipalities following suit?

Along with the county, the city of Mequon, the Town of Grafton, the City of Port Washington and our neighboring Village of Newburg have all been recognized by Bird City Wisconsin in the last four years.

Maybe it is because they understand that the more species of birds that an area has, the higher the property values will be.  An area that has many bird species needs to have a diverse collection of trees, shrubs and other growing things.  Prospective home buyers as well as birds love that diversity of plants and a 2011 study in Lubbock,Tex., indicated that homes with more than one species of less-than-common birds in the area sold, on average, for about $32,000 more than comparable homes without them.

Perhaps Bird Cities understand that birds are the indicators of a healthy environment and they are willing to take extra steps to improve the ecological health of their community.  The birds are daily reminders that a community has a healthy eco-system, something that more and more people are seeking.

 The Bird City Wisconsin website sums it up well.  “Like the proverbial canaries in a coal mine, birds serve as indicators of the ecological health of our planet…. (And) without the environmental assistance we get from birds, we would have to spend far more money on pest control and keeping natural systems in balance. Insect-eating birds reduce the need for chemical pest control. Birds also are voracious eaters of weed plants and rodents. They provide us with “free ecological services” and are unheralded assistants to farmers, foresters and gardeners.”  (And yes, when you use pesticides, you accidentally harm the birds. Fewer birds mean more bugs and then you spray more poison.) 

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Birders can help with Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer is becoming a national problem.

A tree that has been attacked by EAB can die within 2-4 years. It is estimated that more than 50 million ash trees are dead or dying in the Midwest because of this insect. Wisconsin forests contain more than 770 million ash trees, nearly 7%t of the state's tree population. In urban areas, 20% of trees are ash.

Bird watchers can be on front lines in confronting  this problem. Mark Freberg, the Green Bay City Forester, suggests that birders should contact their local forestry program if they see heavy woodpecker activity on ash trees and suspect EAB.  "We appreciate all the help we can get in fighting this pest.  Please call or write yoir local forestry department if you have any questions or concerns," Freberg said 
 
Linda Williams, Forest Health Specialist with the Northeastern Wisconsin Bureau of Forest Management in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Division of Forestry, offered a list of background resource information:

Nationally: http://www.emeraldashborer.info/

Wisconsin: http://emeraldashborer.wi.gov

A research paper on the effects of EAB on the populations of 4 woodpeckers:

 http://www.fs.fed.us/nrs/pubs/jrnl/2013/nrs_2013_koenig_002.pdf    
 
Signs and Symptoms of Emerald Ash Borer showing typical flecking caused by woodpecker:
 http://www.emeraldashborer.info/files/e-2938.pdf 
 
Vermont has a page for woodpecker watchers with some nice photos of the damage:  
http://www.vtinvasives.org/group/woodpecker-watch

 Ash tree identification document:
 http://www.emeraldashborer.info/files/E2942.pdf        
 
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:
http://wireless.fcc.gov/migratory-birds/FCC_tower_light_change_information_May_2014.pdf

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:

http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/collisions/index.html

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

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