Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Village of Hales Corners

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 village of Hales Corners has been in compliance with Wisconsin’s “Smart Growth” law for land use planning and resource management for numerous years.

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

Hales Corners does not restrict landscaping with native plants. Hales Corners utilizes various natural landscapes within the village. The Ben Hunt Prairie is located nearby the Hales Corners Library and the Stahl-Conrad Homestead Local Historical Landmark has prairie, oak savanna and woodland gardens. Rain gardens using native plants have been installed at the Hales Corners Fire Station and Edgerton Elementary School. In addition, numerous private yards utilize natural landscaping. The Environmental Committee has an annual “Garden Initiative” program which gives awards to front yard gardens. One of the criteria used in judging is the use of native plants and the attractiveness to birds and other wildlife.

F. Show that your community offers the public information on how they can control and remove invasive species in order to improve or maintain bird habitat.

The Hales Corners Environmental Committee (HCEC) website provides links to the Midwest Invasive Plant Network and the Wisconsin DNR. The Village Hall and Library have posters and brochures about invasive species like Buckthorn, Garlic Mustard, Gypsy Moth and Emerald Ash Borer. The village newsletter carries periodic articles reminding residents to remove invasive species.

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.

The Wisconsin Metro Audubon Society has undertaken a project at the Stahl-Conrad Homestead, a local historical site that is open to the public.  Planning for the project is under the direction of William Holton who has been working with the Milwaukee Southwest Wehr Chapter of the Wild Ones to get advice on native plants for the area.

I. Document a recent project that created or restored bird habitat in your community. (Exclusions: Bird feeders and small-scale artificial nesting structures)

The project at the Stahl-Conrad Homestead involved clearing the area of invasive species (buckthorn, gartlic mustard, etc.) and the planting of a chinkapin oak tree with native forbs and grasses in the understory.  The project is ongoing and the plan is to expand the area as funds and help allow.  

O. Document a program to support the establishment of natural lawns and native landscaping, possibly including public presentations of Audubon’s Plants for Birds Initiative (contact them for a presentation kit).

This program began in 2017 with a public showing of "Hometown Habitat, Stories of Bringing Nature Home" at the Hales Corners Library on June 21, 2017.  It was sponsored by the Hales Corners Environmental Committee and the Stahl-Conrad Homestead.

Community Forest Management

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

The Village of Hales Corners has been a participant in the Arbor Foundation’s “Tree City USA” program for 17 years and continues their participation in the program yearly.

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.

A member of the Hales Corners Environmental Committee, Karen Niessing, had a letter published urging people to keep their cats indoors.  It appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on May 3, 2017.  The HCEC site also invites people to learn the reasons why cats should remain indoors and takes them to the American Bird Conservancy's "Cats Indoors!" program and information protecting birds from window-strikes, which spell out the same advice promoted by Bird City:

There is no question that birds are better off when cats stay indoors. Exact numbers are unknown, but scientists estimate that every year in the United States alone, cats kill hundreds of millions of birds, and more than a billion small mammals, including rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. Feline predators include both domestic cats that spend time outdoors and stray cats that live in the wild, sometimes as part of colony.

Outdoor cats themselves are also at increased risk. They can get hit by cars; attacked by dogs, other cats, or wildlife; contract fatal diseases, such as rabies, feline distemper, or feline immunodeficiency virus; get lost, stolen, or poisoned; or suffer during severe weather conditions. Outdoor cats lead considerably shorter lives on average than cats kept exclusively indoors.

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

The HCEC site also invites people to learn the reasons why cats should remain indoors and takes them to the American Bird Conservancy's "Cats Indoors!" program and information protecting birds from window-strikes, which spell out the same advice promoted by Bird City:

There is no question that birds are better off when cats stay indoors. Exact numbers are unknown, but scientists estimate that every year in the United States alone, cats kill hundreds of millions of birds, and more than a billion small mammals, including rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. Feline predators include both domestic cats that spend time outdoors and stray cats that live in the wild, sometimes as part of colony.

Outdoor cats themselves are also at increased risk. They can get hit by cars; attacked by dogs, other cats, or wildlife; contract fatal diseases, such as rabies, feline distemper, or feline immunodeficiency virus; get lost, stolen, or poisoned; or suffer during severe weather conditions. Outdoor cats lead considerably shorter lives on average than cats kept exclusively indoors.

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 HCEC website provides excellent links to several top notch sources of information, starting with the Audubon at Home's pages on "Birds to Help in Urban Areas." That site provides this counsel:

Urban areas dominated by buildings and pavement usually provide habitat for birds that use buildings for nesting sites or are attracted to scraps of food discarded by humans—especially Rock Pigeons, European Starlings and House Sparrows introduced from Europe. You can provide habitat for native birds in urban areas by planting native trees and bushes wherever possible, including as foundation plantings or even as rooftop gardens. In many urban areas, the goal is to create additional habitat by planting trees or bushes to attract common native birds found in local suburban yards.

It goes on to offer advice on helping some of the same species Bird City Wisconsin is focusing on, such as Purple Martin, Chimney Swift and Common Nighthawk. Further information about Purple Martins has been added to the website and also has appeared in The Hales Corners Village News.

The HCEC site also provides a link to residents for "Beyond the Birdfeeder: Creating a Bird-Friendly Yard with Native Wisconsin Plants,” which Mariette Nowak prepared for the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.

F. Demonstrate that your community understands the critical ecological role of pollinators by documenting your Bee City USA status or by describing another substantial effort to promote pollinator health (for ideas visit the Xerxes Society and the Pollinator Partnership).

Hales Corners was recognized as a Bee City on September 3, 2015.  It was the first Wisconsin Community to receive this recognition and the 14th in the nation.  The status is documented on the Bee City website, www.beecityusa.org.  In addition, our Village President signed the National Wildlife Federation's Mayors' Monarch Pledge in April, 2016 and Hales Corners became a Monarch City in September, 2017.

M. Show that your community participates in the Natural Resources Foundation’s Great Wisconsin Birdathon to raise money for your community and for statewide conservation.

Members of the Hales Corners Environmental Committee have participated in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon every year since 2014.  In 2017 we documented 43 species and raised $471.00 of which $235.50 came back to us for our bird-related activites.

N. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

The committee maintains a webpage on Purple Martin conservation along with links to educational materials. The HCEC also had a booth at the 12th annual National Night Out on Aug. 1, 2017, where information about various bird topics was available. Children were able to make window clings to prevent bird strikes and bird feeders using toilet paper rolls, pine cones, peanut butter and bird seed.

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.

International Migratory Bird Day was celebrated with an event at the Hales Corners Library on Saturday, May 13, 2017.  Visitors were able to learn about bird-related topics and take home an orange to feed the orioles.  There were crafts for the children, including making bird feeders using pine cones, toilet paper rolls, peanut butter and bird seed.  There were also bird walks around the Ben Hunt Cabin during which participants were able to view and identify spring migrants.   A similar event is planned for 2018.

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Community Details

Joined Bird City: 2010

Population: 7,692

Incorporated: 1952

Area: 3.22 mi2

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