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)
The Village of Sherwood is well positioned to host birding efforts due to the location of the 1,200-acre High Cliff State Park in Sherwood on the shores of Lake Winnebago. The village also has two golf courses within its boundaries, providing for ample green space and a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Wood Ducks are often seen nesting in High Cliff State Park and recently there has been an increase in resident Woodpecker populations, including Pileated Woodpeckers, in the mature hardwood forest sections of the park. High Cliff State Park also has a very active Purple Martin colony with 54 holes available near the marina on the property. Using the cliffs in the park as their home base, several dozen Wild Turkeys now roost in the area and are daily visitors to local backyards.
A cell tower in continues to supply a nesting site for Osprey that fledged chicks each year. For numerous years, local bird enthusiasts have helped nurture a growing population of Eastern Bluebirds. To further this claim, Sherwood is currently a member of the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin and has provided recent data of monitoring and surveys done in the community. High Cliff State Park is also committed to controlling invasive species in the park by offering information on Garlic Mustard and Gypsy Moths to the public and organizing invasive species pulls throughout the year.
D. Document that current municipal planning seeks to provide additional bird habitat.
Sherwood annually takes part in Arbor Day activities, planting trees and helping establish tree cover and forage for birds in the park. On its own, the Village and local schoolchildren have planted over 500 seedlings and 75 young trees, mostly in the Miller Pond storm water area, to further enhance bird habitat and create a small tree nursery. The village has landscaped the Wanick Park area with 650 trees, several hundred shrubs and grasses, and nearly 8,000 flowering plants. Many of our feathered friends are taking notice of another area to enjoy with ponds, trees and plants geared to their needs.
Over the years, the village has acquired two 5-acre wooded parcels that will be used for passive recreation only. The village also acquired an additional two acres, through negotiated donations, and together these tracts of land are now home to low impact walking trails, new tree plantings, and improved bird habitat.
The Village of Sherwood Administrator and Village President are Arbor Day Foundation members since 2012, in order to support ongoing environmental efforts and to continually be educated on the nurturing and celebration of trees and other flora.
V. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.
The Village of Sherwood, High Cliff State Park Staff and the Friends of High Cliff State Park (FOHC) work together and complement each other with their efforts to make the village and High Cliff State Park, which sits within the village boarders, an enticing, safe and beautiful habitat for a wide variety of birds. Just within the last 10 years the village has developed the Miller Pond area by planting hundreds of trees, putting in water plants, wood duck houses , a trail and a variety of other bird friendly updates and removing invasive species . Birders and just your average trail walkers will see a variety of birds; osprey, eagles, a variety of cranes, ducks and meadow birds.
Likewise, the Friends of High Cliff and the state park staff worked together side by side with village and area residence to restore and enhance the Butterfly Pond Wetlands. We regularly remove invasive plants and replace them with native trees, shrubs and flowers. Next to the Wetlands we have created a prairie as well as three other prairies within the park. State Biologists who have visited the area have stated the Butterfly Pond Wetlands would be attracting a wide variety of birds and become a pristine area for birds and birders alike. The biologists were right on. The wetlands are being frequented by a number of birds many of which have not been seen in the area for a several years. The Black Crowned Night Heron fledglings have been spotted for the last couple years. The nest has not been located but the fledglings are out and about each year. The beautiful white swans have reappeared to the Butterfly Pond and Lake Winnebago as well as numerous other species.
Sherwood has become a cell for the Breeding Bird Atlas to monitor and a number of bird hikes take place in the village broth from locals and from wildlife sanctuaries around the state. There is a wide variety of trails within the village and state park for Birders. The Niagara Escarpment, Line Kiln Trail along Lake Winnebago, Red Bird, Butterfly Pond Wetland, Pigeon Trail along Miller Pond, and many more. Pigeon and The Butterfly Pond trails are paved for easy access and are accessible to all. The Butterfly Trail offers sitting areas, even a shelter with an accessible table for birding or just relaxing in nature.
Community Forest Management
A. Demonstrate that your community has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
The Village of Sherwood continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 2000.
F. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.
In accordance with ordinance NO: 99-67 the village of Sherwood has created a Park and Recreation Commission that is pursuant to Wisconsin State Statute section 27.08. This commission aids in the maintenance and removal of current forest stands and local hindrances to birds.
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 maintains a website which contains helpful links for residents such as a link to the American Bird Conservancy’s “Cats Indoors!” program.
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.
Through its quarterly Newsletter, the village reaches out to its 2,959 residents to discuss acceptable feeding practices for birds. Other types of bird-related information also will be published in this manner, including increased birding opportunities, and how to maintain a safe and healthy bird population in our semi-urban environment. Information on participating in the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) also appears in the village newsletter.
Sherwood participates in the Stockbridge Circle of the Christmas Bird Count.
N. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.
High Cliff State Park (HCSP), located within the Village of Sherwood, is the largest state-owned recreation land on Lake Winnebago, offers numerous bird conservation activities and educational programs. For a number of years, the Friends of High Cliff State Park (FOHC) have worked to restore the Butterfly Ponds Wetlands and Trails (BPWT), making the area a pristine and safe place for all to enjoy whether it be walking on the paved trails, or sitting on a comfortable bench birding which is very popular. The restoration created and improved numerous areas which are bird friendly. Trails are totally accessible to everyone.
Observers have noted an increase in the variety and number of birds each year. It is exciting to see Eagles, Osprey, Wood Ducks, Sandhill Cranes, Egrets, Blue, Green, and Gray Herons in the lake, ponds and stream area of the Village. Tower platforms were erected for nesting areas for the Osprey and the Village Wood Duck houses are placed around the Ponds. And a bit of exciting news for Birders, in 2016; 500 small trees and 100 larger trees and shrubs in addition to a bird attracting flower garden were planted. Shrubs which attract specific types of birds to put in the BPWT. The Village and park trails will take you through the wooded areas where visitors can enjoy a large variety of Birds. A number of comfortable benches and handicapped accessible tables have been placed for birders to sit and take in the many feathered friends who are calling our Village home for at least part of the year. The beauty of the Village owned parks (Wanick, Legion, Schneider and Gosz) and BPWT is greatly enhanced with the frequent, colorful sightings of Scarlet Tanagers, Indigo Buntings, Cedar Waxwings, Orioles, Bluebirds, Cardinals and Blue Jays. The Chickadees, Phoebes, and Wrens will serenade you as you walk the trails or sit and watch. The Nuthatch and Warblers are always a treat to see.
In 2016 birders and residents have watched eagles, swans and numerous pelicans on the lake and ponds.
Tree replacement projects are a continuous program throughout the Village and State Park.
The Village website/Facebook pages, Friends of High Cliff’s websites/Facebook pages or the Wisconsin State Parks/High Cliff are sources of information on upcoming birding events.
Sherwood has approved a resolution that proclaims May 1 to be International Migratory Bird Day, where residents are encouraged to celebrate and partake in bird related activities provided in the village. Sherwood’s IMBD event was held at the High Cliffs Marina and featured a guided bird walk.
Photos by Dick Nikolai, Wildlife Manager at High Cliff State Park. High Cliff, the largest state-owned recreation land on Lake Winnebago, has a very active Purple Martin colony with more than 50 holes available.
A camera installed at the Purple Martin house and area for viewing from the park office is an activity of interest also.