Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

City of Bayfield

Community Achievements

Habitat Creation, Protection, and Monitoring

A. Comply with Wisconsin's "Smart Growth" law for land use planning and resource management. This criterion is an option only for applications submitted before July 1, 2017.

The city of Bayfield has adopted a smart growth comprehensive plan for 2001 – 2021 and is in compliance with the Wisconsin Smart Growth laws.

B. Describe organized bird monitoring or data obtained from researchers or volunteers in the local park system. (Exclusions: Programs that receive credit under 4C: Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, Swift Night Out)

The local park system includes Dalrymple Park and campground, East dock park, and Big Ravine park with the Gil Larsen Nature Trail, all owned by the city. The Bayfield Regional conservancy manages trails on a 35-acre parcel on the edge of the Big Ravine and the Brownstone Trail that follows the old railroad right-of-way leading into Bayfield. The Bayfield Heritage Association manages the Fountain Garden Park at the south entrance to the city. The Bayfield Memorial Park along the city’s lakefront is managed by the Bayfield Civic League. These areas have been included as part of the WSO Christmas Bird Count for the entire Bayfield area for the past 52 years. Neil Howk was one of the observers monitoring these areas in the last six counts. Species that were noted on these counts in the city of Bayfield included: black-capped chickadees, American crows, pine siskins, goldfinches, blue jays, white-breasted nuthatches, red-breasted nuthatches, herring gulls, common goldeneyes, white-winged crossbills, house sparrows, mourning doves, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, bald eagles, dark eyed juncos, northern shrikes, starlings, bohemian waxwings, northern cardinals, and  a brown thrasher. The 2017 Christmas bird count for the Bayfield area included 20 species including (for the first time) a long-tailed duck. Over the 52 years the count has been done, at least 70 different species have been documented.

C. Provide evidence (e.g., official designation of natural areas, easements, etc.) that existing bird habitat within community limits has legal protection. (Exclusions: Leash laws; prohibitions against disturbing nests and wildlife; areas consisting primarily of mowed grass)

City ordinances mandate the protection of park property:

No person shall kill, injure or disturb or attempt to injure or disturb waterfowl, birds or animals, wild or domestic, within any park…No person shall climb any tree or remove flowers or fruit, wild or cultivated, or break, cut down, trample upon, remove or in any manner injure, deface, write upon or ill use any tree, shrub, flower, flower bed, turf, soil, sand, fountain, ornament, building, structure, apparatus, bench, table, official notice, sign or other property within any park.

G. Document that there is a segment of the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail or a designated Important Bird Area within or adjacent to your community.

The city of Bayfield contains the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Headquarters. This is site #11 on the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail. The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is also listed as one of Wisconsin’s Important Bird Areas.

H. Show that the local Chamber of Commerce or a similar group (e.g., an Audubon chapter, Wild Ones, etc.) takes an active role in the planning process for protecting and enlarging favorable bird habitat.

Bayfield prides itself on being an eco-municipality and one of the greenest communities in Wisconsin. The city and town of Bayfield have more Travel Green certified businesses than any other community in Wisconsin. The City’s website has a link to an article called “It’s Easy Being Green” that endorses green landscaping for historic properties:

Using native plants in your historic landscape design has benefits that go beyond complementing your building’s historic character, however. Local and regional plantings have evolved and adapted to local climate and conditions. They often perform much better with less water than plantings that have been transported from other locales. There is a term for this approach to landscape design, and it is called xeriscaping. It is the landscape equivalent of the philosophy of sustainable design for buildings. The idea is that in typical conditions the only water these plants should require, after propagation, is that which is supplied by rainfall, and that they are adapted well enough to their environment not to require chemical inputs. Using native plantings has the benefit of helping to maintain the genetic diversity against invasive species, and it also helps to maintain appropriate levels of birds and insects that have evolved in conjunction with the plants.

The website also features a link to an Earth Care publication that encourages city residents to install rain gardens, “These gardens, which are filled with native plants, also become attractive areas of landscaping in home yards, inviting birds, butterflies and other wild species.”

Community Forest Management

A. Demonstrate that your community has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Bayfield continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 2000.

Limiting or Removing Threats to Birds

A. Describe your community’s educational program to control free-roaming cats and/or the manner in which you actively publicize the Cats Indoors! initiative.

The city has an ordinance (126-6 C.) that restricts animals (dogs and cats) from running at large. Brochures to publicize the “Cats Indoors” program that helps educate the public about the problems associated with free roaming cats are available at the public library and city hall. A link to the American Bird Conservancy “Cats Indoors” program has been established on the City's Bird City page.

B. Demonstrate that your community provides property owners with information on how to protect birds from window strikes (e.g., online links, brochures).

The City provides a variety of web links to the following important websites relating to birds and window collisions on its Bird City page.

Public Education

B. Provide web links or a community newsletter demonstrating that your community educates property owners on methods to create and enhance backyard habitat for birds.

The city provides links on birds and backyard habitat on its Bird City page.

C. Demonstrate that your community is represented in at least one citizen science bird monitoring program (e.g., the Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, Swift Night Out).

The City of Bayfield has been represented in the Christmas Bird Count for 52 years. In 2017, 20 species were documented in the Bayfield area bird count. Over the 52 year history of the count, at least 70 different species have been identified.

D. Describe your community-sponsored annual bird festival. This must be a multi-day event or a truly exceptional one-day event.

Bayfield hosts several of the events included in the annual Chequamegon Bay Birding and Nature Festival. Bird hikes are held along the Brownstone Trail in the city, at the Bayfield Fish Hatchery just south of Bayfield, scientists present talks about birds at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore headquarters, and the Stockton Island cruise departs from the Bayfield city dock.

Energy & Sustainability

D. Document that your community has been recognized as a Green Tier Legacy Community.

The City of Bayfield has been recognized as a Green Tier Legacy Community since the pilot in 2010. The City of Bayfield, along with four other communities, was listed as one of the first Legacy Communities! There is a link on our Eco Municiplaity page 

E. Show that your community has implemented a sustainability plan that improves your community’s energy efficiency and/or increases the use of renewable energy. (Exclusions: Smart Growth comprehensive plans)

The City of Bayfield adopted  a Sustainability plan in July of 2012 which can be found on our Sustainability Page 

F. Demonstrate that your community participates in a community solar program or that a municipal building receives a significant percentage of its electricity from renewable energy.

The City of Bayfield has recently started working with SolSmart which is a national designation program designed to recognize communities that have taken key steps to address local barriers to solar energy and foster the growth of mature local solar markets. In December 2017 the City of Bayfield was awarded a Bronze status designation and is striving to work towards Silver and eventually Gold. A map of the communities can be found on the SolSmart website 

International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)

A. This community's municipal body passed the required International Migratory Bird Day resolution.

B. Document and describe your event that incorporates the annual IMBD theme in some fashion. If the event has not yet occurred, please share your detailed plans. For information on the current year’s theme and event materials, please visit the International Migratory Bird Day website. To see what other Bird City communities have done in the past, please view some other profiles on our website.

The City of Bayfield celebrated International Migratory Bird Day in May 2017 with two bird walks along the Brownstone Trail that follows the old railroad right-of–way leading into Bayfield. The walks were conducted on May 13 and 19, the latter as part of the eleventh annual Chequamegon Bay Birding and Nature Festival. More than 20 participants identified species of spring migrants using habitat along the trail. The event will be celebrated in 2018 with similar bird walks guided by members of the Chequamegon Audubon Society along the Brownstone Trail that follows the old railroad right-of-way leading into Bayfield and at the Bayfield Fish Hatchery. The walks are part of activities sponsored by Core Community Resources Lifelong Learning Program and the Chequamegon Bay Birding and Nature Festival.  Participants will watch and listen for birds in those areas, documenting the various species present on that day.

Photo Gallery

Community Details

Joined Bird City: 2012

Population: 530

Incorporated: 1913

Area: 0.87 mi2

Community Website

Community Bird City Page

Community Map