Welcome To Bird City Wisconsin

"Making our communities healthy for birds...and people"
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Calling All Bird Cities
Grosbeak's Galore: Birds On Your Landscape
Top 10 Ways to Help Spring's Migrating Birds
Bird City Summit Draws a Big Flock
6 New ‘Bird Cities’ Bring Wisconsin’s Total to 81
The Great Wisconsin Oriole Count
Outdoors TV show focuses on a Bird City
Prevent birds from striking your windows
Outdoor Cats:Single Greatest Source
Bird City Summit Draws a Big Flock

Bird City Summit Draws a Big Flock

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

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

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

Featured talks included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calling All Bird Cities! Your Team Can Profit in 2014 Great Wisconsin Birdathon
A number of our Bird City Wisconsin communities already have announced that they are again joining forces with the Great Wisconsin Birdathon to take advantage of an easy-to-use online tool for raising money and attracting attention and volunteers .

Last year, the birdathon returned some $2,240 to local Bird City teams to support their conservation activities and International Migratory Bird Day celebrations. And the process is easy: recruit two or more bird watchers to be your Birdathon Team, set up a team page at the Great Wisconsin Birdathon website, direct people in your community to make pledges or donations through your team page, have your team do their Birdathon during any 24-hour period in May, and post the results of their Big Day on your team page.

The Great Wisconsin Birdathon will handle all transactions and communications with your donors, and will send you a check for half of your proceeds in July. The other half of your proceeds will support eight statewide bird conservation programs through the Bird Protection Fund. You will receive contact information for your team’s supporters, for future communications about your Bird City activities.

Madison Audubon is a great example of a group that changed from a traditional offline birdathon to the online Great Wisconsin Birdathon and doubled their donations, increasing their revenue for their own organization AND increasing revenue for statewide bird conservation.
For more information and everything you need to conduct a Birdathon and solicit pledges, go to www.wibirdathon.org , click on the Join as Bird City button, and view the contents of the Participant Kit.

Do not miss this opportunity! The Great Wisconsin Birdathon is a fun and easy way to support projects and promote the Bird City cause in your community.
6 New ‘Bird Cities’ Bring Wisconsin’s Total to 81
Bird City Wisconsin coordinator Carl Schwartz spoke to the Green Rock Audubon Society and presented Janesville Ald. Jim Farrell with a plaque and flag and road signs recognizing Janesville as one of three new Bird City communities.
Kenosha County Joins the Villages of Howard and Brown Deer, along with the Cities of Port Washington, Darlington and Green Lake

Bayside, Wis. – In a further demonstration that the people of Wisconsin are paying serious attention to the well-being of their feathered friends, a county, two villages and three cities have gained recognition from Bird City Wisconsin. All six have been saluted for their long-term commitment to working with residents to make their neighborhoods a better place for people, birds and other wildlife.

The six span the state and bring the ranks of Bird City Wisconsin communities to 81 and include Kenosha County – the fifth county recognized by Bird City -- the villages of Howard and Brown Deer and the cities of Port Washington, Darlington and Green Lake.

Brown Deer becomes the eighth Milwaukee County community recognized as a Bird City. Milwaukee and Madison are the state’s two largest Bird Cities, whose ranks also include some of the state’s smallest villages and towns.

Click here to read the full news release

The Great Wisconsin Oriole Count

Dear Wisconsin educator, youth leader, naturalist, or home school teacher:

Proudly presenting a new, easy activity that engages children in attracting, counting, and learning about one of Wisconsin’s most flamboyant birds – the Baltimore oriole.

The Great Wisconsin Oriole Count entails setting up an oriole feeder using oranges and grape jelly, spending parts of two consecutive days in May observing orioles at the feeder, and reporting the highest number of orioles seen at the feeder at any one time.  That’s it.

Kids can learn about a lot of topics by studying orioles – flight, geography, migration, animal behavior, adaptations, you name it!  Oriole Count educational materials will get them started.

You have the option to use the Oriole Count to raise money for Wisconsin’s Bird Protection Fund to support conservation work in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, where many of Wisconsin’s orioles spend the winter. 

Click here to see our Oriole Count flyer for more information.

If your school or group registers to participate by April 1, you will win a free oriole feeder for your school or group, donated by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and Mequon’s Wild Birds Unlimited.

Two teams will win a birdwatchers bonanza worth $1,100 each: five pairs of binoculars, a spotting scope, and a tripod -- donated by Eagle Optics. One prize will go to the school/group that raises the most money and a second winner will be selected in a drawing from all participating teams.

To sign up, go to http://www.wibirdathon.org/
and click on Oriole Count. 

Questions?  Contact Birdathon coordinator Alyson Douglas at info@wibirdathon.org.
Top 10 Ways to Help Spring's Migrating Birds
IMBD Art Click to enlarge
Click poster above to see International Migratory Bird Day events for 2014

Top 10 Ways to Help Spring's Migrating Birds
Help during Migration and Breeding Periods Crucial to 200+ Declining Bird Species

Although spring means new life and hope to many people, billions of birds face the tribulations of a perilous migration followed shortly by breeding and the production of scores of newborn birds that will spend several highly vulnerable weeks as they grow and fledge.

According to Dr. George Fenwick, President of the American Bird Conservancy, “Spring is a deadly time for birds for three big reasons. Scientists estimate that 300 million to one billion birds die each year from collisions with buildings, many during arduous migrations in unfamiliar environments. Up to 50 million die from encounters with communication towers and up to six million may die each day from attacks by cats left outdoors. These deaths occur year-round, but many occur during spring and fall migration.”

See http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/140320.html for the Top 10 list.
Outdoors TV show focuses on a Bird City
Bird City Wisconsin was the focus of a Sept. 7 segment on “Northland Adventures,” a widely syndicated TV show that tells “unique stories about the people, places and issues of our great outdoors.”  The 7-minute segment explains the goals of the program by focusing on how Stevens Point became a Bird City.

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

And to read more of the powerful story behind Bird City Wisconsin, go to the June issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.
"Grosbeak's Galore: Birds On Your Landscape"

 Saturday, May 31, 2014. 

 Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

 Ashland, Wis.

 For more information, and registration, visit:


Every spring and fall, tens of millions of migrating birds sweep through the Great Lakes region and stop at a variety of sites on their way to breeding grounds. These stopover sites provide birds with critical food and shelter during migration. Loss of stopover habitats poses an ongoing threat to the health and stability of migratory bird populations.

To help address this threat, the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative is offering a one-day workshop called Grosbeaks Galore:  Birds On Your Landscape on Saturday, May 31, 2014 at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, Wis. Fee is only $20, and includes lunch and snacks, a list of excellent speakers, both indoor and outdoor activities, and door prizes.

Prevent birds from striking your windows

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

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

Cat with American Coot by Debbie Shearwater

Cat with American Coot - Photo by Debi Shearwater

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

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

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

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

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