Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

City of Muskego

City of Muskego


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.

Muskego is in compliance with Wisconsin’s Smart Growth law. Resolution #007-2009 approves the 2020 comprehensive plan and declares it to be in compliance with Smart Growth Laws.

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)

Unfortunately no formal survey of Forster’s tern nesting was conducted in 2017. Anecdotal observations indicated that they had a poor nesting season because of high water levels.

 Muskego’s Bluebird Trail, however, continues to be a success. Bluebird monitoring results attached

Bill Stout once again climbed the nesting structure and banded the three ospreys on Big Muskego Lake.  Bill collected data on each bird. (Note: I requested these data but have not yet received it)  

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

Through the Parks & Conservation Plan (, the City takes an active role in the planning process of protecting and enlarging bird habitat. The city has been acquiring new conservation lands, creating favorable habitat and actively managing its 500+ acres of conservation land. In the last 15 years the City has established over 110 acres of prairie habitat, restored/enhanced over 100 acres of wetlands, and has managed over 90 acres of woodlands. Community volunteers have furthered the mission of creating bird habitat.The City also has continued to manage oak savanna habitat at Badertscher Preserve and Blattner Preserve. Oak savanna, a plant community that is imperiled both globally and at the state level, is important to many birds including the Red-headed Woodpecker.  This management included removal/treatment of invasive plant species and seeding/planting native grasses, forbs, and shrubs. 

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.

Muskego is active in the removal of invasive plant species and provides information and links to that topic on the City’s website.  City Forester provides technical advice to citizens who inquire about invasive species management.

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.

Big Muskego Lake has been officially recognized as an Important Bird Area. The area provides habitat for the endangered Foster’s Tern and Black Tern. Also, the area has furnished nesting habitat for Bald Eagles and Ospreys.

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

The City of Muskego actively conducts restoration efforts on about half of its 500+ acres of City-owned conservation land. In 2017, the City utilized its MMSD green infastructure funding to conduct a 30-acre wetland restoration project on Big Muskego Wildlife Area land in partnership with DU and WDNR.  In 2017, the City restored some wetland areas and planted prairie on formerly farmed portions (15 acres) of a conservation site adjacent to Big Muskego Lake's northeastern shore.  

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 Muskego’s website contains links to IPAW. Brochures are also available at city hall. The City’s conservation coordinator also provides technical advice on dealing with invasive shrubs to interested residents.  We are currently working with Quietwood Creek Subdivision homeowners association to conduct invasive shrubs in an oak-hickory woodland in their subdivision outlot. 

N. Show that your community works on public lands to control invasive species that have significant negative impacts on bird habitat.

Removal of invasive shrubs such as buckthorn is an ongoing work task. Staff visits various woodland, prairie and wetland sites throughout the year and efforts are made to “weed out” problem invasive species that are observed.  In 2017, staff spent considerable over 80 worker-hours at Badertscher Preserve controlling wild parsnip and burdock in the oak savanna and wetland restorations.  Beginning in December in 2017, the City also hired a contractor to augment staff efforts to clear approximately 5 acres of invasive shrubs in the oak woodlands at Guernsey Meadows conservation site. 

R. Show how your community aids a local youth group (e.g., Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of USA, 4-H Club, etc.) or conservation group in bird conservation projects (e.g., bluebird trail, habitat restoration, Wood Duck nest boxes, etc.).

Staff and resident Bob Tamm maintain bluebird trails in Muskego. A few years ago scouts projects established wood duck nesting boxes at Engel Conservation Area. City of Muskego staff and resident Paul Conrardy continue to maintain nesting material these wood duck boxes.  A new volunteer, Erin Kollman plans on replacing wood duck box nesting material this winter. 

The local "Glacial Prairies" chapter of "The Prairie Enthusiasts" had volunteered on 2 occasions to conduct invasive species manangement on Muskego conservation sites in 2017.  They are scheduled to work Saturday January 27, 2018 at Badertscher Preserve.

S. Demonstrate how a public golf course is managed to benefit birds.

Muskego is fortunate to be the home of Bob Tamm. Bob maintains one of the largest Eastern Bluebird trails in the Midwest with many located within Muskego including a trail at Muskego Lakes Country Club.

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.)

Birding Hotspot: Engel Conservation Area is a 153-acre site owned and managed by the City of Muskego for open space preservation, wildlife habitat and outdoor education. There are approximately four miles of hiking trails running through diverse woodlands, wetlands and prairie habitats. These trails along with interpretive and directional signage make Engel an ideal site for birding.

Birding Hotspot: Badertscher Preserve also has about 4 miles of hiking trails that traverse varied bird habitat.

Birding Hotspot: Big Muskego Lake is a Wisconsin IBA. Information on its endangered bird resources is presented at boat ramp kiosks.

Community Forest Management

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

The City of Muskego continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 1999.

C. Document an ongoing community program to incorporate a significant number of native trees, native shrubs, native herbaceous plants, and/or cultivars of native species in public or large-scale private landscaping.

The City of Muskego has demonstrated a preference of utilizing native species in tree and shrub plantings – particularly in parks. Native woody plants are managed in forested areas through removal of nonnative shrubs.  The City Forester reviews landscape plans for commercial developments - in doing so, developers are often directed to change species composition to more native selections.

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 digital copy of the “Cats, Birds, and You” brochure is available through the City of Muskego’s website.

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

A “Preventing Bird Window Strikes” brochure was created and is on display and available to residents who visit City Hall as well as being posted on Muskego’s website.

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 City provides a variety of information on creating and enhancing backyard bird habitat on the City of Muskego’s website.

K. Demonstrate that your community actively raises awareness of its bird assets. Examples include placing a remote web camera on a nest platform, offering bird watching field trips, or creating a significant educational resource on your community's bird life.

 In 2017 Muskego recreation program hosted three kayak trips on Big Muskego Lake.  During these trips we showcase the diverse bird life including the Endangered Forster’s terns, Bald eagle, Osprey, and Yellow-headed blackbirds.  (Muskego typically maintains an “Osprey Cam” on a nesting platform on Big Muskego Lake, however the camera failed this year but we did not try to fix it during nesting activity.)

Energy & Sustainability

B. Show that your community goes above and beyond in its support for, and implementation of, green transportation (e.g., bike trails, rideshare programs, bike trails/lanes, etc.). Be sure to utilize the narrative to illustrate why your community is exceptional because standard practice will not receive credit.

Muskego has an extensive recreation trail network when compared to other southeastern Wisconsin suburban communities - over 45 miles of trails dedicated to non-motorized transportation that link residential neighborhoods to commercial areas and parks.  (See page Chapter 3, Map #7 in 2017-2021 Parks & Conservation Plan (  Map 45 in Chapter 5 of the same document shows trails planned in the future.

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.

Muskego’s celebration of IMBD on May 13, 2017 included a bird watching hike at Big Muskego Lake State Wildlife Area. It was the first year that this celebration was held at this conservation site.  It was chosen because of its proximity to Big Muskego lake/marsh and restored wetlands and forest habitats.   Approximately 30 people observed birds for two hours led by a proficient birder John Winze.  The 2018 site has yet to be chosen.  Please note that for the above criterion, Muskego passes the resolution in the weeks just before IMBD. Accordingly, a resolution will be passed in April recognizing May 12 as IMBD in 2018.

Joined Bird City: 2010

Population: 24,534

Incorporated: 1964

Area: 35.98 mi2

Community Website

Community Bird City Page

Community Map