Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

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

Here are five reasons why Bird City Wisconsin communities -- and municipalities that want to earn recognition as Bird Cities -- should attend the upcoming Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative/Bird City Wisconsin conference.

The event, titled “S.O.S. for Our Flying Bug Eaters,” will be held September 6-8, 2018, at the Ingleside Hotel in Waukesha.

Reason 1: Two fun Chimney Swift outings. You'll get to enjoy Swift Night Out field trips on Thursday and Friday evening. The outings present opportunities to see how easily you could establish a swift-monitoring program in your community. Demonstrating that your community is represented in a citizen science bird-monitoring program like a Swift Night Out could earn your community one point on an application to become a Bird City or to achieve High Flyer status.

Reason 2: Lots of swift nesting and roosting info. Not only will Sandy Schwab, from the Wisconsin Chimney Swift Working Group, give a presentation about conserving Chimney Swifts in urban landscapes, but Dr. Bryan Lenz, past director of Bird City Wisconsin, will describe Chimney Swift monitoring in Green Bay and Milwaukee. What’s more, on Saturday, there will be a lightning roundtable presentation of best ideas for nest boxes, nest structures, and other citizen science activities to benefit aerial insectivores, including swifts. All three events will provide information you can use (and lots of it) to satisfy another Bird City requirement. Demonstrating the implementation of a program either to preserve Chimney Swift nesting and roosting sites or to construct swift towers can earn your community two points on its Bird City application.

Reason 3: Purple Martin know-how. You'll get to learn about Purple Martins from an expert -- Master Bander Dick Nikolai, a board member of the Wisconsin Purple Martin Association. Dick has decades of experience banding martins in Wisconsin; if you have a question about the species, Dick probably knows the answer. Take advantage of his know-how: Documenting the establishment of a program to promote the conservation of Purple Martins through research, state-of-the-art management techniques, or public education could earn your community two points on a Bird City application.

Reason 4: Understanding pesticides. Another expert, Sarah Warner, an environmental contaminants biologist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will give an important talk about pesticides and their effect on the insects that aerial insectivores need to survive. Showing that your municipality practices Integrated Pest Management, using natural pest control and the best-available science to minimize pesticide and herbicide use, could be worth one point on an application to become a Bird City or to achieve High Flyer status. Sarah will present the science linking increasing pesticide use with falling numbers of swifts, martins, swallows, and other aerial insectivores -- it might be just what you need to lay out a persuasive case before decision makers in your community.

Reason 5: Great friend-making and information-sharing opportunities. The conference will give you many opportunities to get to know representatives of other Bird City communities. You’ll have time to ask questions, swap tips, and make friends throughout the weekend, and especially at a Thursday-evening get-together at a local brewhouse, during provided continental breakfasts on Friday and Saturday, and at two provided hour-long lunches.

See the conference agenda and get registration details.

And don't delay! The deadline for registering for the conference is Tuesday, August 21, but special discounted rates at the Ingleside Hotel are available only until Monday, August 6. 

See the complete list of requirements for becoming a Bird City.

We'll look for you there!