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:
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
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-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:
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 email@example.com
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.
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:
LakeGeneva 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.
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
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.
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
•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!
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
Here is an excellent monitoring activity for a Bird City community
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.
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
Noel Cutright, founder of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory in Belgium, Wis., offers this followup 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.
TheJune issue of the Eastern Wisconsin Purple Martin Association newsletter is available by clicking here.
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
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 practisedenvironmental 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
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
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.
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 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.
Spring bird migration has started. In the next
few weeks, millions, perhaps billions, of birds will be moving north
along migratory corridors.
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.
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 twocounties 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.
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.
Here's someresearch 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
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
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
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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
association officers are:
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.
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 tohttp://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/111031.html
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:
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 onthe 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
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 (email@example.com) and have him add you to his contact list.
What's happening to birds we know and love?
Audubon's unprecedented analysis of forty years of citizen-science bird population data from our ownChristmas 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
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."
Here are some great examples of the kinds of things that can happen in a Bird City Wisconsin:
Muskego conservation coordinator Tom Zagar reports:
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….
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
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.
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
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):
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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
The Wisconsin Humane Society is still giving away free WindowAlertstatic anti-bird-collision decals. The current offer can be seen at:
Get up to 10 FREE 4-packs of WindowAlerts for just $2.50 per packshipping 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. Butthanks 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'. :)
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.
The Downtown Neighborhood Association in Green Bay
has unanimously passed a resolution recognizing International Migratory
Bird Day in that community.
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.
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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