News

Birds of Southern Wisconsin - UWM Field Station Summer Course
June 10 - June 14 (Tuesday - Saturday)Instructors: William Mueller is the Director of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, and Project Coordinator for the Milwaukee BIOME Project. Dr. Owen Boyle is the state coordinator for the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network and an ecologist with WDNR. Tim Vargo is the Manager of Research and Citizen Science at Milwaukee’s Urban Ecology Center, and is a federally licensed bird bander.
Schedule: This course is a five-day-long field trip that visits important breeding bird areas of southern Wisconsin. The course begins at 9:00 am, Tuesday, 6/10, and finishes by mid afternoon Saturday, 6/14. Some days require a very early start (~4:20 am) to be in the field for the peak of bird song. A few evening sessions will allow us to study nocturnal bird species. We will also conduct several early morning bird banding demonstrations. Travel by van to each subsequent day’s location will take place in the late afternoon and early evening.

The Course: This course is a broad, field-based survey of the breeding birds of Wisconsin and the habitats in which they are found. We will study breeding birds and their habitats in wetlands, grasslands, and forests in state natural areas, state and federal wildlife areas, and major plant communities throughout southern Wisconsin. Our objective is to find the majority of Wisconsin’s southern breeding bird species and learn about their ecology, distribution, behavior, and conservation. We will also demonstrate field research and monitoring techniques. Participants will learn the basics of plant community associations which is key to understanding where bird species are found during the breeding season and how to assess their habitat needs for effective conservation and management. The course fee covers all transportation costs and lodging.

$575. Available for 5.0 CEU or 1 college credit.  There is an additional tuition fee for college credit.
To register, go to: http://www4.uwm.edu/fieldstation/workshops/workshops_sumfall09.cfm
Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz 2014 Underway

Although scientists have made huge strides in understanding Rusty Blackbirds on their breeding and wintering grounds - partly thanks to the original Rusty Blackbird Winter Blitz - we know surprisingly little about the migratory requirements and habits of this species. Are there hot spots where many individuals congregate during migration? Are similar migratory stopover areas used by Rusties each year? Are stopover areas protected, or might availability of these areas be limiting Rusty Blackbird survival?

To address these questions, the International Rusty Blackbird Working Group, in partnership with eBird, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, is coordinating a Spring Migration Blitz for 2014. This Blitz will challenge birders to seek out the elusive Rusty Blackbird throughout its migratory range, from the southern United States, through the Midwest and along the East Coast, and up into Canada.

The Spring Migration Blitz kicks off in March of 2014; each state, province, or territory is assigned target dates for conducting the Blitz based on estimated peak migration periods. Looking to get involved? Volunteers like you are critical to the success of this initiative! In 2010 alone, eBirders reported more than 11,700 Rusty Blackbirds during the Rusty Blackbird Winter Blitz. We encourage all experienced birders to participate; contact your state coordinator for more information!

Find out more at: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/scbi/migratorybirds/blog/default.cfm?id=333

and at: http://rustyblackbird.org/

Eastern Whooping Cranes at Risk; Reward Offered

Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that two adult Whooping Cranes had been shot in November in Hopkins County, Ky. (The USFWS delayed its formal announcement until the cause of death was ascertained.) This was a mated pair: a six-year-old male and a four-year-old female. They had nested unsuccessfully in central Wisconsin for the last three years, and for the last two winters, they remained in Hopkins County.

This incident occurred only a couple weeks before Kentucky's controversial Sandhill Crane hunting season opened.

The cranes were shot by a rifle, and the shooter "wasn't a hunter," said Joe Duff, founder of Operation Migration, dedicated to the establishment of an eastern Whooping Crane population. It was a "wanton waste," he continued. Bullet fragments from a .22-caliber rifle were found in the female. An out-of-season crane hunter still would have been armed with a shotgun, wildlife officials added.

Fortunately the pair that was shot was not a pair accompanied with a juvenile that migrated to Kentucky in November. That pair is spending the winter elsewhere in western Kentucky.
These latest deaths among the experimentally raised Whooping Cranes bring to 15 or 16 the total known to have been shot in the East since 2009. To see information on all losses sustained by Whooping Crane over the years:

 There is a USFWS Reward Fund for the November shootings. Operation Migration is accepting donations for the fund, an amount which is now over $15,000. Details on contributing to this fund are posted on the Kentucky Coalition for Sandhill Cranes site: www.kyc4sandhillcranes.com

John Jacobs Wins Award for Work on Hawks  

The Green Bay Mayor's Beautification Committee has honored John Jacobs, longtime curator of science at the Neville Public Museum, primarily for his work with Red-shouldered Hawks.

John was born in 1947 in Appleton and has spent most of his life in Green Bay. He attended St. Norbert College where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay where he earned a master’s degree in Environment Arts and Sciences.

While earning his master’s degree he worked at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary where he met his wife of more than 35 years, Mary.  They have two adult sons. 

In 1982, John started working for the Neville Public Museum of Brown County.  After working there as the Curator of Science for almost 32 years, he retired this past April to relax and and focus more on his research on the Red-shouldered hawk.

In 1971 he started a life long study on the nesting ecology of this state threatened species. He realized that although there were some scientific articles and general publications on this woodland hawk there were many gaps in our knowledge of its basic biology and population dynamics, especially here in Wisconsin.

Red-shouldered hawks nest in large, mature, contiguous, wet, hardwood forests. They are rare, threatened, or a species of special concern in 13 northern states as well as here in Wisconsin. The population seems to have stabilized at a relatively low level.

John has been active in local conservation causes; he was an officer and board member with the Northeastern Wisconsin Audubon Society for over 30 years, serving as president for eight of those years, coordinating the local Audubon Christmas Bird Count for over 30 years. For over 25 years he served on the “Weather Friend” phenology calendar committee, and the Wisconsin Land Fund endowment committee.

"Celebrate Urban Birds" Seeking Feathers Entries" 

Rumpled or resplendent, how a bird's feathers are displayed can be an indication of how its day is going. The Celebrate Urban Birds citizen-science project is looking for entries to its "Fascinating Feathers" challenge-entries may be photos, artwork, videos, poems, or stories and must be submitted to www.CelebrateUrbanBirds.org by January 15, 2014.

Birds with tufts or crests can raise or lower them at will, indicating everything from interest to irritation. Their feathers may be ruffled by the wind or because they see another bird trespassing on their territory. They may spread their wings or tails. And birds spend a lot of time preening to keep their feathers clean and can twist themselves into some strange positions.

"Consider the ordinary city pigeon," says project leader Karen Purcell. "This gray and white bird may be quite boring to some, but a closer look reveals stunning iridescent purple and green feathers on its neck and upper chest. That's the goal of this challenge: to get people of all ages outside looking at birds more carefully and finding beauty in even the most common birds."

To learn more about the Fascinating Feathers challenge and contest rules, visit www.CelebrateUrbanBirds.org

Winners will be posted on the Celebrate Urban Birds website. Prizes include Pennington bird feeders, Opticron binoculars, bird sound CDs, and much more.

Celebrate Urban Birds is a free citizen-science project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Participants collect information about birds in cities and get communities involved in nature through science, gardening, and the arts.
Migration Monitoring Coordinator Hired 

The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory (WGLBBO) has hired Dr. Amber Roth of Michigan Technological University as coordinator of the Midwest Landbird Migration Monitoring Network, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Roth, a research assistant professor in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, will hold a one-year position with WGLBBO, funded via a grant awarded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, to continue development of the Midwest Landbird Migration Monitoring Network, bringing to fruition a vision under development for the last three years. Roth’s primary charge will be development of a strategic action plan for the network covering the eight-state Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

The 16-member Midwest Migration Monitoring Network, a working group within the Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership, was established to increase bird survival throughout the annual cycle by contributing to the understanding of migratory connectivity through a well-coordinated network of observers.

Roth can be reached at amroth@mtu.edu 

Visit the Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership at:
http://midwestbirdmonitoring.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network
It's Now the Wisconsin Purple Martin Association 

A message from Tom Rank, president of the Eastern Wisconsin Purple Martin Association.

"In an effort to expand its influence across the entire state of Wisconsin, our name has now been changed to the Wisconsin Purple Martin Association. Up until now, we were the Eastern Wisconsin Purple Martin Association.

"We still need to make more changes before our name transition will be complete. We are currently in the process of having our logo re-designed, and our website updated, which may not occur until the end of this year. Stay tuned for updates as they become available."

More participants needed to track birds at their feeders 

A fresh new season for the Project FeederWatch citizen-science project kicks off on Nov. 9. Anyone with an interest in birds and nature is invited to be part of the action. FeederWatch also has a fresh new look for its 27th season, plus new web tools that make participation and exploration even easier and more fun.

Join the tens of thousands of people who keep tabs on the birds that come to their feeders from November through April. Participants submit their observations to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. These long-term data from across North America could not be gathered any other way. Observations help reveal important patterns in bird distribution and numbers that may be changing over time at a continental scale or in a participant's own backyard.

It's also a great way for a community to meet one of the education criteria for Bird City Wisconsin recognition.

To learn more about joining Project FeederWatch and to sign up -- -- both new and returning participants --  visit www.feederwatch.org or call the Cornell Lab toll-free at (866) 989-2473.

"We have a new interactive tool called 'Common Feeder Birds' that allows people to learn about the food and feeder preferences of nearly 100 species, based on data collected by participants," says FeederWatch project leader Emma Greig. "The tool can be used to predict what birds can be attracted to an area so you can offer foods strategically to attract desired species."

Observations from a record number of participants last season helped scientists follow the changes in woodpecker and nuthatch populations in the Midwest where trees were infested with invasive emerald ash borer beetles.

"We need continued FeederWatch data on woodpecker and nuthatch populations throughout North America to better understand the long term consequences of this beetle invasion," Greig says. "We also need renewed FeederWatcher effort to monitor the health of House Finches, which are susceptible to a disease that causes swelling around the eyes. Our participants will be asked to report whether they looked for the disease and whether they saw sick birds."

In return for the $15 fee ($12 for Cornell Lab members), participants receive the FeederWatcher Handbook and Instructions with tips on how to successfully attract birds to your feeders, an identification poster of the most common feeder birds, and a calendar. Participants also receive Winter Bird Highlights, an annual summary of FeederWatch findings, as well as the Cornell Lab's quarterly newsletter, Living Bird News
.
Madison Bird City Celebration Is Sunday 

In August 2013, Madison, WI was recognized as an official ‘Bird City' by the Bird City Wisconsin Project.

This designation indicates the city of Madison's dedication to working with residents to make our city an ideal habitat for people and birds alike, as well as other wildlife. In honor of Madison's recent recognition, Madison Parks is working in collaboration with the Madison Audubon Society, the Friends of Cherokee Marsh, Friends of Lakeview Hill to host the city of Madison and the village of Maple Bluff's first Bird City Celebration! This event will be held on Sunday, September 29, at the Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 1625 Northport Dr. and neighboring parks with family-friendly activities beginning at 11 AM and concluding at 7 PM.

Bird City Celebration Schedule - September 29

http://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/about/birdcity.cfm
11a.m. - Kids Bird Song and Puppet Parade, WPCRC
11:30a.m. - Official Bird City Flag Ceremony, WPCRC
Noon - Talk: Migratory birds in your back yard, WPCRC
12:30p.m. - Hoo's Woods Raptors and more kids activities, Lakeview Library, 2845 N. Sherman Ave.
1p.m. - Talk: Kids and Catbirds in Warner Park
2p.m. - Guided Walk: Wild Side of Warner Park, meet at Warner Park Shelter
2p.m. - Talk: Four Lakes Bird and Baby Rescue, WPCRC
3p.m. - Talk: Looking Back and Visions Ahead, WPCRC
3-5p.m. - Hayrides :$2/person at Cherokee Marsh, 6098 N. Sherman Ave.
3p.m. - Village of Maple Bluff Celebration, Maple Bluff Marina, 1321 Farwell Dr., Youth Sailing Boat House
4p.m. - Walk: Trails and Tales, Lakeview Hill Park, 1200 Northport Dr.
5-7p.m. - Walk: Birds of Cherokee Marsh, led by Madison Parks staff, Cherokee Marsh, 6098 N. Sherman Ave.

The city of Madison is one of Wisconsin's leaders in exhibiting environmentally sustainable practices and this Bird City recognition is aligned perfectly with Madison's goals. "Madison Parks is proud to receive the designation of Bird City Wisconsin," says Kevin Briski, Madison Parks Superintendent. "One of the missions of Madison Parks is to conserve the natural resources of our parkland, and we see this designation as helping to fulfill that mission."

Modeled after the Arbor Day Foundation's "Tree City USA" program, the Bird City Wisconsin Project aims to encourage Wisconsin communities to implement practices that promote the conservation of birds and to educate their citizens on living ‘bird-conscious' lives. In order to be recognized as an official Bird City, a community must meet certain conservation criteria spread across five categories: Creation and Protection of Habitat, Promoting Effective Community Forestry Management, Limiting or Removing Hazards to Birds, Public Education, and Celebration of International Migratory Bird Day. Madison has met many of these criteria by implementing practices such as acquiring natural area for the conservation park system, successfully limiting the amount of bird deaths due to window strikes, and educating the public on the healthy implications of having a bird-friendly community.
Forest birds boost coffee yields 

Need another reason to drink what is known as shade-grown or bird-friendly coffee?

Intensive agriculture often leaves forests in tatters. But preserving patches of those natural habitats could end up saving farmers money. According to a new study, forest birds improve coffee yields by eating destructive pests.

Coffee is one of the world’s most valuable crops, worth about $90 billion per year. It is threatened by the coffee berry borer, an insect that can destroy more than three-quarters of a harvest and quickly becomes resistant to pesticides. Borer-eating birds, however, offer a potential natural control strategy.

The study authors set up experiments at two coffee plantations in Costa Rica. First, they built barriers of bamboo and mesh net around some coffee shrubs, which allowed insects but not birds to pass through. Other shrubs were left exposed to both insects and birds. Over two seasons, the team counted the number of the coffee berries infested by borers.

Coffee shrubs that were blocked from birds had roughly twice the percentage of infested berries as those open to birds, the researchers report in Ecology Letters. Borers also tunnelled deeper into the berries when birds were absent. The authors estimate that birds save the plantations about $75 to $310 per hectare each year.

Surveys of six coffee plantations suggested that areas with sparser forests had more borers. “[O]ur results show that adjusting agricultural practices to conserve countryside forest elements, and associated biodiversity, may limit losses from the most damaging pest of one of the world’s most economically important crops,” the authors conclude.

Source: Karp, D.S. et al. 2013. Forest bolsters bird abundance, pest control and coffee yield. Ecology Letters doi: 10.1111/ele.12173.
Ecology Workshop Help Meets Bird City Criteria 

The Southeast Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium in cooperation with Johnson's Nursery is holding a workshop on Sept. 26 called "Where Ecology Meets Economy - A Forum for Green Industry and Land Management Professionals." Don’t miss this new opportunity to network with land managers, nurserymen, arborists, landscape architects and many other professionals. This innovative event will feature presentations, panel discussions, plus guided tours discussing ways the green industry and land managers can benefit each other.  Please see the linked brochure if you are interested in attending. It would be a good way to meet a Bird City criteria under Categories 1 or 4 for dealing with invasive species, or under Category 2B (other) for those communities that are not a Tree City.

Swift Night Out in Eau Claire

The Regis Environmental Club would like to host the fledgling (ha!) Chippewa Valley Birders group for a (hopefully first annual) Swift Night Out at Regis High School on Sunday, August 11 at 7:30 p.m.

As the days of summer inevitably tick away, Chimney Swifts gather in large communal roosts in preparation for migration.  Each evening around sunset, a living tornado of birds descends into a chimney or other suitable roosting site.  Regis is fortunate to have one such easily viewable location.  We will gather half an hour before sunset and count birds as they dive into our chimney.  The data will then be reported to the Wisconsin Chimney Swift Working Group and the national Swift Night Out databases.  Chimney Swift numbers are on the decline and therefore citizen reported data are more important than ever in monitoring this population.

This is one of the final criteria for certifying Eau Claire as a Bird City, so we will also be celebrating International Migratory Bird Day (our Chimney Swifts migrate as far as the Upper Amazon Basin!) as we contribute to citizen science.  Anyone is welcome to participate - RSVPs appreciated! (ageraghty83@gmail.com)  Join us in the rear parking lot adjacent to the football field.  If you can, bring any of the following: chair, binoculars or scope, and a snack to share.

Funding for Bird-Friendly Community Plantings

Could your community use additional funding for bird-friendly community plantings? This year the American Transmission Co. has launched a program to support tree and vegetation planting in communities in its service area. The program helps support efforts to beautify communities in a manner that is consistent with ATC's safety and maintenance standards. Eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes may apply for financial support for planting projects on public property within their community. ATC is accepting program applications through Sept. 30 and will select award recipients by the end of the year. Awards will range from $100 to $5,000. Visit http://www.atcllc.com/learning-center/trees-and-vegetation/grow-smart-and-safely-in-your-community/ for more information.

International Migratory Bird Day Team Gets Ready for 2014

Environment for the Americas, home of IMBD, has received a second America’s Great Outdoors grant from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This grant supports efforts to train young Latinos in bird research and education and to enhance their career opportunities in natural resources. The 2014 funding will support a training session for 8-10 interns, who will then become part of surveys of migratory shorebirds in Alaska, Oregon, California, and Colorado. The project is sponsored by U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation. For more information about the interns, please visit their blog at: http://environmentfortheamericas.wordpress.com/ If you know any Latino youth ages 18-25 who would be interested in a 6-month internship, please contact Natasha Kerr at NKerr@birdday.org

IMBD 2013 continues into fall 2013, and we anticipate the completion of over 570 events throughout the Western Hemisphere -- many of them in Wisconsin thanks to the Bird City program. Highlights from the spring events include: new partnerships with Birds & Beans, Get to Know, Ornilux Bird Friendly Glass, Nature Canada, and BirdNotes; over 20 organizations received “mini-grants” to host IMBD programs and events; the event was widely promoted via social media; and of course, youth and adults had the opportunity to learn about birds and ways to conserve them as participation in such events grows.

EFTA has begun to develop the 2014 theme, which will focus on the ecosystem services provided by birds. Stay tuned for information on the 2014 artist and the theme.
3rd Annual Eastern Wisconsin MartinFest Is July 13

The Eastern Wisconsin Purple Martin Association will be hosting MartinFest 2013 on Saturday, July 13,  starting at 3 p.m. at N6018 Highway 32 in
Sheboygan Falls.

This is open to anyone and is a great opportunity to meet other Purple Martin enthusiasts, talk to other landlords, and observe Purple Martins at an active colony.

Please bring a side dish to pass; organizers will provide a party sub, beverages and dessert. Extra chairs are provided but usually fill up fast, so if you can please bring a lawn chair. Those attending will be eligible to win door prizes.

RSVP on or before June 30 to Greg or Deb Zimmermann at 
grgz52@yahoo.com   This address is being protected from spambots and you will need JavaScript enabled to view it. Questions? Call 920-467-6253.

Record number of bald eagle nests found

State biologists take to the skies again this month to count how many young bald eagles hatched this spring, buoyed by April aerial survey results suggesting a record number of occupied nests in a record number of counties.

“We’re really close to having eagles nesting in all Wisconsin counties,” says Jim Woodford, the Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist coordinating the survey this year. “We’re well beyond what we would have thought possible in the state.”

Earlier this spring, an eagle nest was documented for the first time in Racine County, a homeowner has reported one near the Racine-Kenosha county line, and reports are coming in of adult eagles in Walworth County.

A starled eaglet
A startled eaglet was captured on film by a helmet cam worn by a DNR biologist who climbed the tree to retrieve the bird to collect a blood sample. 
WDNR Photo
Last year, new breeding territories were documented throughout the state and, in particular, in northwest and north central Wisconsin and along the Mississippi River in southern Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Bald Eagle and Osprey Surveys 2012 [PDF].

Preliminary results from the April aerial surveys suggest that the number of breeding pairs will climb past the record set in 2012 of 1,337 breeding pairs, Woodford says. That 2012 total was up 50 pairs from 2011, and is a far cry from the 108 breeding pairs documented in 1973, when the first survey was done, Woodford says.

“What we’re seeing is that eagles are much more tolerant than they were,” he says. “Their ability to acclimate to humans and our activities has increased.”

That increased tolerance and milder winter temperatures means more eagles are living in Wisconsin year-round. “If there is open water year-round, the eagles will stay here,” he says. The cold spring doesn’t appear to have affected nesting.

The bald eagle has enjoyed a remarkable recovery in Wisconsin and nationwide since being placed on the state and federal endangered species lists in the 1970s. Wisconsin played an important role in that recovery and were removed from the state's endangered list in 1997 and from the federal list in 2007, although the bird and their nests remain protected under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. That law prohibits the killing, possession, sale or import of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit.

Wisconsin’s aerial surveys, which started in March and run through June, are part of the nation’s longest running statewide bald eagle survey. This year is the 41st the survey has been conducted, and they’ve been a foundation of Wisconsin’s successful program to restore bald eagles to the sky, Woodford says.

Wisconsin's eagle recovery efforts took flight in the 1960s when volunteer Chuck Sindelar of Waukesha started spending summers riding shotgun in a small plane, peering into eagle nests. Sindelar paid for the contract pilot out of his own pocketbook so he could check out the reports of eagle activity reported by citizens. In later years, Dave Evans, a Duluth volunteer, and Ron Eckstein, a DNR biologist, would follow Sindelar's aerial surveys by climbing the trees where Sindelar found active nests. Together, the three banded more than 3,000 eaglets, yielding information to help better understand Wisconsin eagles and how to manage their habitat.

DNR pilots now fly the surveys, which are typically done twice a year with state endangered resources and wildlife management staff doing the counting. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service staff survey nests by watercraft within the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife & Fish Refuge.

DNR staff use the information from the aerial surveys to help protect and manage eagle nesting territories. Throughout the state, DNR staff are contacted by public property managers and private landowners and make recommendations to protect eagle nests from disturbance. On public and private properties, all nests are fully protected and habitat is managed to promote tall snags and large, super canopy white pines.

Donations can be made to the Adopt an Eagle nest fund to help support the aerial surveys, rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured or orphaned eagles, and work with landowners to protect and manage nest trees and winter roost sites. Go to dnr.wi.gov and search for “Adopt an Eagle.”

Picnicking with the Peregrines

Hoy Audubon Field Trip: Tuesdays, June 12 & 19, noon to 1 p.m. Racine County Courthouse, 730 Wisconsin Ave., Racine.

Back by popular demand. Bring lunch and enjoy watching the young, newly-fledged Peregrine Falcons and their parents. The Racine County Courthouse, at 730 Wisconsin Avenue, hosts the most visible Peregrine Falcons in the state! Hoy will have spotting scopes set up near the picnic table on the southwest lawn. Binoculars - bring ‘em if you’ve got ‘em!

These falcons are formidable hunters that prey on other birds (and bats) in mid-flight. Peregrines hunt from above and, after sighting their prey, drop into a steep, swift dive that can top 200 miles an hour.

Peregrine Falcons are among the world's most common birds of prey and live on all continents except Antarctica. They prefer wide-open spaces, and thrive near coasts where shorebirds are common, but they can be found everywhere from tundra to deserts.

Peregrine Falcons have nested successfully on the Racine Courthouse and Pleasant Prairie Power Plant for many years. You may view the Peregrine families in person or keep tabs on their progress at www.falconcam.goracine.org

 or www.we-energies.com/environmental/protect_wildlife.htm. The eggs normally hatch about May 5.
New DNR Birding and Bird Conservation Website

Check this out:
http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/outdoorrecreation/activities/birding.html
Andy Paulios, coordinator of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative and a DNR staffer in the Bureau of Wildlife Management of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, has announced the release of a birding and bird conservation website. Lots of great info on where to find birds, how to report birds and information on how to get involved with conservation. Click through to the site and save it to your bookmarks! He'd appreciate any and all feedback as we ramp up to the peak "birding" season. Office Phone: 608-264-6137; Work Cell: 608-534-0092; eMail: Andy.Paulios@wisconsin.gov

Opportunities for Endangered Species Field Work

The Wisconsin Kirtland's Warbler Project is seeking two qualified nest monitors for the 2013 breeding season. These positions will be based at Wisconsin’s main breeding site in central Wisconsin.  One position will begin in early to mid May, will not require travel outside of Adams County, and will continue until end of July.  The other position will begin around June 1, will require occasional travel to sites in central and northern Wisconsin, and will end in early to mid August.

Nest monitor duties include the following: 1) observe and document adult territorial, courtship, and nesting behaviors of the endangered Kirtland's warbler; 2) record nest phenology and results; 3) keep daily log of activities at assigned breeding site(s); 3) participate with mist netting and banding activities; 4) assist with cowbird trapping; 5) assist with and/or lead guided tours of site; 6) produce interim and final reports; 7) conduct other project related duties as assigned.  In addition, second nest monitor will survey for Kirtland's warblers at assigned sites in Wisconsin.

Candidates must have at least a bachelor's degree in wildlife biology, conservation, natural resources or related field, must be able to identify Wisconsin's shrub land birds by sight and sound, and must be experienced in use of GPS units. Previous experience with Kirtland's warblers is not necessary. Preference will be given to those with previous forest songbird nest monitoring experience. Must have own transportation. Housing will be provided in addition to pay. If interested, send a resume and cover letter to Kim Grveles of the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources at kim.grveles@wisconsin.gov by March 20, 2013. For more information, contact Kim at the email above (phone: 608-264-8594).

Grants awarded to help Wisconsin municipalities deal with nuisance wildlife 

Seven Wisconsin municipalities have been awarded an Urban Wildlife Damage Abatement and Control grant to aid them in development and implementation of long-term management solutions for dealing with problems caused by white-tailed deer or Canada geese.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources provides 50% matching reimbursement grants up to a maximum of $5,000 to communities to help them manage wildlife conflicts. All of the fiscal 2013 grant funds, totaling $24,700, have been awarded. Grant recipients and amounts awarded include:

  • City Of Brookfield, $5,000 for annual aerial deer survey to monitor wildlife populations and establish population estimates. Deer population reduction by sharpshooting and trapping operations.

  • Village Of Elm Grove, Waukesha County, $487 to monitor deer and Canada geese populations and establish population estimates. Remove deer by use of sharpshooters. Remove resident Canada geese by approved methods and in compliance with US Fish & Wildlife permit. Process, distribute or dispose of geese and deer to a charitable organization.

  • Milwaukee County Parks, $5,000 to monitor deer populations and establish population estimates. Remove deer using sharpshooters. Process deer and distribute to local food pantries.

  • City Of Muskego, $2,500 to remove resident Canada geese. Perform required health and tissue sampling. Process, distribute or dispose of geese to a charitable organization.

  • City Of Wisconsin Rapids, $1,713 to implement managed deer hunts; process and distribute to charitable organization(s).

  • City Of Oshkosh, $5,000 to monitor and establish deer population estimates. Remove deer using sharpshooters. Remove resident Canada geese.

  • City Of Sheboygan, $5,000 to develop an urban wildlife (deer) population control plan. Monitor deer populations and establish population estimates. Remove deer using sharpshooters.

In order to be eligible for grant consideration, an applicant must be an urban area pursuant to s. 86.196(1)(c), Wis. Stats. More grant information and a summary of the 2013 grant awards can be found on the Urban Wildlife Damage Abatement and Control page of the DNR website under "Related Links."

FOR MORE INFORMATION: on grant awards, contact Kari Beetham, DNR Bureau of Community Financial Assistance, 608- 264-9207; on technical assistance related to urban areas, wildlife plans, or urban wildlife, contact Dan Hirchert, wildlife damage biologist, 608-267-7974.

Crossbills, Owls Top Statewide Birding Report 

Two stories are dominating the birding headlines in the Wisconsin this week. First, in central and southern Wisconsin, white-winged and red crossbills are visiting backyard bird feeders with unusually high frequency. Dozens of excited birders have reported these boreal finches at their sunflower and thistle seed feeders recently, suggesting the birds’ usual supply of spruce, pine, and other cone seeds has become scarce. Readers hosting crossbills at their feeders in the past month are encouraged to report their sightings to Ryan Brady (ryan.brady@wisconsin.gov) for a statewide tally. To the north, boreal owls are causing a stir across northeast Minnesota, with dozens of individuals being seen in broad daylight as they extend their hunting activity to survive winter’s snowy cold. Wisconsin has at least three records of this small, rarely seen owl this year, and birders in northern Wisconsin should continue to be on the lookout. Listening for mobbing, scolding chickadees is the best way to find roosting boreals. Slowly driving roads through suitable conifer-laden habitat may produce an active hunting owl. In some cases, they also hunt rodents under backyard bird feeders, especially near dusk. In other birding news, northern hawk owls continue in Door and Douglas counties and up to 14 short-eared owls have been reported from Bong Recreation Area in Kenosha County. As one of our earliest breeding species, some great horned owls have likely begun nesting activities in the south. Eagles are being seen in good numbers at traditional wintering areas along the Mississippi and Lower Wisconsin River. Birders are also buzzing over the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count to be held across the continent from Feb 15-18 (www.birdsource.org/gbbc exit DNR) is an easy way for bird enthusiasts of all skill and age levels to contribute to bird monitoring. As always, please contribute your daily bird sightings to Wisconsin eBird at www.ebird.org/wi(exit DNR) to help us better track bird populations.

- Ryan Brady, DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland

Birds and Urban Forestry Program Feb. 7 

Matt Koepnick, City Forester for the City of Racine, will discuss the various benefits that birds derive from specific tree species and how and why tree species are selected to plant in parks and along streets.   Hoy Audubon Society meeting, Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. Kenosha Northside Library, 1500 27th Avenue, Kenosha, WI.   Hoy Audubon worked with both Racine and Kenosha to help achieve their Bird City recognition.

Glass and migrant birds: a progress report 

Glass-and-glare concerns have been aired in past issues of the Birding Community E-bulletin, most recently in May with discussion of two crucial court cases in Ontario, both concerned with making the skies safer for migrant birds:
http://refugeassociation.org/?p=5497#ontario
 
The first of these two Toronto-area court cases was decided in mid-November and presents a mixed message for safe skies. On Nov. 14, 2012, Justice of the Peace William Turtle dismissed three charges against the Consilium Place/Menkes property where an estimated 800+ birds were killed in crashes between 2008 and 2009. This cluster of high-rise towers has long been considered Toronto's deadliest building complex for killing migrating birds.
 
Turtle recognized that birds had been killed at the location, but he held that the property owners could not be held responsible for the natural light discharge and their reflection at the buildings. In the meantime, the owners – sold by Menkes to Kevric Real Estate Corporation in July -- have spent thousands of dollars retrofitting the towers with corrective film to protect the birds.
 
This is core to the mixed message. Working with Toronto-based Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP), Consilium Place retrofitted towers with an outer-layer of film intending to steer birds away from the building. The company also established "bird action stations" to assist FLAP volunteers to collect and tag bird victims, and obtained a federal permit to do so on site, all in accordance with Turtle's ruling.
 
"We're disappointed by the decision," said Albert Koehl, lawyer for Ecojustice, one of the two environmental groups involved with the case. "However, the irony is that the building has now been retrofitted with window film. The number of collisions is dramatically down, so there are obviously solutions that do work."
 
Michael Mesure, FLAP's executive director, has reported that the bird collisions at this property have dropped to about 200 in 2012. Mesure said that the owner's work, as well as the City of Toronto's mandatory bird-friendly building guidelines, which cover projects started after 2010, are a "step in the right direction." But more needs to be done to protect the birds.
 
The second crucial case involves the Yonge Corporate Center, where about 2,000 dead birds have been collected between 2000 and 2010, and 800 between March and November 2010 alone. Judge Melvin Green should present his delayed judgment in this case in early February. Here also, the most deadly building in the center has recently been retrofitted with the same film as an experiment. Again, there have been favorable results.
 
According to FLAP at least one million birds are annually killed in building/glass/reflection collisions in Toronto, and this figure could conceivably be much higher. According to FLAP's Mesure, legislative action is what is really needed. "We desperately need to find a way to make this included in the environmental law."
 
You can access all the past E-bulletins on the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) website:
http://refugeassociation.org/news/birding-bulletin/

“Birds in the City” Project 

Bird Studies Canada, in partnership with the Royal Ontario Museum and Toronto Ornithological Club, is launching an exciting new program focused on connecting Toronto residents with nature through bird conservation, by engaging urban volunteers in bird monitoring projects.

Thanks to funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, hired Project Coordinator Emily Rondel has been hired and will work to increase the number of volunteers in Toronto, raise community awareness, build partnerships, and engage youth in bird conservation. Emily will be recruiting new volunteers of all skill levels to programs such as Project FeederWatch, Ontario SwiftWatch, and the Great Backyard Bird Count

BSC will also run public education programs for those looking to hone their bird identification skills, find out how they can help monitor the city’s birds, or meet other bird enthusiasts in Toronto! All participants will help to understand the city’s habitats and the great variety of breeding, migrating, and wintering birds they support. For more information, please email erondel@birdscanada.org
Purple Martin Lakefront Conservation Initiative

Here is a story from one of our Bird City communities that is targeting a species that is a special focus of BCW because of its decline as well as its importance to our urban communities:

Several houses that the Hoy Audubon chapter installed in Racine were filled with colonies of Purple Martins this summer.

The two-house colony at the Racine Water Department was filled to capacity and fledged 79 Martins this summer! A third house will be added for the 2013 season. The lone house at the Coast Guard Station fledged 33 Martins. There is no room on that site for expansion, but the young birds are expected to find their way north one block to the Water Department. The house at Gateway (off 11th Street) has finally become a functioning colony after four years. Five pairs of birds nested, and 14 Martins fledged from that location. The lone house at North Bay again did not attract Martins and may be relocated next year. The lone house at Pringle Nature Center in Kenosha also did not attract Martins; new strategies will be tried next year. The two re-erected houses at Kenosha’s Water Department had House Sparrow issues. Only a few pairs of Martins managed to fledge 8 birds.

Overall, a total of 134 new Purple Martins are now winging their way south to the Eastern Peruvian Andes, thanks to Hoy Audubon’s efforts.

Reducing pesticide use at home

Birds and people thrive better in areas that see reduced pesticide use. So it was heartening  to read about these developments:

As the fall herbicide season approaches, Whitefish Bay officials will leave Klode, Old School House and Cahill Square parks untouched, while turning to the public for future guidance on other areas in the village. In a discussion of the village turf management plan and use of herbicides and pesticides on Monday, the Village Board decided the best course of action would be to gather a group to discuss the options, reach a consensus and make a recommendation to village and school officials on policy changes. To read more:
http://www.whitefishbaynow.com/news/herbicidefree-concepts-could-grow-on-village-gn6tt3p-170286476.html

And a new study on residential landscape management found that efforts aimed at educating homeowners about the environmental impacts of their lawn care choices are likely to have more success if they are directed at neighborhood groups rather than individuals. It also showed that alternatives are easy to adopt, affordable, and can produce the characteristics of lawns that homeowners seek. For more details:

http://weedsnetwork.com/traction/permalink/WeedsNews3756

Swift Night Out! in Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva will hold it's first annual Swift Night Out! at 6 p.m. on Thursday Sept. 20 at the Geneva Lake Museum. Come witness an amazing natural event occurring in this Bird City Wisconsin community. Click here to open a brochure on this event.

Click here to link to Lake Geneva Bird City page

American Family HQ Designated “Bird-Safe”

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at the Wisconsin Humane Society is proud to announce that the American Family Insurance national headquarters in Madison has been designated as an official “WIngs BirdSafe” building as part of the WHS Wisconsin Night Guardians for Songbirds (WIngs) program. Read more at http://www.wihumane.org/news/americanfamilybirdsafe.aspx

GROSBEAKS GALORE: A Birds on Your Landscape Workshop

Representatives of the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative, including partners within the Endangered Resources division of the Wisconsin DNR, the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will be hosting a one-day workshop entitled "Grosbeaks Galore!" on Saturday, Oct. 13.  The morning session and lunch will take place at the Country Inn and Suites, 350E Seven Hills Rd, Port Washington.  Afternoon field tours and exhibits will be held at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve just north of Port Washington.

Learn how to use native plants to attract and SUSTAIN migratory songbirds and the insects they feed on.

Fee is only $15, and includes lunch and break food, a list of excellent speakers, both indoor and outdoor activities, and door prizes. 

Call or write Kim Grveles at the Wisconsin DNR to register: Phone: 608-264-8594 E-mail: Kim.Grveles@Wisconsin.gov

Speakers include:

Bill Volkert, Naturalist and Wildlife Educator – (Keynote Speaker) – Bill was the naturalist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at Horicon Marsh for 27 years and has traveled widely in search of the world’s birds and the wild places they inhabit

Kim Grveles – coordinator of the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative and ornithologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Bill Mueller & Scott Diehl - Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory and Wisconsin Humane Society - Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Vicki Piaskowski - formerly of Birds Without Borders, Zoological Society of Milwaukee

Dr. Noel Cutright – Legendary Wisconsin Ornithologist with the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory

There also will be activities both indoors and outdoors, native plant vendors and restoration consultants, displays and presentations on the Bird City Wisconsin program, invasive plants and how to deal with them on your land, the plants and insects on which migratory birds depend, and guided walks around Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, which is being developed specifically for migratory songbirds. Come look at our preserve, learn what we are doing, and how you can attract many more bird species to your land or yard and provide habitat for them! 
Introducing the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative

Photo: Jeremiah Kennedy

 The establishment and rapid spread of invasive Phragmites across the Great Lakes poses many challenges for habitat managers, private landowners, researchers, and others. The Great Lakes Commission is partnering with the USGS – Great Lakes Science Center and Ducks Unlimited to develop a comprehensive resource dedicated to Phragmites management and research throughout the Great Lakes basin. The Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative will engage the natural resource community, provide resources and tools to improve collaboration, and lead to more coordinated, efficient, and strategic approaches to Phragmites management and restoration.
   Bird Studies Canada volunteers collect data on this invasive species as part of the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program. BSC’s Aquatic Surveys Biologist Doug Tozer will participate and provide input as the Collaborative implements this project.
   The initiative will be launched with a webinar on July 19. Please visit the Great Lakes Commission website for more information.

Sightings needed of Common Nighthawks

Here is an excellent monitoring activity for a Bird City community to undertake:
The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory is gathering urban and suburban sighting locations for Common Nighthawks from now until the end of July. Nighthawks are thought to be declining based on anecdotal accounts and limited survey information. Because existing bird monitoring programs did not adequately monitor nighthawk populations, a nocturnal survey was begun recently but as currently designed it appears to be inadequate for nighthawk monitoring. To obtain some background information on nighthawk presence during the breeding season in Wisconsin so that a better monitoring protocol can be designed, we would like to hear where nighthawks are being seen/heard this summer, especially in urban and suburban locations.

We would also like to hear about locations where they are not being seen. For example, if you drive through Ripon and Berlin and hear birds in both, let us
know. But we would also like to know that none were found in Princeton, Wautoma, Plainfield, and Neshkoro. For larger cities, we would like to know the locations within the city.

So, if you hear nighthawks booming, see nighthawks diving, or hear nighthawks
peenting their nasal call after dark this summer (from now through the end of July), please make note of the date/time and location of your sighting and let us know! Booming is a low sound made with wings that doesn't carry far, but if you see a nighthawk making a spectacular nosedive, it's likely booming as well; booming & diving can both be indicators of courtship or nesting.

 

Please email your nighthawk information to either Noel Cutright at noel.cutright@we-energies.com or Bill
Mueller at wpmueller1947@gmail.com

Chimney Swift Working Group - Wisconsin

The WI Chimney Swift Working Group had its first meeting, with 20+state agency, NGO, county, conservation organization, and other partners from around the state in March of this year. Its second meeting is planned for mid-July; if you represent a government unit, environmental organization, or bird club and would like to be involved, please contact  William P. Mueller
Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory
WGLBBO online:
http://wglbbo.org/
Blog: http://futureofbirds.blogspot.com/

wpmueller1947@gmail.com
414-698-9108

Many activities will be planned around the state this year focusing on swifts. For examples from nearby states (MN is very active) see info at these links:
http://mn.audubon.org/chimney-swift-sit
http://mn.audubon.org/chimney-swift-conservation

 

Widespread Decline in Shorebird Populations

Noel Cutright, founder of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory in Belgium, Wis., offers this follow up to comments from across Wisconsin on the scarcity of shorebirds during this spring's migration:

A recent journal article that examined population trends of shorebirds in southern Ontario, 1974-2009, isn't good news.

Data from a volunteer-based survey at stopover sites throughout Ontario were used. Of 19 taxa for which trends were estimated, 17 appeared to be declining in abundance. Only American Golden- and Semipalmated Plover showed a positive trend. Recognized is the poor precision, and only 4 declines were significant (yellowlegs spp., Red Knot, dowitcher spp. and Wilson's Snipe). Total numbers of shorebirds declined by 4% annually, resulting in an estimated decrease in abundance of greater than 75% over the 35 years of observation. Rate of decline also appears to be increasing for some.

The authors also recognize that relating these declines in abundance at the surveyed sites to population declines is complicated by several potential sources of survey bias. They conclude, "However, given that these results are consistent with those of other migration surveys as well as those on the breeding and the wintering ground, the most parsimonious explanation remains a widespread decline in shorebird populations."

The article appeared in Waterbirds 35:15-24, 2012.
 

More Purple Martin News

The June issue of the Eastern Wisconsin Purple Martin Association newsletter is available by clicking here.

Four men and a Bird-a-thon

Four veteran bird-watchers tuned out the world of politics for about 24 hours to watch and listen for as many different bird species as they could find. Chuck Quirmbach of Wisconsin Public Radio reports the adventure was part of a series of fundraisers called the Great Wisconsin Bird-a-thon. Check out this 3:36 audio clip from 5/18/12
http://wpr.org/news/   

International testimonial for Bird Fest and Bird City

The organizers of the Oshkosh Bird Fest, which celebrates International Migratory Bird Day and Oshkosh's status as a Bird City Wisconsin, saw their event attract a wider audience on May 5, with numerous visitors from outside Oshkosh. Even beyond the Fox  Valley - Calumet County, Waukesha, and Minnesota were all cited by Oshkosh Bird Club member Bettie Harriman. "Others in our planning group commented on how many non-Oshkosh attendees there were. Maybe we have a reach beyond the actual event," Bettie noted.

Winnebago Audubon's Janet Wissink shared this email from a gentleman from Berlin, Germany, who attended the event:

I was delighted when I discovered this activity. So I am here to congratulate you and all the people who are supporting the idea. This so much more practised environmental care than many so-called green ideas; besides I love birds. My mom is alway telling how simple it is to help native birds, planting native plants and giving our birds some refuge with providing shrubs and so on. To make a Bird Fest to promote the idea behind it is very nice; I read the web pages about Bird City too. In a big city like Berlin it seems there's hardly a moment when people think about their own free living animals which are with us all the time and give us so much. Again my best wishes to Oshkosh Bird Fest and Bird City Oshkosh.

With best regards

Thomas Traeger
PS.
I visited Oshkosh in the 1990s quite often, because of the Air Show, along with much traveling through Wisconsin; it's a beautiful state.
 
Early Morning Bird Walk at Old World Wisconsin

Early Morning Bird Walk at Old World Wisconsin
On Saturday, May 5, Old World Wisconsin will hold an Early Morning Bird Walk from 6 to 9 a.m. Naturalists will lead small groups of bird watchers on site trails in search of migratory birds who make Wisconsin their home this time of year. Enjoy the rare opportunity to experience Old World Wisconsin before the museum opens. This event is also great for photographers seeking pictures of rural landscapes in the soft morning light.

After the walk, there will be a continental breakfast in the historic Clausing Barn restaurant. Leslie Kiehl, education coordinator from the Wildlife in Need Center, and raptor ambassadors Grace the Kestrel and Dakota the Owl will be on hand. Dakota has educated 80,000 people in his 11 years at the center.

The Bird Walk is hosted by Old World Foundation, a private nonprofit organization that funds special museum projects. Tickets are $15 per person or $10 for Foundation members. Reservations are required. Call (262) 594-2922 for information or reservations, or visit www.friendsoww.org to reserve online.

Initiative Will Benefit 10-State Effort to Save Declining Songbird
Golden-winged Warbler by Laura Erickson

The new “Working Lands For Wildlife” (WLW) project announced  by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture will provide substantial benefits to birds and other wildlife, but will be especially beneficial to the imperiled Golden-winged Warbler.

 

The WLW project will provide a huge boost for a Golden-winged Warbler conservation effort in the eastern U.S. involving dozens of organizations across ten states. The effort is being facilitated by the Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture (AMJV), and American Bird Conservancy (ABC).  Partners include federal and state agencies, universities and not-for-profit conservation organizations.  The Golden-winged Warbler effort is being carried out in the species’ Appalachian breeding range of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.

 

“The Golden-winged Warbler is one of the most seriously threatened, non-federally listed species in eastern North America. Everyone familiar with its plight should be excited about the WLW project and the opportunity it provides to better engage private landowners in the conservation effort. If we are going to have this bird around for future generations, we’re going to need both public and private collaboration,” said Brian Smith, AMJV Coordinator and a wildlife biologist with ABC.

 

"The additional funding from the WLW project will provide for increased on-the-ground habitat restoration and conservation for the Golden-winged Warbler.  These efforts will be complemented by technical expertise that AMJV partners will provide through monitoring the species’ response to habitat work, and the vital educational component designed to improve understanding of the importance of young forests and scrubby, open habitat to this bird,” Smith said.

 

In addition to benefits to the Golden-winged Warbler, the WLW will also boost conservation efforts for the Greater Sage-grouse, Lesser Prairie-chicken, and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher in the western and central U.S., as well as three non-bird species currently listed or proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act: the New England cottontail rabbit, bog turtle, and gopher tortoise.

 

This WLW project follows a sage-grouse initiative in the West that began nearly two years ago. The initiative is being delivered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through conservation programs in the Farm Bill, with support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, state fish and wildlife agencies, and other partners.

 

The Appalachian Mountains and the Upper Midwest/Great Lakes region are the population strongholds for Golden-winged Warbler; however the species has undergone significant population declines throughout the greater Appalachian region due to loss, degradation, and modification of its preferred young forest habitat. Hybridization with the closely-related Blue-winged Warbler, nest parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds, and deforestation on its wintering grounds in Central and South America are also factors in this species’ decline.
ABC has made the Golden-winged Warbler a major focus of its conservation work, and is coordinating conservation activities in both the US and in wintering ground sites in Central and South America.

 

ABC is working to boost Golden-winged populations in a number of ways, including participation in the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative  - a coalition of federal and local agencies, citizens, and other groups dedicated to restoring forests on reclaimed mine sites in the eastern United States. These restored forests can provide much-needed habitat for the Golden-winged Warbler and other early-successional species such as the American Woodcock. Also, ABC works closely with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Golden-winged Warbler Working Group to develop and deliver on-the-ground projects throughout the species’ range.

 

ABC is also working with partners in Latin America to restore essential wintering habitat for the Golden-winged Warbler through cooperative efforts with local communities, coffee growers, and ranchers that promote bird-friendly practices such as silvipasture (the practice of combining forestry and grazing of domesticated animals in a mutually beneficial way) and shade-grown coffee. ABC is also planting thousands of trees to restore native wintering habitat for the Golden-winged Warbler and other neotropical migrants.

 

On June 2, 2011, FWS announced that listing the Golden-winged Warbler under the Endangered Species Act may be warranted, and the Service is now initiating a full review of the species. In addition, many state fish and wildlife agencies within the Appalachian region have listed this bird as a species in greatest need of conservation within their states’ boundaries.

'Lights Out' program is for the birds

Spring bird migration has started. In the next few weeks, millions, perhaps billions, of birds will be moving north along migratory corridors.

One of their biggest obstacles are well-lighted city skylines. Chicago, New York and other major cities are turning off lights to protect the birds – and saving money in the process. Lights Out Winston-Salem is encouraging building owners and managers to do the same.

Collisions with building glass account for as many as a billion dead birds each year. Most of these are migratory birds that fly to their northern breeding grounds in the spring and return south in the fall. Among human-related causes of bird fatalities, building collisions are exceeded only by loss of habitat.

Click Logo right for more information

Prairie Chicken Festival and Gala

Here is a link to the winter/spring edition of the Central Wisconsin Grassland Conservation Area Partnership newsletter. It has complete information on the 2012 Central Wisconsin Prairie Chicken Festival later this month, including the Grassland Gala on April 13.   Click here to link.

Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge Open House

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has released for public review and comment an Environment Assessment (EA) for the possible establishment of a national wildlife refuge in two counties along the Wisconsin and Illinois border between Milwaukee and Chicago.

The EA presents four alternatives designed to benefit specific wildlife and plant habitats within the original study area. The boundaries were formulated based on the watersheds, existing
conservation areas, habitat requirements of desired wildlife species, public roads, and comments received from the public. The preferred alternative identified by the planning team would link  and expand upon existing conservation areas to benefit migratory birds, endangered species, and provide for wildlife-dependent recreation. Land conservation methods for core areas, up to 11,200 acres in total, would include fee purchase from willing sellers, conservation easements, and private initiatives aimed at creating contiguous natural habitat.

The agency will be hosting two open house events to request input from the public. The public is invited to attend these open house events to talk with Service planning staff and submit
comments on the EA.
 

Birding trip by train into Tiffany Wildlife Area

The Lower Chippewa River Alliance is sponsoring a birding trip by train into the Tiffany Wildlife Area. The trip is open to the public and is scheduled for Saturday, May 12, from 7 a.m. to noon, More than 70 different species of birds have been observed on previous trips.

Steve Betchkal, chief photographer for WQOW-TV in Eau Claire, will be leading the trip. Betchkal is an award winning videographer, has published many articles on birds, and has compiled a life birding list of almost 600 species from 42 states. He is also the author of “All of This and Robins Too: A Guide to the 50 or So Best Places to Find Birds in Wisconsin”.

The trip is in cooperation with the Chippewa Valley Motor Car Association. This event is a fund raiser for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s endowment fund for management of the Lower Chippewa River.

People interested in participating can send a check made out to LCRA for $25 per adult. Children 6-17 years old are $15 and children under 6 are free. Checks can be mailed to LCRA, PO Box 74, Durand, WI. 54736. Include name, address, telephone number and email address. Seats are limited to the first 60 people. Most birding will be along the railroad grade but several short hikes will be conducted away from the train. People should wear appropriate field clothes for the weather. Contact Dave Linderud at 715-672-8595 for additional information.

Home sellers take note

Here's some research that underpins everything Bird City Wisconsin has been saying about making our communities healthy for birds...and people.

That blue jay in your backyard could add $32,000 to your asking price. An innovative study of home sales in Lubbock, Texas, suggests that planners can use relatively simple bird counts to analyze the ecological and economic values of urban landscapes. And it finds that even a single extra species can help pinpoint relatively rich ecosystems.

This article was shared during a Town of Grafton Open Space Commission meeting. The commission has been working for about 10 years to preserve the environment and more recently to enhance it by adding native woody species to the public trail systems. The town has also been designated a "Bird City." Research has shown that that native plant species are very attractive to native birds.

For more information, click logo below

A Flurry of Firsts

All kinds of records fell in this year's Great Backyard Bird Count. Thanks to the participation of so many of our members, fans, and friends, we topped 100,000 checklists for the first time ever! Other stunners included more Snowy Owls, Common Redpolls, and Tree Swallows than ever before reported, and continuing expansion by Eurasian Collared-Doves and Great-tailed Grackles.
Explore the GBBC Top Ten Lists @ (Click image to link)

Mapping invasives in Southeast Wisconsin
Nearly 150 volunteers collaborated to map four non-native invasive plant species in eight southeastern Wisconsin counties last summer, and the data keeps pouring in.

Eight County Leaders were selected to recruit mapping teams of two for each township in the SEWISC region. Team members received training, data sheets and maps which were provided by County GIS Departments and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee American Geographic Society Library. The volunteers collectively surveyed more than 11,000 miles of roadways, devoting over 1,200 hours to the project.

Read all the details about this and other SEWISC efforts in its Spring 2012 newsletter @ sewisc.org

Purple Martins on the way back here

The 2012 Purple Martin season is well underway as birds are streaming into the United States from South America to head to their summer nesting sites.

Wisconsinites can expect to see the first purple martins of the season starting around April 1st, with increasing numbers of new arrivals as the month progresses.

Now would be a good time to start getting things ready at your site as we anxiously await their return. It's a lot less stressful having everything set up and ready to go than it is to wait until the last minute.

Read more in Purple Martin Chatter, a Publication of the Eastern Wisconsin Purple Martin Association, by clicking here

Attracting Birds in Winter

In many parts of North America, colder temperatures, falling snow, and freezing lakes and rivers make it harder for birds to survive. Here are a few tips from the National Audubon Society to make life a bit easier for them and to attract them to your yard so you can count them when the Great Backyard Bird Count rolls around Feb. 17-20!

-- Fill your feeders early. Many people only start feeding birds once winter arrives, but it can take weeks for birds to find your feeders. Put them out sooner or keep them filled year-round.
-- Offer a bird buffet. Different species of birds have different food preferences. Safflower or black oil sunflower seeds appeal to the greatest variety of birds. Finches go for nyger seed (thistle), and suet will lure in woodpeckers, wrens, and Blue Jays.
-- Install a hot tub. Not for you—for the birds! Heated bird baths are a great way to attract birds in winter when other water sources may be frozen. You can buy bird baths with built-in heaters, or just add a waterproof heater to an existing bird bath.
-- Give ‘em shelter. Help birds remain safe from predators. You can buy or build bird houses or roost boxes, or create a brush pile. Plant evergreens to give birds a place to rest.


Find more tips at Audubon at Home and All About Birds.

Purple Martin groups forms in Sheboygan County

An Eastern Wisconsin Purple Martin Association has been organized, based in Sheboygan County.

The association's mission is to preserve and restore the Purple Martin population throughout eastern Wisconsin with an educational emphasis on attracting, managing, and maintaining Purple Martin colonies for current and future generations. 

The Purple Martin population has shown a steady decline in Wisconsin, and the goal is to reverse that trend with a partnership between current and potential landlords, and the Purple Martin Conservation Association, a nationally-recognized organization.

Purple Martins do have specific requirements and knowing what those requirements are can make a difference  whether or not you are successful when trying to attract and manage a colony.

The EWPMA will meet at the Plymouth Intergenerational Center in Plymouth on the third Thursday of every month from Feburary through July and will conduct workshops led by experienced area landlords. If you already host Purple Martins or are just starting out, the EWPMA would like to encourage you to attend its meetings and  to be a part of this organization. For more information, contact Tom Rank tcsrank@bytehead.com

The association officers are:
President: Tom Rank
Vice President: Greg Zimmermann
Secretary: Nicki Schumacher
Treasurer: Joe Francis III
Board of Directors: Joel Schumacher, Ike Kumrow and Les Rhines

San Francisco Mayor Approves New Standards for Bird-Safe Buildings

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and Golden Gate Audubon have hailed the signing into law of new Standards for Bird Safe Buildings by San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. The signing follows the unanimous approval of the bill by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

The Standards will greatly reduce bird deaths and injuries resulting from collisions with buildings in the city. They include sections on safer windows, night lighting, and the construction of wind turbines in the urban environment.

“Protecting and helping birds is not only the right thing to do, it is also good for the economy and the future of our environment. Birds are invaluable as controllers of crop insect pests, pollinators of plants, and seed distributors; they also generate tremendous economic revenues through the pastimes of bird feeding and birdwatching. We need to do what we can to protect them,” said Eric Mar, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ member who sponsored the legislation.

To read the entire story, go to http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/111012.html

For more bird conservation news:

Sign up for ABC's RSS newsfeed at http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/bnn.xml#,

Bird Conservation magazine at http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/birdconservation_pdf/MagSpring11.pdf,

ABC’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Bird-Conservancy/136126341809

YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/abcbirds.

For additional information on any of these topics please use the search feature on our website at www.abcbirds.org.

Buildings Using Bird-Friendly Design Now Eligible for LEED Credit

American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the nation's leading bird conservation organization, in cooperation with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and Bird-safe Glass Foundation, have enabled architects, designers, developers, and building owners pursuing LEED green building certification to earn credit for incorporating design strategies that reduce bird collisions.

USGBC's LEED (Leadership in Environment and Energy Design) green building rating system is the preeminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings worldwide.

"Building collision is among the leading causes of bird mortality in the United States, so it is exciting to see the foundation being laid to reduce the threats that buildings pose to avian populations. We are delighted that, with the creation of this pilot credit, architects across the country will now have the chance to be recognized for making buildings truly green," said ABC Bird Collisions Program Director Dr. Christine Sheppard.

"Incorporating design strategies that reduce the impact our built environment has on wildlife is a logical extension of the philosophy upon which we've built the LEED rating system for the past decade," said Brendan Owens, Vice President, LEED Technical Development, USGBC. "The LEED Pilot Credit Library allows us to expand the range of issues LEED addresses while staying true to our mission."

To read the entire story, go to http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/111031.html

"Grosbeaks Galore" connects native plants to backyard birds

Are you interested in learning how to use native plants to attract and sustain migratory songbirds and the insects the feed on? Then here's an event for you.

The Wisconsin Stopover Initiative, including partners within the DNR's Endangered Resources Division and the Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory will host a one-day workshop entitled Grosbeaks Galore on Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, just north of Port Washington, in Ozaukee County.

The fee is only $5, and includes lunch, excellent speakers and both indoor and outdoor presentations and activities. Bird City Wisconsin is a supporter and its coordinator will be on hand to recruit more communities to seek recognition. Speakers and topics include:

Dr. Doug Tallamy -  University of Delaware, author of "Bringing Nature Home," keynote speaker: SAVING THE ECOSYSTEM-SUSTAINING MATRIX OF INSECTS
AND ANIMALS

Kim Grveles - Wisconsin DNR: Stopover ecology: PROVIDING AN OASIS FOR BIRDS

Craig Thompson - Wisconsin DNR: Orioles to Ocelots: THE WINTER HOMES OF "OUR"¯ BIRDS:
WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE TROPICS

Vicki Piaskowski - formerly of "Birds Without Borders - Aves Sin Fronteras," Zoological Society of Milwaukee:
WHICH BIRDS TO EXPECT ON YOUR PROPERTY IN WISCONSIN

Mariette Nowak - author of "Birdscaping in the Midwest"¯: WISCONSIN PLANTS THAT BIRDS USE: WHICH PLANTS TO CHOOSE IN YOUR LOCATION

Bill Mueller and Scott Diehl - Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory and Wisconsin Humane Society's Wildlife Rehabilitation Center: ELIMINATE THREATS
TO BIRDS: HOW TO PREVENT WINDOW COLLISIONS AND ELIMINATE OTHER DANGERS

Dr. Noel Cutright - Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory: CONNECTING MIGRANT BIRDS WITH THE LANDSCAPE

In addition to these speakers, there will be activities both indoors and outdoors, native plant vendors and restoration consultants, displays and presentations on the Bird City Wisconsin program, invasive plants and how to deal with them on your land, water features for birds, a bird-banding demonstration area, and guided
walks around Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, which is being developed specifically for migratory songbirds. To register, call or write Kim Grveles at the Wisconsin DNR
Phone: 608-264-8594
E-mail: Kim.Grveles@Wisconsin.gov

Chimney Swift Working Group

Because of growing interest and concern for the declining Chimney Swift population in Wisconsin, the new Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory is proposing to spearhead the organization of a statewide initiative. The first meeting would be this fall, possibly at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve.

Many Wisconsin Audubon chapters are already working on a variety of swift projects, and there are interested individuals all over the state. This would be a good way to coordinate on a statewide level. It also has great potential for community action in areas that already are recognized as Bird City communities and in places that would like to use a Chimney Swift project to meet their initial or High Flyter criteria.

If you're interested, contact Bill Mueller (wpmueller1947@gmail.com) and have him add you to his contact list.

Alarming Declines Among Many Common Birds

Laura Erickson
Eastern Meadowlark

What's happening to birds we know and love?

Audubon's unprecedented analysis of forty years of citizen-science bird population data from our own Christmas Bird Count plus the Breeding Bird Survey reveals alarming declines for many of our most common and beloved birds.

Since 1967 the average population of the common birds in steepest decline has fallen by 68 percent; some individual species nose-dived as much as 80 percent. All 20 birds on the national Common Birds in Decline list lost at least half their populations in just four decades.

The findings point to growing impact from the many environmental challenges our birds face, from habitat loss from development, deforestration, and conversion of land to agriculture, to climate change. Only citizen action can make a difference for the birds and the state of our future.

To read more, click here: http://birds.audubon.org/newsroom/news-stories/2011/alarming-declines-among-many-common-birds

USFWS reviews decline of Golden-winged Warbler

William Mueller and Noel Cutright of  the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory report that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is beginning a process that may lead to listing the Golden-winged Warbler as threatened or endangered.
 
The  Golden-winged Warbler is one of a group of species that could be called the  "poster children" of declining bird species. Due to changes in habitat, forest succession, forest management policies, climate change factors, and  potentially from a list of hazards that these birds encounter during  migration, this species is at risk in Wisconsin and elsewhere. The decline has
 been noticeable for some time. The trend for the Breeding Bird Survey in Wisconsin is an ANNUAL decrease of 2.6% between 1966 and 2009 and 2.9% between 1999 and 2009.  It is considered a Species of Greatest  Conservation Need (SGCN) in Wisconsin. Find out more at this link:  
http://www.wisconsinbirds.org/plan/species/gwwa.htm
 
From the USFWS: "The Service will undertake a more thorough status review of the species to  determine whether to propose adding the species to the federal lists of
 endangered and threatened wildlife and plants. Today's decision, known as a 90-day finding, is based on scientific information about the species provided in the petition asking the Service
 to list the warbler. The petition finding is the first step in a process  that triggers a more thorough review of all the biological information  available."
Big Muskego Lake Bird update

Here are some great examples of the kinds of things that can happen in a Bird City Wisconsin:

Muskego conservation coordinator Tom Zagar reports:

  • Checked out the eagle nest yesterday - there are two young eagles on the nest. The photo is courtesy of John Winze.

  •  The Ospreys are currently incubating 2 eggs – should hatch near the end of June. Check out webcam at:

  • Click our city logo to see our webcam

  • There are also about 45 American Pelicans on Big Muskego. With water lower level also many shorebirds on exposed mudflats. Also Forester’s Terns, Black Terns, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Northern Harriers….

Door Islands Bird Festival is June 3-5

There is still one more birding festival yet this spring.

The fifth annual Door Islands Bird Festival will be held June 3-5. The festival is based on Washington Island and includes one or two other islands off the tip of Door County. Sandy Peterson reports: "We bird from early till late in various habitats and celebrate Saturday evening with a banquet and speaker. This year it is Pat Manthey, Avian Specialist with Wisconsin DNR, speaking about "Eagles All aAound Wisconsin" We tend to find about 130 species, including local, breeding and migrating birds."

For more information go to www.doorislandsbirdfest.org

Broad Coalition Contacts Salazar to Discuss Feral Cats

The Wildlife Society, along with more than 50 other conservation organizations and scientific societies, has sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to call attention to the threat being posed to wildlife by feral cats and to request a meeting to discuss feral cat management. Noting the estimated 80 million feral cats and 40 million free-ranging cats in the U.S. that kill hundreds of millions of birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians each year and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act to conserve threatened and endangered species and migratory birds, the group underscored the importance of developing a comprehensive policy to address the feral cat problem. The letter strongly recommended the development of a department-wide policy opposing Trap-Neuter-Release and the outdoor feeding of cats as a feral cat management option, coupled with a plan of action to address existing feral cat populations on lands managed by the Interior Department.

Nice turnout for Bird Day celebration

Noel Cutright, founder of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, reports that approximately 75 people turned out on May 7 for the second annual celebration of International Migratory Bird Day at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve.

The event was sponsored by  the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, which owns the site; the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which helps manage it; the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, and Ozaukee County, one of 20 inaugural Bird City Wisconsin communities, all of which are staging IMBD events.

Numerous good eyes and ears accounted for identifying 96 species on the 141-acre property. Highlights included Purple Martins landing within minutes on the re-installed martin house that was used successfully last year after its inaugural installation at the preserve and observatory site.  

Three species were added to the property's species list, which is edging closer to the 200 mark. The USFW's Joel Trick flushed a wren from the grass and it landed on a brush pile where it sang -- Marsh Wren.  Tom Schaefer, at the first of two weekend Big Sits, this one on the Lake Michigan beach, had a fly-by Willet and Red-throated Loon. 

Similar IMBD celebrations were also held May 7 in Oshkosh and Evansville, which already have been awarded Bird City recognition, and Elm Grove, which is applying.

For a list of events on May 14 and May 21: http://www.birdcitywisconsin.org/Resources/InternationalMigratoryBirdDay/Index.htm 

For the Birds: AMBLE Along Lake Michigan

AMBLE along the lake this summer and fall and join a local community that cares about lakeshore conditions and bird health.

Door County volunteers are needed to walk parts of the Lake Michigan and Green Bay shoreline to monitor bird health and beach conditions as part of a citizen science program. The U.S. Geological Survey AMBLE (Avian Monitoring for Botulism Lakeshore Events) program is an opportunity to sharpen birding skills, gain a deeper understanding of the disease, avian botulism, Lake Michigan ecology, and develop a connection with a wild place.

Participants can choose quarter-mile or longer sections of the nearly 300-mile Door County shoreline to monitor every 7 to 10 days, June through November. Expertise in bird identification is not required to be an AMBLE volunteer and free training will be offered in May. Information covered during training includes disease ecology of avian botulism, monitoring protocols, bird identification, and GPS use.

To participate in AMBLE, volunteers are asked to attend one of the two free May training sessions (more sessions will be offered as needed):

  • Friday, May 20 from 1-4 p.m. at Newport State Park Visitor Center, Hotz Wilderness Room, 475 County Highway NP, Ellison Bay.
  • Saturday, May 21 from 1-4 p.m. at Crossroads at Big Creek, Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.

Those who complete training will receive an AMBLE hat or t-shirt, and updates via the "AMBLE Ramble" newsletter.

AMBLE is sponsored by the USGS National Wildlife Health Center with support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the following local partners: The Ridges Sanctuary, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, Northeastern Wisconsin Audubon Society, and Crossroads at Big Creek.  

For more information or to sign up for a training session, contact Jenny Chipault (AMBLE@usgs.gov or 608-270-2473) or view the Lake Michigan Volunteer AMBLE website.

Bird City, Tree City collaborate for wildlife in Green Bay

The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary is the site for an exciting new collaboration between Green Bay’s Bird City Wisconsin organizers and Tree City USA, joining with FFA students from Preble High School and other groups to demonstrate how to make your yard “Bird Friendly.”  The first phase of a three-year project planting trees and shrubs that will provide food and shelter to resident and migratory birds kicked off on April 28.

“Green Bay recently earned a 2011 Bird City designation from Bird City Wisconsin and has been a Tree City for a few years. We are really excited that all the partners in Green Bay’s Bird City have come together to develop this living demonstration on how to attract birds to your yard,” said Mike Reed, curator at Bay Beach, 1660 East Shore Dr., Green Bay.

 

“I am thrilled by how these remarkable partner’s have come together to demonstrate what anyone can do to their yard to help our birds to survive,” added Nancy Nabak, who chairs Green Bay’s Bird City Wisconsin effort.

 

Other partners include Mark Freberg,  City of Green Bay Forestry Department; Mike Gottfredsen, Bay Area Bird Club; Kathy Lafebvre, East Shore Drive Neighborhood Association; Paul Lindzmeyer, NEW Wilderness Alliance; Jennifer Politt, Greater Green Bay Sustainable Task Force; Bonnie Vastag, Green Bay chapter of Wild Ones; Mark Konlock, Green Bay Botanical Garden; Maureen Meinhardt, Baird Creek Preservation Foundation; Tom Duffy, Bird City Green Bay; Jodi Arndt, Brown County chapter of the Izaak Walton League.

Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, in his State of the City address, on April 26, said: "The Bird City Wisconsin designation will bring birdwatchers and economic activity to our area while continuing to make the award-winning Bay beach Wildlife Sanctuary a regional and national gem.” 

Mornings are for the birds!

Join experienced naturalists on a guided hike through the rolling wooded hills of the Old World Wisconsin museum at 6 a.m. Saturday May 7 at Eagle in Waukesha County. In past years, participants have seen about 60 species. Then enjoy a tasty breakfast and a talk by curator Marty Perkins about the museum’s new efforts to attract bluebirds to its farms and fields. The fee is $15 for the general public and $10/ for members of the Friends of OWW.

Click here for more information.

Bird walks resume May 28 at Harrington Beach SP

Harrington Beach State Park -- along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Ozaukee County -- has long been a bird-watching hot spot, attracting birders throughout the year from all over the region. Records kept over many years have identified more species here than in any other Wisconsin state park.

Beginning Memorial Day weekend, birding enthusiasts will conduct a series of five spring outings to look for and listen to resident and migrant birds in the park. The 90-minute walks will begin at 7:30 a.m., leaving from the observatory area at Puckett's Pond, and work their way east toward Quarry Lake and the Lake Michigan shore in order to explore a variety of habitats.

The walks, initiated last summer and fall, are again being organized by the Riveredge Bird Club in nearby Newburg and co-sponsored by the Milwaukee Audubon Society, Bird City Wisconsin and the Friends of Harrington Beach State Park. All three groups will provide trip leaders.

The walks were conceived to serve users of 73 new campsites at the park, located just east of I-43 and south of County Highway D, but will be open to all park visitors. Standard park entrance fees will apply.

Walks will be leisurely and geared to all experience levels; children need to be accompanied by adults. Participants should dress for the weather. A pair of binoculars will make for a much more rewarding experience, and some will be available for loan. If you have a birding field guide, bring it along.

Walks will begin at 7:30 a.m. on:

  • Saturday May 28

  • Sunday June 5

  • Sunday June 12

  • Saturday June 18

  • Sunday June 19 (Father's Day)

New Report Analyzes Impact of Feral Cats

A new, peer-reviewed study titled Feral Cats and Their Management by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, analyzes existing research on management of the burgeoning U.S. feral cat population – over 60 million and counting – including the controversial practice of Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR).

"This report is a must-read for any community or government official wondering what to do about feral cats. It encapsulates the extensive research on this subject and draws conclusions based on that data. Not surprisingly, the report validates everything American Bird Conservancy has been saying about the feral cat issue for many years, namely that TNR doesn’t work in controlling feral cat populations," said Darin Schroeder, Vice President for Conservation Advocacy for ABC.

"Communities seeking a solution to their feral cat problems need to consider the science on the issue and the full humane picture. Birds and other native animals don’t deserve to die at the hands of a predator introduced into their environment by irresponsible pet owners. A humane decision-making process on this issue must also recognize that feral cats live short, miserable lives because of disease, other predators, severe weather and traffic hazards. Their life expectancy is less than one third that of owned cats," Schroeder added.

As a result of these findings, the report authors stated that they do not recommend TNR as a method to control feral cats. In their extensive research, they were unable to find a single real-world example of TNR succeeding in eliminating a feral cat colony.

  • Some of the many findings of the report include:

  • Feral cats are invasive and pose a threat to native fauna and public health.

  • Three separate studies showed that 62% to 80% of feral cats carry the parasite responsible for toxoplasmosis – a condition of special concern to pregnant women.

  • Feral cats' impact on birds can be calculated at $17 billion a year.

  • Feeding feral cats increases the chances of diseases being transmitted.

  • Cats are responsible for the extinction of at least 33 species of birds.

  • Feral cats kill an estimated 480 million birds in the U.S. each year.

  • Cats will kill wildlife no matter how well they are fed.

  • The life expectancy of a feral cat is 3-5 years as opposed to 15 years for owned cats.

-- From the February issue of Bird Calls, published by the American Bird Conservancy

Free-Ranging Cats Pose a Threat, WBCI warns; for details click here  

Green Bay birders plan a busy spring

In accepting recognition as one of Wisconsin's 15 inaugural Bird Cities, the committee that put together Green Bay's application vowed a continuing focus on bird-focused conservation efforts.

As part of its bid to maintain that recognition under Bird City Wisconsin's "Sustained Flight" program, the committee put together a calendar of birding events and asked Bird City to post it on its web site as part of the Green Bay achievements page.

What a great idea! So click here to see the schedule.

Carl Schwartz, Bird City coordinator, encouraged other Bird City communities to create similar calendars and send them to cschwartz3@wi.rr.com.

Bird City also is looking to publicize any plans for celebrating International Migratory Bird Day, whenever and wherever communities plan to observe it.

Anti-bird-collision decals still available

The Wisconsin Humane Society is still giving away free WindowAlert static anti-bird-collision decals.  The current offer can be seen at:

Wisconsin Humane Society
 
Scott Diehl, Wildlife Manager at the society, says:

Get up to 10 FREE 4-packs of WindowAlerts for just $2.50 per pack shipping and handling per pack, while supplies last (we have about 4,200 4-packs available). WindowAlerts normally  retail for $6.00 for a pack of four, plus shipping. 

If you need to treat  multiple windows, the cost can add up quickly. But thanks to a generous grant  from the Jeff Rusinow Family Foundation, we are able to provide you with  enough WindowAlerts to affordably treat multiple windows at your home or  office. Help prevent migratory birds from crashing into windows this fall and  winter!  This offer is limited to 10 packs per household, while supplies  last, to mailing addresses in the contiguous U.S.

And if you stop in at our wildlife rehab center at 45th and Wisconsin in Milwaukee during open  hours, you can pick up your WindowAlerts and skip the S&H fee.  Though if you want to instead make a donation to our wildlife conservation  and rehab work, we won't stop ya'. :)

Our suggestions for installation and spacing can be seen here: 

Urban lakefront parks are Important Bird Areas

Public parks along Lake Michigan serve as crucial stopover sites for the more than 300 species of migratory birds that fly through in spring on their way to their northerly breeding grounds and in fall on their way to winter homes in Mexico and South America.

Because these green oases are so vital to migratory birds, the Chicago lakefront has been designated one of 91 Important Bird Areas in Illinois.

In Chicagoland, 21 public and private lands have been designated as IBAs --  from Illinois Beach State Park in northeastern Lake County south through the Chicago lakefront to Goose Lake State Prairie in Will County as well as sites in Kane and McHenry counties.

Here's the link to the rest of the story

Green Bay association recognizes Bird Day

The Downtown Neighborhood Association in Green Bay has unanimously passed a resolution recognizing International Migratory Bird Day in that community.

Green Bay is one of at least 20 communities in Wisconsin where interested residents are working with their local officials to apply for recognition as a Bird City Wisconsin. The BCW Steering Committee anticipates announcing its first successful applicants later this summer.

The Green Bay resolution was featured in the July newsletter of Environment for the Americas, a non-profit organization that provides information and materials about birds, bird conservation, and bird education from Canada to South America. International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), the signature project of EFTA, is the only international education program that highlights and celebrates the migration of nearly 350 species of migratory birds between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding grounds in Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Official community recognition of IMBD is one of the requirements for becoming a Bird City.

Public television interview showcases Bird City Wisconsin
Jackie Kahlhamer, host of "Public Report" on WWRS, the public television station in Mayville, Wis., interviews Carl Schwartz, coordinator of Bird City Wisconsin about the project's progress.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZSnwniy9Ko
Effort offers recognition for protecting birds
May 4, 2010

Focus is on a community recognition program called Bird City Wisconsin. His guests are Noel Cutright of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, and Carl Schwartz, coordinator of the program in Wisconsin.

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Saving Our Shared Birds: a Tri-National Vision

Partners in Flight has announced that “Saving Our Shared Birds: Partners in Flight Tri-National Vision for Landbird Conservation” is now available. Government officials, on behalf of international bird conservation leaders from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, released the report May 11 at the 15th annual Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The tri-national assessment followed Partners in Flight’s process of scientific evaluations of conservation vulnerability for 882 native landbirds to Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The messages in this report are highly relevant to successful conservation of all North American landbirds.

Visit
www.savingoursharedbirds.org to learn more, download a copy, view our new PIF video, or read the press release.  PIF urges everyone to continue their important bird conservation work at various scales and consider how you can take even more action for tri-national landbird conservation.

Effort offers recognition for protecting birds
Feb 15, 2010

Bird lovers are starting a program to help Wisconsin cities get recognition as being bird-friendly. Chuck Quirmbach reports...

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Report Calls Bird Conservation Efforts Critical  in Face of Climate Change

 

Washington, D.C. -- Dr. David Pashley, vice president of American Bird Conservancy - a leading bird conservation organization - cautioned today that as climate change impacts are increasingly felt throughout the United States and beyond, conservation efforts affecting birds will take on a doubly important role in protecting not only birds that are already threatened, but also more common birds as well.

 

Pashley made his comments in a news release issued by ABC in connection with the March 12 release of State of the Birds 2010, the first comprehensive vulnerability assessment of bird species to climate change across the United States.

 

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the report's release at a press conference in Texas, along with several environmental organizations (including ABC) that had collaborated on the publication.  Pashley was one of the authors of the report.

 

"Our findings tell us that birds of conservation concern today will be in even greater peril in the future as a result of climate change, and many bird species that are now doing well may soon become conservation priorities as global warming progresses," Pashley said.

 

Conservation efforts that will take on special importance include: reduction of carbon emissions; conservation of bird habitat; protection of bird prey bases and food supplies; and removal of threats, including invasive plant and animal species.

 

Pashley also said that in order to address the challenges identified in State of the Birds 2010,  partnerships will need to be strengthened to identify new or changing bird conservation needs and to carry out projects

to help species adapt.

 

"The birds that will be the hardest hit by climate change will be ocean and island birds, whose habitat and food base are most tied to both a climate-dependent ocean biology and sea level. Hawaiian birds in particular, are already in deep trouble and may be looking at even more difficult circumstances," Pashley said.

 

 "For land-based birds, the key will be in establishing, implementing, or enforcing land management policies that recognize the increasing threat that birds are facing," he said.

 

How lands are managed can help both mitigate global warming, and help birds adapt to changing climate and habitat conditions.  For example, conserving carbon-rich forests and wetlands, and creating incentives to avoid deforestation can keep already stored carbon from dissipating into the atmosphere, while also providing invaluable wildlife habitat. Market-based mechanisms that provide resources to conserve biodiversity and to store carbon should also be encouraged.

 

The report identified common bird species such as the American oystercatcher, common nighthawk, and northern pintail that are likely to become species of conservation concern as a result of climate change.

 

The State of the Birds 2010 report is a collaborative effort, as part of the U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative, involving federal and state wildlife agencies, and scientific and conservation organizations. Partners include American Bird Conservancy, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Klamath Bird Observatory, National Audubon Society, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Geological Survey.

 

The report is available at www.stateofthebirds.org.

 

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