Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Kenosha County

Kenosha County

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.

Kenosha County has prepared and approved a county-wide comprehensive plan that follows the guidelines listed by Wisconsin’s “Smart Growth” law concerning land use planning and natural resources. The multi-jurisdictional plan was approved in April of 2010 and is in effect until 2035. Kenosha County’s full plan is available online.

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)

There are many bird monitoring projects that are conducted throughout Kenosha County. Most notably are the grassland bird surveys (two per year), marsh monitoring (two per year), Black Tern survey, Crane count (two per year), Upland Sandpiper survey, and breeding bird surveys that they participate in annually. Bong Recreation Area has an extensive cavity-nesting songbird monitoring program with 75 boxes and the Hoy Audubon monitors several birding trails. In addition, there is also the Bluebird box, Purple Martin box, Wood Duck box, and Kestrel box monitoring conducted throughout the County.

2019 Kenosha County Parks fledge counts:

    • Petrifying Springs Park: 14 Tree Swallows & 49 Bluebirds
    • Brighton Dale Park: 9 Tree Swallows & 12 Bluebirds
    • Bristol Woods Park: 9 Tree Swallows & 13 Bluebirds 

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)

Chapter 10, Section (5) of the Kenosha County Park Ordinances document states:

No person shall hunt, hunt, trap, injure, molest, or disturb any bird or other animal or disturb the nest or young of any bird or other animal, except the taking of any bird or animal which causing property damage or injuries to persons may be permitted by a written permit. The Park Manager/Director has the authority to allow hunting or trapping in designated park areas to a very limited number of winners of an annual lottery. Those chosen by lottery must strictly follow the rules given them at the time their permit is granted as well as all applicable State laws and rules.

D. Document that current municipal planning seeks to provide additional bird habitat.

In 2019, the We-Energies Foundation funded a reforestation project in Fox River Park. The grant funded the purchase of 30 trees of a variety of species that will attract birds in Kenosha County. These species include Red Sunset Maple, Kentucky Coffeetree, Skyline Locust, Hackberry, Autumn Blaze Maple, Triumph Elm, Norway Spruce, Black Hills Spruce, and Autumn Gold Ginkgo. 

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.

Pringle Nature Center, located in Bristol Woods County Park, hosts invasive species workdays on the fourth Saturday of the month from April to November. Volunteers learn to identify what are invasive plants, why they are invasive, and help by removing the invasive plants. Pringle is also a partner location for the Mighty Acorns program where school children in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades visit an adopted site three times a year to do stewardship activities which include removal of Buckthorn, and other woody invasive species, during the winter visit and pulling Garlic Mustard during the spring visit. The Mighty Acorns program includes pre- and post-visit lesson plans for the teachers to do in the classroom as well as an on-site lesson plan to go with the stewardship activity.

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.

Kenosha County boasts five areas listed in the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail-Lake Michigan Guide. Those areas are the Bristol Woods County Park/Pringle Nature Center, Bong State Recreation Area, Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area, New Munster State Wildlife Area, and Petrified Springs County Park/Hawthorn Hollow Arboretum. These areas include nearly all types of bird habitat found in Wisconsin; signature state species can be found in woodlands, prairie, grasslands, shorelands, rivers, and marshes among others. Many different species can be seen during the spring and fall migration seasons.

Community Forest Management

F. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

Kenosha County Tree & Shrub Program has been offered for 30 years and has sold nearly one million trees. The purpose of the program is to encourage area residents to plant native trees and shrubs for the purpose of conservation and wildlife enhancement. The program offers a variety of Pines, hardwoods, and shrubs. This sale is open to the interested public in their area. Trees and shrubs are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and picked up by the customer. Interested people are placed on a list to receive their tree order form in the fall of the year. Tree pickup day is typically in mid-to-late-April the following spring. The number and species of trees and shrubs is dependent upon availability, weather conditions, past sales success, tree performance and general demand trends. By March of 2014, they already had orders for 20,000 trees and were still receiving more. The selection of trees and shrubs include packages that are specifically for backyard wildlife and bird habitat.

The Parks Division and Pringle Nature Center has been the recipient of 600 Burr, Northern Red, White Oak and Swamp White Oak trees a year through the Million Trees Giveaway by the Living Lands and Waters Program. Pringle hands out the oak saplings at the Gateway Earth Day Fair for the past four years. For eight years they have been under planting their park hardwood forests and lining these trees out in a nursery for future transplanting. In addition to these trees, they typically purchase 300 native trees a year to plant in their parks. A local nursery also donates about 150 left over trees at the end of the season for the parks.

Kenosha County just finished an Emerald Ash Borer inventory and management plan. Ash trees in natural areas that succumb to the borer will be left for birds and other mammals for food and shelter. We have not let the public take Ash firewood for 4 years to insure it wasn’t moved out of the quarantined area. Trees that will need to be removed in lawn areas and other spots that would endanger the public will be let out to the public with the stipulation that it will not be moved outside of the quarantine area.

The University of Wisconsin Extension Program has annual horticulture short courses that have included EAB and many other tree and shrub planting, pruning and disease prevention and diagnostic subjects.

In December 2019, a reforestation project in Kenosha County’s Fox River Park was made possible by a donation from the We Energies Foundation and Paul Swartz Nursery. Both entities contributed $2,500 to the project, which will replace some of the trees lost due to the emerald ash borer epidemic. Kenosha County also matched an additional $2,500, allowing for the planting of 30 trees. Care was taken to plant an array of tree species, including maple, locust, elm and spruce. This diversity, part of all of Kenosha County’s recent reforestation efforts, is planned with an eye toward minimizing losses of trees in the event of a future infestation of something like the ash borer.

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 Pringle Nature Center demonstrates how to minimize bird strikes at the center. They also include keeping cats inside as part of their program.

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

The Pringle Nature Center demonstrates how to minimize bird strikes at the center. They also include keeping cats inside as part of their program.

Public Education

A. Demonstrate that schools in your community participate in a nationally-recognized environmental education program (e.g., Flying WILD, Audubon Adventures) or that your community organizes its own substantial education and outreach program for young people. 

Pringle Nature Center does have the Flying Wild curriculum and uses lessons from it for the third grade Birds school program as well as portions of Boy Scout badge requirements.

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.

Kenosha County UW-Extension regularly provides educational programs on creation and protection of habitat; landscaping for birds, insects and other wildlife; managing invasive plants; and sustainable landscape practices. Educational demonstrations open to the public include Kenosha County Center demonstration gardens, which are a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat, and restored rain garden at Somers Town Hall. In February 2015 landscape professionals learned about “managing habitat to benefit wildlife living in urbanized areas” and “sustainable landscape design.” Spring into Gardening, which is a day-long seminar for hobby gardeners, recently featured programs on “native trees and shrubs for southeastern Wisconsin” and “Native pollinators.”

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 naturalist at the Pringle Nature Center is the compiler for Kenosha County in the Christmas Bird Count where she assigns areas for birders to do the count as well as uploads the collected data to the Christmas Bird Count website. Pringle also partners with Hoy Audubon to hold a workshop the weekend before the Great Backyard Bird Count where the participants learn basic bird identification, how to participate in the count, and build a feeder for their yard.

In addition, the County offers many public programs including: the Owl Prowl, spring bird hikes (March-May), Bird Fest, Duck identification, Halloween Hike, Bird Art, Warbler identification, birding by ear, beginning birding, bird feeding, Bluebird information and annual counts, Search for Short-eared Owls, and bird seed wreaths.

Furthermore, the County conducts many surveys and monitoring programs including: grassland bird surveys, marsh monitoring, Black Tern survey, Upland Sandpiper survey, Crane count, breeding bird survey, Bluebird box monitoring, Purple Martin box monitoring, Wood Duck box monitoring, and Kestrel box monitoring.

In 2016, Eagle Scout Andrew Romanowski created a chimney swift tower at the Pringle Nature Preserve.

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 County of Kenosha celebrated IMBD at the Fall Fun Fest: Restore Habitat, Restore Birds held at the Pringle Nature Center on September 21st, 2019 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. The event included a falconer, butterfly tagging, hayrides, bird crafts & more.

Press Release: “Fall Fun Fest: Birds & Butterflies - A Celebration of International Migratory Bird Day: Restore Habitat, Restore Birds”

 “Fall Fun Fest: Birds & Butterflies - Spread Your Wings for Bird Conservation, A Celebration of International Migratory Bird Day”

BRISTOL, WI -- Live birds of prey will be one of the attractions at an annual fall/bird event at the Pringle Nature Center in Bristol on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016.

The public is invited. Admission is free, but some activities have fees.

Hoy Audubon of Kenosha and Racine Counties, the city and county of Kenosha, and Pringle organized the festival, which is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Bristol Woods County Park, 9800 160th Ave., Highway MB. The center is in the park.

The gathering is titled "Fall Fun Fest: Birds & Butterflies/Spread Your Wings for Bird Conservation, a celebration of International Migratory Bird Day." It is a combination of IMBD and the center's annual Fall Fun Fest. The city and county arranged the IMBD as part of their responsibilities as being named a Bird City Wisconsin. The city of Kenosha became a Bird City Wisconsin in 2012. Kenosha County became a BCW in 2014.

The Fall Fun Fest is one of two events raising money for equipment and supplies for the environmental education program at the center. The program includes hands-on learning activities for students on school field trips.

Visitors to the family-oriented IMBD/Fall Fun Fest will enjoy several free activities, including exhibitors, live birds of prey shown by falconer Ed Foster of East Troy, a 1 p.m. tagging and releasing of Monarch Butterflies raised during the summer, and children's fun such as bird crafts/puzzles/books, Pine Cone Owls, Turkey callers, and creating bird nests from grass and other nesting materials.

Tickets for Fall Fest activities, including hayrides, bird tattoos, pumpkin painting and food, will be available to purchase at the event. By becoming a Friend of Pringle at the event, you will receive five free tickets to use for the activities.

Music will be presented at noon by the Grateful Deadliners, offering classic '60s music and other rock 'n roll. For a schedule of events and more details, visit Pringle Nature Center’s website,, and click on the link at mid-page. Information also is available there if you would like to help volunteer at the event and/or review 20 tips on helping birds.

IMBD, coordinated by the Environment for the Americas, helps raise public awareness about the importance of birds, loss of their habitat and related topics. IMBD is the only international education program that highlights and celebrates the migration of nearly 350 species of migratory birds between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Birds migrate north in the spring and south in the fall.

IMBD, started in 1993, has been celebrated at more than 500 sites in the Western Hemisphere. More information is available at

Bird City Wisconsin is an organization that promotes bird education by designating cities, counties and other jurisdictions as a Bird City when they meet certain requirements. The requirements include having good bird conservation practices, preserving and expanding habitat, offering bird lectures/lessons/information to the public, and celebrating IMBD with a festival. More information is available at

More information about IMBD/Fall Fest is available from the Kenosha County Parks office, 262-857-1869, and Pringle, 262-857-8008.

IMBD/Fall Fest is sponsored by Hoy Audubon of Kenosha and Racine Counties, Kenosha County Parks, Pringle Nature Center, the city of Kenosha, Kenosha County, and Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser.

Bristol Woods County Park is 197 acres of upland forest, wetlands, oak savanna remnants, prairie, and lawn areas. Within the woods are four miles of trails for bird and wildlife observation, nature education walks, hiking and cross country skiing. The nature center is open year round Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Joined Bird City: 2014

Population: 166,426

Incorporated: 1850

Area: 754.0 mi2

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