Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Three Important Changes for Bird City Wisconsin

Bird City Wisconsin logo

Bird City Wisconsin has announced three important changes that all partners and member communities need to know about.

Change no. 1: New fiscal sponsor

The first change is that Bird City has a new fiscal sponsor. The Board of Directors of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, Inc., voted unanimously on October 19, 2018, to assume fiscal sponsorship. The Observatory takes over from the Milwaukee Audubon Society, which served as Bird City’s fiscal sponsor since 2009, when the society was awarded the TogetherGreen planning grant that launched the successful program.

Read the history of Bird City Wisconsin.

The transition brings to fruition the long-time dream of the late founder of the Observatory, Dr. Noel J. Cutright, who saw the institution as a potential successor to Milwaukee Audubon as Bird City’s home base. “We believe strongly that this is a positive development for all involved and a growth opportunity for both Bird City and the Observatory, in that it closely aligns two organizations with a fundamental commitment to aggressive conservation action on behalf of the birds we love,” said Carl Schwartz, Chair of the Bird City Steering Committee and a member of the Observatory Board.

Change no. 2: New mailing address

The second change is that Bird City has a new mailing address. Mail intended for the program should no longer be sent to 1111 E. Brown Deer Road in Bayside. Rather, it should be sent to this address:

Bird City Wisconsin
4230 N. Oakland Ave., #219
Shorewood, WI 53211

The new mailing address can also be seen in the brown band at the bottom of each page of this website. A new mailing address became necessary recently after officials at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Bayside reclaimed office space that had been provided to Milwaukee Audubon and had been used as Bird City’s headquarters and for storage.

Change no. 3: New payee

The third change is that communities and partners who send checks to Bird City Wisconsin should no longer write them to Milwaukee Audubon. Effective immediately, checks should instead be written to “Bird City Wisconsin.”

No other changes were made to the program’s daily operations, said Chuck Hagner, Director of Bird City Wisconsin and Chair of the Observatory Board. Member communities and partners will be able to conduct business as before. “Our great thanks go to Milwaukee Audubon Society, and especially to Andrew Struck, for the foundational support that made Bird City possible and helped it grow into a national force in bird conservation,” said Hagner.

Struck served as president of Milwaukee Audubon until November 10, 2018. He is Director of Planning and Parks for Ozaukee County, one of the inaugural Bird City communities. He served for five years as Chair of the Bird City Steering Committee and nine years as its treasurer. He will remain on the Steering Committee as a municipal representative.

About the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory: The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory is an independent a 501(c)(3) organization. It was founded in 2010 to conduct coordinated research, monitoring, and education that advances the conservation of birds and bats in Wisconsin and throughout the Western Great Lakes Region. The Observatory’s headquarters is at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, located near the Lake Michigan shore between Belgium and Port Washington in Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin.

Read about the members of the Bird City Steering Committee.

The mission and rationale of Bird City Wisconsin.

Order bird-friendly coffee from Bird City.



Bird City Helps Bucks Open the World’s First Bird-Friendly Arena

Fiserv Forum Milwaukee Bucks

With an assist from Bird City Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Bucks have achieved a first with their new arena: Fiserv Forum will be the world’s first bird-friendly sports and entertainment arena upon completion of the Bucks’ application for LEED Silver® certification.

The 17,500-seat arena is located in the heart of Milwaukee, a Bird City Wisconsin community since 2012.

“Bird City Wisconsin came to us three years ago to educate us on migration and best practices,” said Bucks President Peter Feigin. “We were able to integrate many of their suggestions in the design phase of the project.”

Partnering with the team was a natural fit for Bird City, because the organization works tirelessly to help its 109 Bird City communities do all they can to further bird conservation.

According to a press release issued by Fiserv Forum, Bird City, and American Bird Conservancy, construction of the bird-friendly arena is a significant victory for bird conservation, as up to a billion birds die annually in the United States after colliding with glass. Scientists estimate that the total accounts for 5 to 10 percent of the birds in the United States and that the mortality contributes to ongoing declines in bird populations across North America.

Read the press release: 

“The Milwaukee Bucks’ bold decision to build the world’s first bird-friendly arena speaks volumes about the ownership’s character, concern for the environment, and desire to be a part of a green community,” said Bryan Lenz, Bird City’s former director. “The Bucks stepped up for birds in a way that no sports franchise ever has," he said. "Hopefully, the team’s message -- that designing with birds in mind is an achievable goal -- will set Fiserv Forum up as a model for arenas, stadiums, and all other buildings for years to come.”

Lenz recently joined American Bird Conservancy as its collisions campaign manager.

Fiserv Forum was designed to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program Bird Collision Deterrence credit (SSpc55), which was created in partnership with American Bird Conservancy. Buildings that achieve the Bird Collision Deterrence credit address the primary reasons that birds collide with buildings -- reflective and see-through glass and lighting that disorients birds during their nocturnal spring and fall migrations. Credit SSpc55 has already been approved on the pending LEED application for Fiserv Forum.

The Wisconsin Humane Society will also work with the Bucks to monitor the arena for collisions, following a plan designed in partnership with Bird City Wisconsin and American Bird Conservancy.

Documenting that a municipal or major public building has been awarded LEED certification as a bird-friendly building is one of the criteria that Bird City offers to Wisconsin communities who want to earn recognition as a Bird City. Preventing window collisions figures prominently in the criteria, which include creating and maintaining habitat, managing community forests, educating the public, energy and sustainability, and celebrating World Migratory Bird Day, as well as limiting or removing threats to birds.

In addition to achieving the LEED SSpc55 credit, municipalities seeking Bird City status can also opt to provide information on how to protect birds from window strikes; participate in a Lights Out program that dims building lights during the spring and fall migration; enact a collision-monitoring program and treat problem windows; and register a building in the Wisconsin Humane Society’s WIngs BirdSafe Business program.

View all of Bird City's recognition criteria.

A number of organizations played critical roles in the construction of the world’s first bird-friendly arena, including Bucks’ leadership, Populous, CAA ICON, Bird City Wisconsin, American Bird Conservancy, Eppstein Uhen, Mortenson, M-E Engineers, France Sustainable Solutions, and HNTB. The partners finished the design process with newfound knowledge on how to build and operate buildings with birds in mind -- knowledge that they will carry to future projects.

Additional efforts made by planners -- landscaping with native plants, operations that do not use straws or other petroleum products, a composting program, and low-flow toilets -- demonstrate that the Bucks ownership is serious about its environmental footprint, said the team. Fiserv Forum was also built using high-recycled content, regionally sourced materials, and low-emission products that help provide healthy indoor air quality for staff and guests.

The Bucks plan to provide details about their LEED/Green initiatives and to offer LEED/Green tours of Fiserv Forum during the 2018-19 basketball season. 

Learn how you can treat your windows so they no longer pose a threat to birds.

The mission and rationale of Bird City Wisconsin.

Order bird-friendly coffee from Bird City.

More information about Fiserv Forum.


Register now for the 2018 Southeastern Wisconsin Conservation Summit

Southeastern Wisconsin Conservation Summit

Bird City representatives should act now to attend the second annual Southeastern Wisconsin Conservation Summit. The two-day conference will take place at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve in Ozaukee County on Nov. 2-3, 2018, and registration is open now.

The two-day conference, organized by the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, is designed to foster regional collaboration and networking by providing opportunities to meet and listen to the people who are conducting terrific conservation work in southeastern Wisconsin.

The 2018 summit will include more than 40 speakers -- including Chuck Hagner, the director of Bird City Wisconsin -- and focus on subjects of high interest to Bird City communities.

Topics on the agenda include Bird City Wisconsin as a model and inspiration, orchid conservation, phragmites control, stream-bank and bluff erosion, and Kirtland's Warbler recovery efforts.

Speakers will talk about monitoring deer populations, toxic algae in Milwaukee's Juneau Park lagoon, citizen-based monitoring of rusty patch bumblebees and other wildlife, and control of invasive plant species, as well as bird banding, Great Lakes shoreline conservation, bird collisions and urban architecture, the Monarch Collaborative, and more.

Representatives from local government agencies, the American Bird Conservancy, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Nature Conservancy, and other speakers will give 15-minute presentations grouped by theme into sessions that will allow time for questions from the audience.

See a list of speakers.

Posters will also be displayed throughout both days of the conference. Attendees will have a chance to chat with poster authors during a 90-minute poster session on Friday afternoon.

See a list of posters.

Attendees will be able to continue their conversations and socialize from 6 to 8:30 Friday evening at the Iron Hog Saloon, a country-themed tavern and restaurant just a mile west of Forest Beach Migratory Preserve at the corner of Highways LL and P.

Registration is $25 a day ($15 for students). The fee includes morning coffee, lunch, and afternoon snacks.

Register today!

The 2018 Southeastern Wisconsin Conservation Summit is sponsored by the We Energies Foundation and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, with support from Thompson & Associates Wetland Services, LLC, and Conservation Strategies Group - Joanne Kline.

View a map of Forest Beach Migratory Preserve.

Order Bird Friendly® coffee from Bird City Wisconsin.


Order Bird Friendly Coffee from Bird City Wisconsin!

Birds & Beans Bird Friendly Coffee from Bird City Wisconsin

One of the most effective ways you can help migratory birds is to make sure the coffee you drink is Bird Friendly®.

And now, thanks to a new partnership between Bird City Wisconsin and Birds & Beans, getting Bird Friendly®-certified coffee is easier than ever.

You can purchase Birds & Beans Bird Friendly®-certified coffees via the Bird City Wisconsin website. Not only will you see the lowest prices on Birds & Beans coffee ever offered, but you'll get free shipping on every order!

Better yet, your purchase will support your local Bird City effort by helping your community meet a criterion on its Bird City application, and a portion of the sales through Bird City will come back to support Bird City Wisconsin.

You'll get great-tasting coffee, you'll help birds, and you'll support Bird City. It is a win all around!

You can choose from French roast (including decaf), medium or light roast, and espresso. Coffees come in 2 lb. and 5 lb. bags, in cases containing six 12 oz. packages, and in packages containing fifty 2.2 oz. pouches, each of which makes a 10- to 12-cup pot -- ideal for office use. Prices begin at $23.75 for a 2 lb. bag, and you can choose whole-bean or ground.

Place your order today!

A gold standard

Bird Friendly® coffees represent a gold standard in ethical and sustainable coffee business.

Coffees certified as Bird Friendly® are the world’s only shade-grown, organic coffees certified by third-party inspectors using criteria established by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. The criteria are based on years of research and have been proved scientifically to provide birds with habitat second only to undisturbed forest.

Bird Friendly®-certified coffees come from family farms in Latin America. The beans grow under biodiverse shade that sequesters carbon, fights climate change, and provides all-important habitat for migratory songbirds and other wildlife. Certification standards cover everything from canopy height to insect biodiversity.

This means that simply by drinking Bird Friendly®-certified coffees, you help preserve thousands of acres of prime tropical habitat and biodiversity, saving birds, family farms, and the Earth we all share.

Order your Bird Friendly® coffee here.


Birds & Beans, based in Boston, is the only coffee company in America (and Canada) that sells nothing but shade-grown Bird Friendly®-certified coffee.

Birds & Beans coffees are also certified Organic, meaning that they are produced under standards established by the USDA’s National Organic Program. Requirements include no use of prohibited substances on the land for at least three years. This includes most synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that are harmful to the environment.

In addition, Birds & Beans coffees are Fair Trade certified. You can be sure that the people who produce your coffee work in safe conditions, protect the environment, build sustainable livelihoods, and earn additional money to empower and uplift their communities.

This means Birds & Beans coffee is a triple-certified specialty coffee that actively supports multiple conservation initiatives. Bird City Wisconsin is proud to partner with the company, and we're delighted to offer its coffees to you.

Read about shade-grown coffee.

Read about different coffee certifications.



Registration closes Aug. 21 for September summit

Conference will tackle plunging populations of martins, swallows, swifts, and other insect-eaters.

Some of Wisconsin's most beloved birds -- Purple Martins, Chimney Swifts, Tree and Barn Swallows, Eastern Whip-poor-wills, and Common Nighthawks -- are in trouble. You can learn why and how to help them at an important conference in Pewaukee in early September. Register now to reserve your spot!

The event, titled S.O.S. for Our Flying Bug Eaters, is the combined annual meeting of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI) and biannual summit of Bird City Wisconsin's 109 communities. The conference will take place Sept. 6-8 at the Ingleside Hotel in Pewaukee. Registration for the conference closes Tuesday, Aug. 21.

Program schedule and speakers (PDF)

Registration form (PDF)

Online registration

"Conservation groups have taken notice and are beginning to address declines in these beneficial insect-eating birds, but citizens can help too," says Ryan Brady, a conservation biologist for the Department of Natural Resources and bird-monitoring coordinator for WBCI.

The time to act is now!

"We invite you to attend the conference to learn more about these birds, why we should be concerned, and the work being done to address the concerns. Most important, you can learn more about how you can help at home." 

Five reasons why you should attend the September WBCI/BCW meeting

Brady says that data from the federal Breeding Bird Survey indicate nearly a two percent decline in Chimney Swifts, a four percent decline in Bank Swallows, and a seven percent decline in Purple Martins in Wisconsin each year.

Along with other swallows, some flycatchers, and even bats, the birds are known as "aerial insectivores," species that feed on their insect prey in flight.

Causes of their declines are likely complex and involve multiple factors depending on the species, such as loss of foraging habitat, decreased availability of nesting sites, and increased predation, Brady says. The one feature shared by all the birds is a reliance on flying insects as a primary food source.

"Although solid long-term data is lacking, there is widespread belief that numbers of flying insects have declined dramatically in recent decades," he says.

Adds Karen Etter Hale, WBCI chair and Wisconsin Audubon Council's director of community relations: "Some of us remember from years ago how we had to scrape 'bugs' off our windshields. That hardly ever happens anymore."

Hale says that organizers from WBCI and Bird City Wisconsin thought that combining their meetings would offer the opportunity to expand efforts quickly on behalf of aerial insectivores.

She urges all Bird City communities, and all Wisconsin residents, to come and hear about these fascinating birds, to learn to visualize airspace as habitat, and to see what we all can do to help. "We can guarantee you'll head home inspired to take action in your own community," she says.

Conference website

Conference hotel

The combined meeting of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative and Bird City Wisconsin is sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, American Bird Conservancy, Madison Audubon Society, Western Great Lakes Birds and Bat Observatory, and Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, with additional funding provided by the Wisconsin Metro Audubon Society, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, and Jaeger-Mellerop Family Charitable Trust.