Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

City of Lake Geneva


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 Lake Geneva adopted the “City of Lake Geneva Comprehensive Plan” on December 14, 2009.

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

The City of Lake Geneva is working on purchasing an additional 60 acres of wildlife habitat along the White River.

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.

Lake Geneva’s website has information on the control and removal of invasive species. Citizens can also contact the arborist for help with the identification and removal of invasive plants.

L. Show that your community has restored at least two acres of woodlands, wetlands, or prairie.

The City’s 40-acre Four Seasons Park is on County Highway H just southeast of Lake Geneva. The City has restored over five acres by cleaning out scrub plants and planting wild flowers to provide food and shelter for birds and other animals and plans to continue restoring this area by planting additional flowers each year. The restoration was done with community service students under City supervision. There is a significant avian population throughout the park, which currently features 27 bird houses. The City Street Department is in the process of building 12 more Purple Martin and Bluebird houses to add to the park. Lake Geneva also built a wooden walkway over 1,000 feet in length.

M. Demonstrate that your community offers a program for private property owners who are interested in dealing with invasive plants that have significant negative impacts on bird habitat.

The City of Lake Geneva Is very concerned about invasive shrubs and plants and their encroachment into wooded areas. To that effect, the City has established several ways for residents to get information on how to control the spread of invasive plants and shrubs. The City provides information on its website and links to the WDNR’s excellent resources on invasive species. A resident may call the City Arborist for information and help in dealing with these plants on their property. Residents can also attend a City Tree Board meeting to get advice and help in addressing their problem with invasive shrubs and plants.

P. Demonstrate the implementation of a program to preserve Chimney Swift nesting and roosting sites (preferred) and/or to construct Chimney Swift towers.

The City of Lake Geneva owns several buildings, two of which have large chimneys (40+ feet tall). One has attracted many hundreds of Chimney Swifts on an annual basis. We found the other chimney had been capped so the City uncapped the second chimney for the swifts. There are now three large chimney housing Chimney Swifts in Lake Geneva.

Community Forest Management

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

Lake Geneva continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 1995.

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.

Dog and cat leash laws are enforced in a cooperative effort by several city departments. All street department personnel, utility personnel, police personnel, fire personnel and the code enforcement officer are asked to report any loose dogs or cats to the Code Enforcement Officer. The animals are then caught, and either taken to the Walworth County animal rescue shelter or returned to the owner if there is a license tag on the animal and it has had its shots. The first time, the owners are warned and if the animal is caught again, a ticket will be issued.

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’s website provides information on Bird City decals (Window-strikes) with the decals sold at City Hall.

G. Show how your community regulates communication tower construction, siting, and lighting to mitigate their risk to migrating birds.

Most communication antennas in Lake Geneva are on City-owned water towers. There are few free-standing towers. Lake Geneva’s zoning does permit towers in the industrial park areas as a conditional use. However, the city has never received an application to construct such a tower. While it is illegal to ban communication towers, this conditional use process will make it significantly more difficult to construct a tower in Lake Geneva. Unfortunately, there is an effort to regulate tower as a utility, thus reducing the City’s ability to regulate and restrict towers in the City.

H. Document that your community operates a significant Lights Out program that dims building lights to reduce collisions during spring and fall migration or that you have an outdoor lighting ordinance that includes Lights Out during bird migration.

The City of Lake Geneva has only one tall building. Built in the 1960s, it was one of two planned towers. Following its completion, the Common Council passed an ordinance limiting the height of buildings to a maximum of 45 feet in the downtown area and 35 feet in all other parts of Lake Geneva. The second tower was never built. The initial tower had four very large spotlights on each side of the roof for security reasons. The City asked the tower association n to consider turning those lights off permanently to protect the bird population and to cut down on the light that would affect the environment for astronomy. The tower association followed the City’s request and disconnected the lights in 2013.

I. Demonstrate that your community has enacted a bird collision monitoring program and has treated problem windows to reduce collisions with municipal and commercial buildings.

The City promotes bird decals and sells them at City Hall.

Public Education

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 Lakeland Audubon Society has been conducting a Christmas Bird Count that encompasses the city for many years. The count circle is centered about two miles west of the city.  Approximately 56 different species were tallied last year. Highlights included Northern Flicker, Brown Creeper and Common Redpoll.

Also in 2017, Lake Geneva celebrated its 6th annual Swift Night Out count on September 14 at the Geneva Lake Museum. Dick Nikoli, retired Wisconsin DNR wildlife biologist, provided a presentation about swifts and the evening was capped off by watching Chimney Swifts enter the museum chimney with a fantastic estimate of over 500 swifts.

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.

In 2017 Lake Geneva celebrated IMBD during their Swift Night Out event on September 14th at the Geneva Lake Museum. This event featured a presentation by Dick Nikoli, retired DNR wildlife biologist.

Photo Gallery

Community Details

Joined Bird City: 2010

Population: 7,771

Incorporated: 1883

Area: 6.55 mi2

Community Website

Community Bird City Page

Community Map