Making our communities healthy for birds...and people

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Join Us for an Evening Discussing Cat Wars with Dr. Peter Marra
Join us for an evening with Dr. Peter Marra, Director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, world-renowned scientist and conservationist, and author of Cat Wars.

Dr. Marra will discuss the many threats that outdoor cats pose to human and wildlife populations while also sharing details of the difficult, short lives that these cats lead.

More details...

Great Wisconsin Birdathon
Do you like watching birds? How about supporting conservation? Did you know that you can do both at the same time? It’s true! All you have to do is sign up for the Great Wisconsin Birdathon.

How Does It Work?

Think of this as a walkathon with binoculars and a bird book. Participants will spend one day bird watching between April 15 and June 15. Read more ...

Bird City Wisconsin Tops the Century Mark

The number 101 is a frequent target when a writer is trying to compile an impressive list – surely it has not been long since you last saw “101 Ways to …”. 101 also describes a list that speaks volumes about the people of Wisconsin: it is the number of Bird City Wisconsin communities following the recognition Osceola (100) and Sturgeon Bay (101). Bird City welcomes...


Bird City Wisconsin Tops the Century Mark

Great Backyard Bird Count (February 17-20, 2017)

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.

Since then, more than 100,000 people of all ages and walks of life have joined the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.


  Bird City Summit a Smashing Success

This year's joint Bird City Wisconsin - Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative in Rothschild was a wonderful meeting. Over 150 people, representing at least 33 Bird City communities, enjoyed two days of excellent speakers and world-class art.

Please visit WBCI's site for a full recap and copies of many of the terrific presentations from the conference:
Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative Logo and Link
IMBD Packets

Bird City Wisconsin has printed a large quantity of our brochure as well as the ABC brochures on cats and preventing window strikes that we make available digitally. These brochures are available at a cost of $5 for 25 brochures (plus shipping). These brochure packets are great material to distribute at your IMBD events, or any event in your community, and they can also be put out for the public at a city, village, or town hall.

To order please visit our store

For electronic copies please see:
Bird City brochure
Cats brochure

Window strike brochure
Event Calendar
Our newly-redesigned and more informative event calendar is now available online. If you have an event that you would like us to promote for you please contact us at
The Urban Forest

Many municipal foresters, arborists, and landscape designers tend to perceive the urban forest as a landscape distinct from the natural landscape of the region, a kind of horticultural ‘free zone,’ where most anything goes and almost all trees are considered desirable.  Beyond the larger goal of adding to the urban canopy, the current practice of urban forestry measures ‘success’ by the standard that the tree selected tolerate the location in which its placed and if it adds an ornamental element to the landscape, all the better. A more objective alternative employs a comprehensive landscape view that considers functional, aesthetic, cultural, and ecological criteria.  


How to Begin Birding

Like birds, but don’t know how to make the leap to becoming a birder? Here are three easy steps to get you into the field. Click here to read more

TEDx Talk on Reducing Window Collisions

Joanna Eckles, good friend of Bird City Wisconsin and leader of Audubon Minnesota's new Bird City Minnesota program, recently gave a TEDx presentation on reducing window collisions. This threat to birds has been in the news as Audubon Minnesota helped lead a campaign to push the Minnesota Vikings to build their new stadium with bird-friendly glass and building techniques. Click logo below to view video

Welcome to Kaukauna, Milwaukee County, and West Bend

We would like to formally welcome Kaukauna, Milwaukee County, and West Bend to the Bird City Wisconsin program. With our April 1, 2015 announcement, Bird City has now recognized 91 communities for their contributions to avian conservation, education, and the well-being of their residents. Milwaukee County joins Bird City as a High Flyer, a community with truly exceptional achievements, and is the first community to be awarded this status following their initial application to the program. Welcome aboard, we look forward to working with each of you in the future! Publishes a Feature Story on Bird City Wisconsin 

Livability is one of the leading online resources used for researching communities. They publish monthly and annual lists of cities, defining the best places to live in America and serve as trusted partners to cities, businesses and economic development organizations nationally.

Read the article here

Bird City Communities in the News
The village of Ferryville continues to work hard to expand birding activities and to remain a birding destination for visitors from throughout the region. In the fall of 2013, Ferryville was named a Bird City Wisconsin, and still holds the distinction of being the “smallest Bird City” in the state.

Read the full story...

One of Bird City Wisconsin’s all-star High Flyer communities was recently featured in a story in the Cedarburg News Graphic. Please take a minute to read about the success Ozaukee County has had in protecting birds, creating a nicer place for people to live, and strengthening the local economy.

Read the full story...
Fall is a great time to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day
Many Bird City communities ask us when is the right time to celebrate IMBD. Birds fly both north and south so fall can work as well as spring. The Village of Shorewood (just north of Milwaukee) staged its IMBD event on Oct. 11.  Leeann Butschlick, director of Public Works, reported that the Fish & Feather Festival was a great success. To see more photos, go to

Kenosha and Kenosha County also staged a joint fall IMBD celebration; check out these pages:  and
Bird City Wisconsin names new director

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for the complete story
Ozaukee County of FOR the Birds

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to continue

Birders can help with Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer is becoming a national problem.

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

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



A research paper on the effects of EAB on the populations of 4 woodpeckers:    
Signs and Symptoms of Emerald Ash Borer showing typical flecking caused by woodpecker: 
Vermont has a page for woodpecker watchers with some nice photos of the damage:

 Ash tree identification document:
New Opportunity to Reduce Bird Collisions with Communications Towers by 70%

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

Click here to see a webinar presented by Dr. Joelle Gehring of the Federal Communications Commission:

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

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

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

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

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

Prevent birds from striking your windows

As many as one billion birds die each year by flying into window glass because they simply cannot see it. An amazing new product called BirdTape helps the birds to see the window while still allowing you to look out from the inside. The price for this tape ranges from $10.95 to $14.95 per roll; a small price to pay to save the lives of the birds in your neighborhood. You can find this life-saving tape through the American Bird Conservancy at 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 414 533-5398 Email Us