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 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. Martin has also been monitoring the blue bird success on Eagle Mountain, and has been compiling that information as well. Martin has moved from the area, but his extensive bird list is available and is  still being used and shared.

Ferryville has a village park maintained by the Village of Ferryville, and also a wildlife area managed by the Mississippi Valley Conservancy (MVC). 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 bluff land 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. Christmas and Great Backyard birding lists and observations continue to be shared on e-bird by individuals.


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 plan is maintained and utilized.  Prairie meadows within the village are allowed to be undesturbed throughout the growing season until Oct. 15.  Polinator gardens have been established by many individual households.  A Chautauqua program was held in Ferryville in August, 2022 to educate the community about native prairie plantings and was attended by 42 people.


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 2022 Bald Eagle survey on Pool #9, more bald eagle nests were observed than any other place in the lower 48 states.  This included those along the Iowa side of the Mississippi River. Ferryville Tourism has worked with an environmental specialist to produce and distribute a book of hiking/birding trails in our immediate area.  Over 350 have been distributed so far.

T. Document that your community maintains a birding trail or hot spot location with educational signage and/or literature. (Note: A birding hotspot alone is not sufficient - your community must actively promote birding and public education at the site itself.)

A double-sided bulletin board is redone each spring in Sugar Creek Park in Ferryville. This includes birding information for trails at Sugar Creek Bluff Natural Area, bird lists of birds that are in the area, and important birding information for visitors.  A fund-raising effort has been underway for the past three years to purchase new playground equipment for this park. This addition, was installed in the summer of 2020, and it has already greatly increased the number of visitors stopping at this park, and they will have access to the extensive birding information on this board. In addition to information about speciers of birds that are present in the area, hiking information is also on this board.  This is updated on a regular basis.  Our Facebook page also includes birding information especially about the tundra swan migration in the fall.

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 threats to birds page that provides citizens with information about the hazards birds face.  This website was recently redone and updated.  


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 threats to birds page that provides citizens with information about the hazards birds face.  A brand new updated website has been professionally developed and went live in late 2020. We have also had some birding informational materials available at each of our planned hikes and through our Facebook 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 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 become involved in yearly citizen science programs such as the Great Backyard Bird Count and the Christmas Bird Count. A Chautauqua evening program in August was held with 42 people attending.  It was on prairie plantings that attrack and support birds and pollinators.  Interest was very strong for this project, and more are planned.


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 an annual Bald Eagle Day on the first Saturday of March. This annual event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Pool 9.  Events for the day include educational live bird programs provided by the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, bald eagle nest building, bird feeder building stations, crafts, and programs provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Decorah Raptor Project.   The Village of Ferryville has 180 residents. Bald Eagle Day 2020 had a record number of attendees at over 500! We attribute part of this increase to a beautiful full color article that came out just days before our event in the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative's magazine.  People from 76 communities in Wis. and 3 in each of Iowa and Minnesota attended.  Over 50 children made bird feeders and crafts.  The Raptor Research Project (the Decorah Eagle Cam) did an excellent program. A team of 5 students and their advisor from the biology club of De Soto High School helped all day.  Friends of Pool 9 volunteers were also present all day sharing how this organization helps maintain birding habitat on the Mississippi River. Sadly due to ongoing affects of the pandemic, the 2021and 2022 events have had to be cancelled. The 2023 is being planned for March 4.  All of the above programs and helpers will be included.

 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 tenth year. We have invited Dan Jackson, past president of the Coulee Region Audubon group in LaCrosse to be our expert birder. He and 2 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 last 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.  This is coordinated with the Lansing, Iowa birding festival that happens on the same day.  


World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)

A. This community's municipal body passed the required World 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 World 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 World Spring Migration Day hike was held at Sugar Creek Bluff State Natural Area on May 7, 2022.  It was co-sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Conservancy as part of their Linked to the Land series.  We had 41 hikers and 5 guides so each group could be 8 adults and a guide.  43 species of birds including many warblers were observed.  For many of the participants, it was their first time on this property which is managed by the MVC. The enthusiam of the participants was so wonderful as some saw warblers they had never seen.  Our tiny village of Ferryville could not do this program without the support of the MVC and their network of birding experts.

Joined Bird City: 2013

Population: 182

Incorporated: 1912

Area: 1.99 mi2

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