Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Brew City Birding Festival


Join us for our third annual Brew City Birding Festival, a wonderful week of bird-themed field trips, lectures, family-friendly programs and activities, and bird watching opportunities.

We have an exciting array of new events to add to some of our popular traditional programs. A huge thanks to all of our partnering organizations and individuals!

New this year:

A field trip to Riveredge Nature Center and their 200+ species of birds recorded. We will walk through the Riveredge Creek and Ephemeral Pond State Natural Area with extraordinary birder and veteran educator Mary Holleback and eat a bag lunch on site.

From Flowers to Feathers: Bird Habitat for Your Yard: This will be a series of short talks by expert ornithologists and landscapers from the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory and the Urban Ecology Center about the importance of native landscaping and how you can turn your backyard into a bird haven.

Vicarious birding adventures from around the world! On Tuesday night, two intrepid, adventurous, (and crazy?) birders will talk about their experiences in far-away lands sharing stories and vivid photographs. First, veteran naturalist and educator Bill Volkert (a frequent guest on the Larry Meiller show about birds) will talk about a trip he took with his wife around the world. He recently wrote a book about his experiences and they will be available for purchase. Then John O’Donnell, a nearly lifelong birder, leader of international natural history tours, and self-described “evolving naturalist,” will take us on a journey to Alaska, the Last Frontier State and a premier birding haven.

A field trip to Muskego Park. Two rock stars in conservation, Julia Robson, with Waukesha County Parks, and Dianne Robinson, with the DNR, will take us to a majestic old-growth mesic forest carpeted with spring ephemeral wildflowers.

A field trip to Harbor Haven (aka the Consolidated Disposal Facility, aka the Coast Guard Impoundment), which historically has the largest bird species list in the entire state of Wisconsin. We will be joined by Harbor District Inc. staff to discuss the future of this premier birding site.

Returning popular events from previous years:

Birds and Beer! An evening of fun, socializing, and celebrating birds with a mystery guest speaker (think back to when Elton John was the mystery guest performer at the Harley Davidson 100 year bash... but we’ll do better.)

Milwaukee County Zoo: Learn about hummingbird banding and unique conservation projects from aviary staff, as we tour the facilities.

Milwaukee Public Museum: A fun tour of the ornithology specimens (birds and eggs) not on display at this world-class institution. (Hint: Ask to see the ostrich!)

See where birds intersect with astronomy and poetry through programs co-sponsored by the UEC’s Urban Stargazers and Urban Echo Poets. Former Milwaukee Poet Laureate Susan Firer will lead a program on birds in poetry.

Also bird walks, bird banding, bird bike rides, and exploring bird data will be peppered throughout the festival.

The festival culminates on Saturday, May 11, with our popular Green Birding Challenge.


Location information

Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park

Milwaukee 53211
1500 E. Park Place