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November's colder temperatures and snow flurries are sure signs of two things in Wisconsin: that White-throated Sparrows, juncos, and other northern birds will soon reappear at backyard feeders, and that it’s time for Bird City communities to start work on their annual renewals.

Renewing is a powerful way to demonstrate that your community is a great place to work, live, take a vacation, and do some bird watching. It signals that you and your fellow residents want to be counted in Bird City’s statewide network of conservation advocates. And it’s a superb way for your hometown to be recognized publicly for steps it has already taken to be both friendlier for birds and healthier for people. So don’t put off this important task! Renewals for 2020 are due by January 31.

Like last year, you can complete the entire renewal process electronically, on the Bird City Wisconsin website.

First steps: The best way to start is to compile a list of the new bird- and people-friendly actions that your community completed in 2019. Then gather your team members and review your community’s narrative on the Bird City website. Look for references to past actions that are out of date and need updating and for criteria that match your community’s new accomplishments. Then start writing!

Find your community's narrative.

How to update your narrative: Click the “APPLY/RENEW” tab in the orange band at the top of this page. This will take you to the Apply & Renew Page. Then click the blue “Renew Here” button to log in. After logging in, you will see a number of tabs. We recommend starting with the tab on the left, the instructions.

Forgot your password? Simply send an email to Bird City director Chuck Hagner right away. (You can reach Chuck by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..) He will send you a new password.

No longer your community’s rep? The Bird City website allows the email address of only one representative from each community to be used to log in. If you’re no longer the person responsible for updating your community’s account, don’t worry; Chuck can change the email address associated with your account at any time. Simply send him the name and email address of your community’s new representative (or have that person contact Chuck right away). He will get him or her into the system pronto.

Dates to remember: All Wisconsin communities can submit new applications to become Bird Cities at any time of the year (we review applications every March 1, July 1, and November 1), but renewals are due every year on January 31.

How much does it cost? The fee for applications and annual renewals is $125. We accept payment by check or credit card. If you send a check, please make it out to “Bird City Wisconsin.”

When you’re finished, we’ll send you a signed certificate that you can display at City Hall, the public library, or another municipal center, and you’ll have an updated web page on which your community can tout its accomplishments. Even more valuable, you’ll be able to say that your community is one of Wisconsin’s most desirable places to live and work.

Apply and renew your Bird City status.

See a list of Bird City communities.


Note: Effective in 2022, the fee to apply for recognition as a Bird City and to renew will no longer be $125, as written here, but $175.