Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Bird City Wisconsin Names Hagner New Director

Bird City Wisconsin Director Charles Hagner

Milwaukee, WI, June 6, 2018 - Bird City Wisconsin has announced the hiring of former BirdWatching magazine editor Charles Hagner as its new director.

Hagner, a Wisconsin native, is a writer and editor specializing in birds, birding, and conservation and the Board Chair of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, Inc., located in Port Washington. He was the editor-in-chief of nationally distributed BirdWatching from 2001 to 2017.

Hagner succeeds Dr. Bryan Lenz, who served as the Bird City’s director since 2014. He is leaving to become the Bird Collisions Campaign Manager with the American Bird Conservancy, a non-profit organization that works to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.

“Editing a magazine devoted to wild birds and birding presented ample opportunities to study not only the myriad challenges faced by birds but also the many innovative, effective ways we all can help them. Bird City is one of the best,” says Hagner. “I’m excited to get to work for Wisconsin’s birds.”

Bird City was created in 2009. A program of the Milwaukee Audubon Society, it recognizes Wisconsin municipalities for the conservation and education activities that they undertake to make their communities healthy for birds... and people.

To be recognized as a Bird City, a community must meet criteria spread across six categories: habitat creation and protection, community forest management, limiting threats to birds, education, energy and sustainability, and the official recognition and celebration of World Migratory Bird Day (formerly International Migratory Bird Day).

Bird City also offers High Flyer recognition for communities that go above and beyond in their conservation and education programs. To become a High Flyer, a community must meet additional, and more involved, criteria.

To date, 109 Wisconsin communities have been recognized as a Bird City, while 23 communities have qualified for High Flyer status.


Save the Date! Bird City Conference Sept. 6-8, 2018

Bird City Wisconsin is proud to announce our third bi-annual conference in partnership with the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI). The 2018 event, S.O.S. for Our Flying Bug Eaters, will be held September 6-8, 2018 at the Country Springs Hotel in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will focus on current research and conservation focused on the declines in aerial insectivores, including Chimney Swifts, nighthawks, and bats. The conference will also focus on trends in the insect populations on which these insectivores depend as well as ways that people can help to address these declines in their communities.

Please visit WBCI's website for the most up-to-date conference information.

IMBD Is Now World Migratory Bird Day!

Even as International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) celebrates its 25th anniversary, Environment for the Americas expands the reach of its keystone education program by joining with new partners across the globe to create a single event: World Migratory Bird Day. WMBD will unify voices for bird conservation through the 2018 conservation theme, Year of the Bird, and help share ideas for protecting birds 365 days a year. The winning WMBD poster design created by Paula Romero includes 12 bird species, each representing some of the many actions we can take to protect them. Celebration of WMBD is a keystone criteria met by the 107 Bird City Wisconsin communities.

From WMBD's website:

In 1993, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center created International Migratory Bird Day. This educational campaign focused on the Western Hemisphere and celebrates its 25th year in 2018. Since 2007, IMBD has been coordinated by Environment for the Americas (EFTA), a non-profit organization that strives to connect people to bird conservation.

In 2018, EFTA joins the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) to create a single, global bird conservation education campaign, World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD). Continuing our tradition with IMBD, WMBC celebrates and brings attention to one of the most important and spectacular events in the Americas – bird migration.

EFTA will continue to coordinate events, programs, and activities in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean at protected areas, refuges, parks, museums, schools, zoos, and more. As many as 700 events and programs are hosted annually to introduce the public to migratory birds and ways to conserve them.

Bird City Wisconsin: Oft Imitated, Not Yet Duplicated

Bird City Wisconsin’s program “Making our communities healthy for birds… and people” has spawned similar programs in three other states: Minnesota, Indiana and Iowa, reshaped the course of an analogous program in Pennsylvania and helped with plans to launch a program in Texas later in 2018.

The National Audubon Society and independent state Audubon chapters have paved the way in each of these states. In Indiana, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, state Audubon chapters run the program. Iowa has assembled perhaps the widest coalition of partners. Indiana adopted BCW’s program and criteria almost intact, while the other states have reformulated the recognition criteria. In working with Minnesota Audubon, BCW updated its own criteria and added a major sustainability component in 2017.

Here’s quick look at those other programs:

Read more: Bird City Wisconsin: Oft Imitated, Not Yet Duplicated

Bird City Advocate Reaches Out to His Community on Habitat and Cats

Photo of a cat by Talya Photo/Shutterstock via American Bird Conservancy

Peter McKeever was actively involved in gaining recognition for his home community of Monona (a Madison suburb) as a Bird City Wisconsin. He recorded the following radio spot, which is running on Monona’s local community radio station, WVOM. 98.7.

Are you feeding birds in your yard? Do you enjoy watching the chickadees, orioles, cardinals and House Finches? How about the honking of the geese and Sandhill Cranes overhead?

Monona has been named an official Wisconsin Bird City. This honor is in recognition of the commitment of the city and its residents to the protection of birds and the conservation of their habitat. Places like Woodland Park and the Monona Wetlands are important habitat for resident and migrating birds.

So are the trees in our city parks and the trees and bushes in your yard.

Bird populations are in decline everywhere. Bird song is disappearing.  One of the most important things we can do to protect birds is to keep our cats inside. Studies show pet cats kill billions of birds every year.

Birds are critical for a healthy ecosystem; they serve as indicators of the ecological health of our planet.

I’m Peter McKeever and I’m glad WVMO supports Monona’s birds.

Talya Photo/Shutterstock via American Bird Conservancy

Cats and birds: The combination can be disastrous. Although domestic cats (Felis catus) can make wonderful pets, they threaten birds and other wildlife and disrupt ecosystems.