Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Village of Ferryville

Village of Ferryville

Habitat Creation, Protection, and Monitoring

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)

Martin Murphy, a local resident of Ferryville, has compiled a list of the birds that frequent and who nest in the area. Martin has extensive expertise in birding and has a master’s degree in natural sciences. He has conducted research in warblers and has worked tirelessly in updating this database for the birds of the Ferryville area. He used personal data as well as that from members of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, backyard bird counts, and Village of Ferryville residents. This list, finalized in the summer of 2013, is enclosed with this application. Martin has also been monitoring the blue bird success on Eagle Mountain, and has been compiling that information as well.

Ferryville has a village park maintained by the Village of Ferryville, and also a wildlife area managed by the Mississippi Valley Conservancy. The park is Sugar Creek Park, and the MVC property is the Sugar Creek Bluff State Natural Area. In the summer of 2015, the MVC added 144 acres to this bluffland natural area. The access to the addition has still not been finalized, but the original area is open daily for hiking and birding opportunities. The trail is maintained during the summer, and it is available in the winter for cross country skiing and snow shoeing. One of the species that has been observed on this property during the past three spring migration day hikes has been the Cerulean warbler. Rush Creek Natural Area is just north of Ferryville and is managed by the Wisconsin DNR.  Bird lists have been kept for each birding hike.

E. Describe your community’s ordinance demonstrating that your community does not restrict natural/native landscaping that emphasizes native plants and non-turf lawns.

The community has an ordinance that allows for residents to submit a plan for maintaining natural areas within the boundaries of their property. This ordinance is included in this application.

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 Village of Ferryville is included within the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge as part of Pool #9. The area also is listed as an Important Birding Area and is part of the Audubon Society’s Great River Birding Trail. The Rush Creek State Natural Area is located a short distance to the north of Ferryville and is included in the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail guide. This area is a mix of dry prairie and oak forest that is frequented by many songbirds during migration. The Kentucky Warbler is a signature species in the area. Bald Eagles are also frequently found nesting in and around Ferryville. During the 2017 Bald Eagle survey on Pool #9, more bald eagle nests were observed than any other place in the lower 48 states.

Community Forest Management

F. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

As a village, Ferryville does not have a forest management plan. However, parts of Ferryville are covered by other forest management plans. The Eagle Mountain area consists of 600 acres that are covered by written covenants that do not allow commercial logging. An additional 241 acres is part of the Sugar Creek Bluff State Natural Area, and it is also covered and protected by the existing management of the Mississippi Valley Conservancy. 144 more acres were added to this in the summer of 2015.

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 Ferryville Tourism Council’s website includes a special birding section that features links to birding sites, ways to improve one’s landscaping to attract birds, how to prevent window strikes, and how to keep house cats from eating songbirds. It also has a link to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife bird mortality fact sheet that provides citizens with information about the hazards birds face.

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

The Ferryville Tourism Council’s website includes a special birding section that features links to birding sites, ways to improve one’s landscaping to attract birds, how to prevent window strikes, and how to keep house cats from eating songbirds. It also has a link to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife bird mortality fact sheet that provides citizens with information about the hazards birds face.

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 Ferryville Tourism Council website also has links to participating in the Christmas Bird Count and the Great Backyard Bird Count. It also provides information and links to help residents improve their backyards and also become involved in yearly citizen science programs such as the Great Backyard Bird Count and the Christmas Bird Count.

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

The Ferryville Tourism Council sponsors Bald Eagle Day, the first Saturday in March. In 2018 the event is set for March 3. The village has 176 residents and the Bald Eagle Days in previous years have had nearly 400 people attending. It is a family event and has programs that include live birds from the Raptor Center in St. Paul, Minn. The Friends of Pool 9 provides exhibits and co-sponsors the activities that day with financial support. The Fish and Wildlife Service provides a display and speakers. The Decorah Eagle Cam project team is also presenting for the second year. There is a judged student art exhibit for students from surrounding schools. The theme of their art is bald eagles. There are children’s crafts using bald eagle and owl themes. A life-sized bald eagle nest is also constructed by the children. Children learn a great deal from participating in this annual event. A team of 6-8 women work an entire day to get cake pops and special cookies decorated as bald eagles and owls.

 An additional program celebrating our Bird City status is our annual Fall Migration Day. On the first Saturday in November, we sponsor a viewing time at our riverside observation area at River View Park right in downtown Ferryville along Highway 35. This past year was our fourth year. We have invited Dan Jackson, past president of the Coulee Region Audubon group in LaCrosse to be our expert birder. He and 4 others set up their spotting scopes for viewing the migrating waterfowl. Species that have been observed are bald eagles, tundra swans, white pelicans, loons, a wide variety of ducks including thousands of canvas backs, and great blue herons. 37 people from 4 states attended this past year. We have birding materials available for handouts including how to locate nearby eagle's nest and directions to Brownsville, MN to see the migrating swans.

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.

Ferryville’s 2017 IMBD event was the Spring Migration Day Hike at Sugar Creek Bluff Natural Area May13, 2017. 28 eager birders including 3 children joined three expert guides for a Spring Migration Day hike at the Mississippi Valley Conservancy’s Sugar Creek Bluff Natural Area in Ferryville. This annual event is part of the MVC’s Linked to the Land series with Mayo Health Systems providing information and is co-hosted by the Ferryville Tourism Council. The FTC’s signature early morning treats of coffee and breads greeted the visitors from communities in SW Wisconsin, northeast Iowa, and SE Minnesota. Handouts including flyers about additional birding areas to explore were available.

Thirty six species were recorded including  Baltimore Oriole, Scarlet Tanager, Blue gray gnatcatcher, Yellow throated and red eyed vireos, Ovenbird, American Redstart, and Blue-winged, Tennessee, Yellow-rumped, and Common Yellow-throat Warblers.

“One of the requirements for being a Bird City is to have an organized activity celebrating International Spring Migration Day,” Joanne White said. “Having MVC co-sponsor this activity for Ferryville Tourism Council is a huge boost to our tiny village! We are deeply appreciative of their interest and support! We will be renewing our Bird City recognition during January, and are so thankful for the new visitors that are coming to Ferryville for birding because of these hikes.”

This partnership with the Mississippi Valley Conservancy has continued to grow and strengthen. The Linked to the Land series for 2018 includes the Spring Migration Day hike on May 12. This will again be on the Sugar Creek Bluff Natural Area property.

Anyone interested in more information about birding activities in the Ferryville area or in donating to the cause can look on Ferryville’s Facebook page, check their website, or contact Joanne White at (608) 734-9018 or call Sherry Quamme at (608) 734-9077.

Joined Bird City: 2013

Population: 182

Incorporated: 1912

Area: 1.99 mi2

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