Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Village of McFarland

Village of McFarland

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 McFarland approved a comprehensive plan in 2006 that is pursuant with the State of Wisconsin “Smart Growth” plan and has been in compliance since. Under the comprehensive plan rare species occurrences are identified and marked by the WDNR’s Natural Heritage Inventory, and thus have protection. Generally these areas are located in the southeast corner of the Village and along the Yahara River and Mud Lake. Key objectives of the plan include preserving streams, drainageways, floodplains, wetlands, wildlife habitat, steep slopes, woodland areas, and other natural features. Furthermore, the Village continues to recommend that environmental corridors and other key features be preserved and that they aid adjacent Towns, Dane County, and WDNR in preparing the conservation plan for the area containing the Door Creek wetlands, Lower Mud Lake wetlands, and surrounding agricultural land.

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

As McFarland continues to expand, additional park areas must be acquired and developed. The Village has developed an extensively detailed master plan for Urso Community Park, which is adjacent to the conservancy lands to the south and west. From the perspective of biological communities, Urso provides a spectrum of community types including wetlands, open water, savanna, and oak woodland. The sites offer an excellent opportunity for restoration of high quality oak woodland, oak savanna, mesic and wet prairie, and wetlands. Public participation is also an integral part of the improving park areas. From public meetings and survey respondents priority has been placed on improving existing park facilities, expanding pedestrian and bicycle trail systems, and developing a management plan for conservancy areas. Preserving the natural features within Penitto Creek, Mud Lake and Door Creek watersheds are also deemed essential. Marsh Woods Park already has a detailed Assessment and Management Plan and provides ample habitat and sustainable resources for birds and other wildlife in oak-hickory woods, Sedge meadow, wet meadow and shrub-carr. McFarland Community Forest, in conjunction with the Township of Dunn, also has a Forest Stewardship Management plan detailing its 10 acres.

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

In addition to the comprehensive plan the Village of McFarland has approved an ordinance that permits natural landscaping, Section 59-59 Natural Landscape.

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.

McFarland provides numerous materials on invasive species removal and control. The Village staff regularly makes resources on invasive plants and insects available to the village residents. Hard copies are currently available at the Public Works Department. Information on these issues also appears in the Village's quarterly newsletter.

Community Forest Management

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

The Village of McFarland continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 2009.

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 Village of McFarland regularly has an informational packet available at the Parks/Public Works Office on keeping cats indoors and the hazards free roaming cats pose to birds. The information comes from the American Bird Conservancy and their “Cats Indoors!” program. The same information is also made available to the public during the Village’s annual International Migratory Bird Day celebration and Bird Festival.

L. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

The Village of McFarland’s Natural Resources Committee identified several sensitive bird nesting areas that had significant dog issues. The Village had custom signs made and placed them at Marsh Woods Park on the shore of Lower Mud Lake. The signs explicitly denote the area as sensitive bird nesting grounds and prohibit unleashed dogs. The signs have worked out very well in controlling off leash dogs.

Public Education

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

The 7th Annual McFarland Bird Festival was held on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at Lewis Park Pavilion. Our own E.D. Locke Public Library displayed items and information during the week on birds leading up to the bird festival to offer folks a ‘sneak peek’. There were approximately 200 people in attendance at the event.

Free activities for all ages were held in the park that morning, including:

  • Live Turkey Vulture Presentation at 10:30 am by Lisa Hartman. Lisa presented information on the natural history of turkey vultures in Wisconsin. Participants met Uncle Butzie, a captive, non-releasable turkey vulture. Uncle Butzie is 19 years old and has been accompanying Lisa to educate the public about turkey vultures since she acquired him with a broken, unrepairable wing at the age of 5 months.
  • Educational booths with games, face-painting, and information on feeding & identifying birds. Several local organizations had educational displays about birds including Four Lakes Wildlife Center, the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and Madison Audubon Society.
  • Spotting scopes on the observation deck overlooking Lower Mud Lake with birding experts on hand to help identify waterfowl. Lower Mud Lake is a major stopover spot for migrating waterfowl. Species spotted included canvasbacks, Northern shovelers, American Wigeons, common loons, and green-winged teal.
  • Registration for 3 different guided bird walks throughout the summerBoy Scout Bird House plans and displays and handouts on how to create these on your own.
  • Beverages and pastries were on hand from the McFarland House Café.
  • Booth for E.D. Locke Public Library so participants could check out books on birds.
  • Batik bird drawings created by 2nd grade students at McFarland Primary School were on display in the pavilion.

N. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

The Martin houses that were previously erected continue to provide the Martins with shelter, a safe place from predators along with a place to raise their young. These Martin houses are common destination for park visitors to enjoy these wonderful birds. The Purple Martin houses are located near the Bird Observation deck. A viewing bench so citizens can sit and relax while watching the birds was recently installed. In the fall of 2016, a new warming shelter was built with 2 large overhead glass garage doors that overlook Lower Mud Lake. Several citizens have taken advantage of this site to bird watch with their telescopes. The Bird Observation deck was also refurbished at the time the shelter was built. In the fall of 2017 we received a donation of a new Purple Martin bird house from an involved citizen. 

Energy & Sustainability

J. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

The Public Works building receives approxoimately 56 kWh per month from roof top installed solar panels.

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 Village of McFarland celebrated IMBD. The event had activities for all ages from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Lewis Park Pavilion (refer to 4E above).

Joined Bird City: 2011

Population: 7,808

Incorporated: 1920

Area: 3.55 mi2

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