Village of Shorewood Hills

Village of Shorewood Hills

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 Shorewood Hills adopted a Comprehensive Plan Update on November 15, 2021 to fulfill its Smart Growth requirment.

The 2021 plan can be found on the Village website.

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)

The Village of Shorewood Hills is a wooded area that serves as a migratory stopover. Its nine parks are small, making up only 21 of its 513 acres, but its extensive mature tree canopy, with a high percentage of mature oaks, allows birds to spend large proportions of their time in yards as well as parks. Four of the Village parks, containing 6.1 acres, are natural area parks (Dudley Davis Quarry Park, Koval Woods, Oak Way Lots, and Bigfoot Park). Another two parks, containing 2.69 acres are mixed use parks (Bradley and McKenna Parks), which have both natural and recreational areas. A significant proportion of the Village yards are also naturalized, having native, usually woodland or savanna, vegetation or a mixture of native and domestic plants that support insects, birds and other wildlife.

The location of the Village of Shorewood Hills enhances its attractiveness to birds, especially Neotropical woodland migrants. The Village of Shorewood Hills is bounded on the north by Lake Mendota. The Village is immediately west of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. A significant portion of this campus border is the UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve (the 300 acres of natural areas on campus), a Wisconsin Important Bird Area and Site 12 on the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail: Southern Savanna Region. The Preserve has four miles of undeveloped Lake Mendota shoreline. The Village of Shorewood Hills also has over a mile of wooded Lake Mendota shoreline immediately west of the Preserve land. Three parks, McKenna, Big Foot, and the Marina, are on Lake Mendota. Diverse waterfowl and various migrating birds, including Osprey and Bald Eagle, use this lake edge.

The mature oak forest in the northeast section of the Village is a continuation of the Eagle Heights Woods oak forest, a section of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. This oak extension includes three parks, Koval Woods, McKenna Park, and Four Corners Park. Woodland birds from the Preserve regularly come into this portion of the Village and use these parks. Also near the Village is Big Woods, another wooded section of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. Finally, University Bay Drive borders the playing fields which adjoins the Lakeshore Nature Preserve Class of 1918 Marsh and University Bay Marsh. Birds from these areas regularly visit Shorewood yards and feeders, enriching the bird population of Shorewood Hills. A Lakeshore Nature Preserve Checklist is available.

The Village is bounded on the west by the 99.5 acre Blackhawk Country Club. The club is part of the Village of Shorewood Hills Parks system but is leased as a golf course. The course supports woodland and savanna birds. Blackhawk Country Club is trying to obtain recognition from Audubon International for improving its resource use and wildlife habitat. It maintains a Bluebird trail. In past years, Red-headed Woodpeckers regularly nested at Blackhawk and they still visit annually. 

The diverse bird population of the Village is due to its location. Bordered on the north by the shore of Lake Mendota, its forested nature with a high percentage of oaks, and its location adjacent to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve IBA, the birding in the Village can be outstanding. Most woodland birds regularly occur in migration and many rare birds are also found.

Avid bird watchers like Roma Lenehan regularly bird in the Village of Shorewood Hills. Included with the Bird City Wisconsin application was a list of 47 nesting birds, which included many birds that nest in holes in the mature trees. Woodland Neotropical migrants are common in the Village. Most warblers, thrushes, and vireos that regularly occur in southern Wisconsin occur in the Village of Shorewood Hills. Marsh birds and grassland birds are rare in the Village because these habitats do not occur in the Village.

The UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve and the Blackhawk Country Club on the shore of Lake Mendota partner with the Village of Shorewood Hills. 

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.

The Village of Shorewood Hills has had an ordinance requiring the control of Garlic Mustard since 1999. Information on identifying and controlling Garlic Mustard, Honeysuckle, and Buckthorn is available online and appears periodically in the Village of Shorewood Hills Bulletin. Park priorities include continuing “to eliminate invasive non-native species,” including Garlic Mustard, Honeysuckle, and Buckthorn (The Village of Shorewood Hills Parks and Open Space Plan, 2003). In 2023, the Village Forester was appointed weed comissioner to oversee and eliminate invasive species ion all public and private land within the village limits.  The Forester speaks to Village groups like the Garden Club, and talks to homeowners about eliminating invasive species from their properties.  The Village Parks Committee and Forester routinely partner with the UW-Madison Badger Volunteers.  The 2023 forestry intern focused on improving bird habitat by removing invasive species and replanting with native plant seeds, shubs, and trees in Village parkland and bio retention areas.

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

Many of the village parks have designated natural areas that are actively managed by Forestry Staff to maintin and enrich biodiversity.  Examples can be found in Post Farm Park, Quarry Park, Four Corners Park, Koval Woods, William Kaeser Park on Oak Way, John McKenna Park, and Harold C. Bradley Park.  Tessa & Hans Reese Woods has been entirely dedicated to preserving native woodland habitat for over 90 years.  

Community Forest Management

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

The Village of Shorewood Hills continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 2002.

The Village of Shorewood Hills has renewed Tree City USA status for 2023. 

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 Shorewood Hills hands out Cats Indoors Brochures purchased from American Bird Conservancy (ABC) when people purchase their mandatory annual cat license.

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 Village of Shorewood Hills is part of the City of Madison Christmas Bird Count, which has been held continuously since 1936.

Energy & Sustainability

J. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

100% Renewable - The Village of Shorewood Hills is proud to be the first village in Wisconsin to power all municipal facilities and operations with 100% renewable energy, reducing Village CO2 emissions by 600,000 lbs annually. 

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)

A. This community's municipal body passed the required World 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 World Migratory Bird Day website. To see what other Bird City communities have done in the past, please view some other profiles on our website.

To celebrate the Village of Shorewood Hills’ World Migratory Bird Day, Sylvia Marek, Arboretum naturalist, and outstanding birder, will tell us “All About Owls” on Thursday, March 2 at 7:00 p.m. for the program (6:30 for refreshments) in the Village Hall auditorium.  Learn about Wisconsin’s twelve owl species, focusing on the three that nest in Shorewood Hills and how to identify these elusive birds of prey.  Habitat, calls, courtship, and adaptations to acquire food will be discussed.

The Village of Shorewood Hills has been a Bird City since 2012.  This is the Village’s ninth celebration of World Migratory Bird Day, but this event has been celebrated in North America since 1993.  Initially named International Migratory Bird Day, it was observed on the second Saturday in May, but there were too many competing events on the same day.  Now many celebrations are held on other dates.

Bring friends and neighbors to this special presentation.

Refreshments will be provided by the Shorewood Hills Garden Club and Parks Committee.

Joined Bird City: 2012

Population: 1,565

Incorporated: 1927

Area: 0.8 mi2

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