Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Bird City Grants Bolster Habitat in Fond du Lac and Sheboygan

Bird City Wisconsin Grant North Point Park Sheboygan

In May 2020, Bird City Wisconsin awarded small grants to six Bird City communities: Bayfield, Fond du Lac, Madison, Ozaukee County, Sheboygan, and Wausau.

Previously, we reported on how Bayfield used its grant to produce an interpretive sign to go near a new native-plant garden at the Gil Larsen Trailhead, gateway to the Big Ravine Preserve; how Madison created a wet-mesic native prairie on the Starkweather Creek watershed; how Ozaukee County installed nest boxes in restored prairie at two county parks; and how Wausau restored native plantings and erected educational signage on Barker-Stewart Island, located in the Wisconsin River in downtown Wausau.

In this issue, we tell what Fond du Lac and Sheboygan accomplished with their 2020 grants.

Fond du Lac, a High Flyer, has been a Bird City since 2012. Park and forestry superintendent John Redmond reports that the city used its grant to plant a swamp white oak as part of a long-term project to increase bird habitat in Lakeside Park, on the shore of Lake Winnebago. Swamp white oak grows attractive peeling bark, and its acorns are an important food source for birds.

"Our intention is to plant several of these trees along this area over the years," he writes. "If grant money allows, we also intend to plant some understory plant material as well, such as glossy black chokecherry, pagoda dogwood, and American cranberry."

Sheboygan has been a Bird City since 2013. Starr Gerk reports that Sheboygan applied its grant to a general fund set up for the removal of invasive species and the creation of bioswales, rain gardens, and educational signage in the bluff community in North Point Park. The city park is located on a rocky peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan. Its overlook is well known as a good spot to see an exceptional array of birds, especially during spring and fall migrations.

The City of Sheboygan, Lakeshore Natural Resources Partnership, Friends of North Point, Sheboygan River Basin Partnership, and Stantec Consulting Services have been collaborating on the multiyear bluff-restoration project.

Bird City Wisconsin’s small grants are intended to kickstart local projects that help Bird City communities create and protect bird habitat, educate residents about the many positive interactions between birds and people, and reduce threats to birds.

Bird City will award similar grants again in 2021. Thanks to all of you who have applied! We'll announce the grant recipients in May 2021.


Read more:

Read about the City of Fond du Lac, a High Flyer.

Read about Sheboygan.

Bird City Grant Enhances Access to Big Ravine Preserve in Bayfield

Bird City Grant Helps Restore Prairie along Starkweather Creek in Madison

Bird City Grant Helps Install Nest Boxes in Ozaukee County

Bird City Grant Helps Restore Bird Habitat on Barker-Stewart Island


Congratulations to 2021 Bird Cities!

Bird City Wisconsin

Congratulations to the communities listed below on completing their annual renewal applications!

We look forward to distributing our list of 2021 Bird Cities in the days ahead. In addition to posting it on our website, we’ll feature it on displays that we take to festivals, conferences, and other gatherings, and we’ll print it in our brochure.

If you don’t see your community on the list, which is current as of April 7, 2021, contact Bird City director Chuck Hagner right away at . Even at this late date, he would be happy to work with you to complete your renewal, making sure your community is recognized on our website and in our new promotional materials for the steps you’ve taken to be friendlier for birds and healthier for people.

Bailey's Harbor
Beaver Dam
Brown County
Brown Deer
De Soto
Door County
Eau Claire
Egg Harbor
Elm Grove
Fond du Lac
Fontana-on-Geneva Lake
Fox Point
Green Bay
Green Lake
Hales Corners
Kenosha County
Kenosha (City)
La Crosse
Lake Geneva
Manitowish Waters
Marquette County
Milwaukee (City)
Milwaukee County
New London
Ozaukee County
Port Wing
Prairie du Chien
Presque Isle
Rice Lake
River Falls
River Hills
Sauk City/Prairie du Sac
Shorewood Hills
Stevens Point
Sturgeon Bay
Taylor County
Washington Island
West Bend
Whitefish Bay
Williams Bay
Wisconsin Rapids


This year we were also happy to welcome as new Bird Cities Greenfield and Wauwatosa, which did not need to renew this year.


Read more:

Go to the apply and renew page.

View our recognition criteria.

See a list of all Bird Cities.


A Milestone for Stevens Point and Dr. Kent Hall

Stevens Point Mike Wiza Kent Hall Bird City Wisconsin

The City of Stevens Point took the occasion of its recognition as a Bird City Wisconsin community for the 12th consecutive year to honor one of its distinguished citizens who has played a pivotal role in bird conservation both locally and statewide.

“Dr. Kent Hall has been instrumental in the city receiving this award,” said Mayor Mike Wiza. “There are countless hours invested in compiling information and highlighting everything we do from a conservation standpoint, from our solar initiatives, carbon footprint reductions, composting program, habitat maintenance and restoration, and our Tree City USA status. Everything gets tied together.”

Kent is conservation chair of the Aldo Leopold Audubon Society, and Bird City Wisconsin recognition is a cooperative effort between the city and the society. Recognition is given only to municipalities that have special conservation projects for birds and a demonstrated quality of life for residents.

Stevens Point was one of 15 inaugural Bird City communities recognized in 2010. Bird City now recognizes some 100 municipalities each year, but only about 25 qualify as “High Flyer” communities. Stevens Point has attained the High Flyer level for the past 11 years.

“To be a High Flyer for 11 straight years is huge accomplishment and a testament to the knowledge and passion that Kent brings to bird conservation,” said Bird City director Chuck Hagner. “Stevens Point is a better place because of his efforts, as is the Bird City program as a whole.”

“I’d like to thank Kent for all of his dedicated work on this project," Mayor Wiza added. “He’s going to step back from his work on this, and we have several people taking the reins going forward. His passion for conservation and environmental stewardship will continue to motivate others.”

Kent was a founding member of the Bird City Wisconsin Steering Committee, on which he still serves. In that role, Hall has demonstrated his tenacious commitment to broad-scale projects that bring people together to achieve enduring conservation results. Kent brought to the launch of Bird City an impressive record as a biologist, educator, fund-raiser and bluebird fanatic, and he pooled all those experiences into guiding a program that is turning out to be the most impactful yet in his long conservation career.

In 2015 Kent was awarded the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology’s Noel J. Cutright Conservation Award for spearheading the successful restoration of the Eastern Bluebird in Wisconsin and for his leadership roles with the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (now Partnership), the Aldo Leopold society, and the Wisconsin Audubon Council, as well as his tireless advocacy for Bird City.

Kent actively recruited Stevens Point to become one of the inaugural communities, he played a similar role with the Village of Plover, and he helped mentor and recognize additional communities in that region. Internally at Bird City, he has assisted with fund-raising and championed major revisions in Bird City’s recognition criteria to emphasize sustainability, groundwater protection and the need to confront climate change.


Read more:

See a list of all Bird City communities.

Read about Stevens Point, a High Flyer.

Read about the Village of Plover.

Aldo Leopold Audubon Society.


Is It Time to Update Your Street Signs?

Bird City Wisconsin Street Sign

How can you tell if your community's street signs need updating? Look at the bottom of the signs. If the orange stickers say, "SUSTAINED FLIGHT," and indicate a number of years, then your signs are out of date. The signs should say "SINCE [year]," as shown in the photo at right.

Updating your signs is easy, and you'll have to update them only once. Follow the directions below to remove the old stickers and apply new ones. To obtain new stickers, send an email to .

What you'll need to update your street signs:

  • New "SINCE" and year stickers
  • Razor blade
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Rag
  • Goof Off, Goo Gone, or similar product
  • Credit card (for smoothing)

How to remove old stickers:

  • Remove both the old "SUSTAINED FLIGHT" sticker and the old "# YEARS" sticker.
  • Using a razor blade placed flat against the sign so you don't scratch the surface, gently push against the edge of a sticker to lift a corner.
  • Slowly pull the sticker off using a needle-nose pliers or your fingers.
  • Using a rag and rubbing alcohol or an adhesive remover, wipe away any residual adhesive.

How to apply your new stickers:

  • Both the new "SINCE" sticker and the new year sticker go beneath the word "WISCONSIN."
  • Remove the white paper backing from the sticker, exposing the adhesive on the back of the letters/numbers.
  • Align the bottom edge of the orange letters/numbers 1/2 inch from the bottom of the sign. Leave space between the "SINCE" and year stickers for the screw used to hang the sign.
  • Applying a little force, use a credit card to ensure that the sticker adheres to the sign fully.
  • Very slowly, peel off the transparent paper. (If there is a bubble, pierce it with a pin.)

What about "High Flyer" stickers?

If your community has earned High Flyer status, congratulations! Follow the instructions above to place your "High Flyer" sticker in the dark green greenery above the word "CITY."

To obtain new stickers, send an email to .


Read more:

Order replacement street signs.

View recent issues of our free e-newsletter.


Bird City Grant Helps Restore Bird Habitat on Barker-Stewart Island

Barker-Stewart Island, Wausau Bird Club, Bird City Wisconsin

In 2020, Bird City Wisconsin awarded small grants to six deserving Bird City communities: Bayfield, Fond du Lac, Madison, Ozaukee County, Sheboygan, and Wausau. Here’s what Wausau, a High Flyer, accomplished with its award.

Susan Haug, the bird club's treasurer, reports that the Wausau Bird Club had received the blessing of the Wausau/Marathon County Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department in 2019 to undertake a long-term restoration of bird habitat on Barker-Stewart Island, the wooded 15-acre island located in the Wisconsin River in the center of Wausau.

In April of that year, volunteers from the bird club removed invasive species and installed two bur oak and three red maple trees, as well as five nannyberry viburnum and five gray dogwood shrubs on the island. "The hard part of the project was keeping the plantings watered," Susan says, "as the Wisconsin River was drawn down last summer for dam maintenance. It was hard to draw buckets of water."

In May 2020, the club assembled a masked volunteer work crew and planted even more native plants: five Valley Forge elm trees and 10 American hazelnut shrubs.

"Many members of the Wausau Bird Club volunteered weekly throughout the summer and fall to take turns to water the plantings," Susan reports. The dedicated crew either carried buckets filled from the Wisconsin River or used a pump to fill the buckets with river water.

Using grant money awarded by Bird City Wisconsin, along with member dues and money raised by the bird club’s successful Great Wisconsin Birdathon team, the bird club plans to purchase additional native materials for planting in the spring of 2021.

In addition, Susan says, the grant money enabled the club to begin the process of creating an educational sign that explains the importance of using native species, showcases the benefit of native plants to birds, and explains that planting natives is something everyone can do in their own yard. The sign will be erected on Barker-Stewart Island in spring 2021.

Bird City Wisconsin’s small grants are intended to kickstart local projects that help Bird City communities create and protect bird habitat, educate residents about the many positive interactions between birds and people, and reduce threats to birds.

Bird City will award similar grants again in 2021, and applications for them are being accepted now. The deadline for applying is March 31, 2021.


Read more:

Bird City Kicks Off Second Year of Small Grants

Bird City Grant Helps Install Nest Boxes in Ozaukee County

Bird City Grant Helps Restore Prairie along Starkweather Creek in Madison

Bird City Awards Grants to Six Communities

Read about the City of Wausau, a High Flyer.