Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative

A cooperative partnership to deliver the full spectrum of bird conservation emphasizing volunteer stewardship.

Great Wisconsin Birdathon underway!

Posted on Apr 12, 2019 by Ryan Brady   No Comments Yet

The official birding start period for Birdathon 2019 begins Monday, April 15, and lasts until June 15. This year the Birdathon aims to raise $90,000 for the Bird Protection Fund, and with early team fundraising and fundraiser field trip registrations, we’re well on our way to our goal.

From the youth teams of Mr. Dargatz’s Nature Kindergarten and Wilder’s Wild Warbler Watchers, to the veteran Birdathoners of the Cutright’s Old Coots and Reckless Wrens, the Birdathon is for all ages and skill levels. We encourage environmental organizations to participate and take half their earnings back home for their own projects. Visit the Birdathon website to sign up and read about the top teams, the photo contest, and our Bird(athon) and Beers! kickoff event. Follow us on Facebook for team stories and birding news throughout the season.

Will the Secretary Birds break 200 species this year? Will the Old Coots break their fundraising record–again? How many miles will our green teams log with their bikes and kayaks? We’re looking forward to another season of stories and fun. Birdathon on!

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5 Ways to Help Birds through Spring Snowstorms

Posted on Apr 12, 2019 by Ryan Brady   No Comments Yet

Another April snowstorm is bearing down on portions of Wisconsin and the upper Midwest. Although such spring snowstorms are common in Wisconsin, the impacts on early migrants can be significant if the snow is deep and persists for more than a couple days. Getting snow near you? Here are some of the best ways you can help our early migrants and other birds through the adverse conditions.

  1. Clear snow to expose patches of bare ground. This will give ground-feeding birds like robins, hermit thrushes, woodcock, flickers, and sparrows critical access to natural foods.
  2. Offer suet and peanut chunks, in addition to sunflower seed (many species), nyjer seed (small finches), and white millet (sparrows, doves). These fatty foods may attract sapsuckers, robins, yellow-rumped warblers, and other species that don’t often frequent feeders.
  3. Offer mealworms, raisins, and/or frozen fruits. Live mealworms are best but can be hard to find. Dried mealworms often work. Fruits should be soaked and chopped if possible. Robins, bluebirds, and some insect-eating species may take advantage.
  4. Keep feeders full, free of snow and as dry as possible. Clear snow periodically during the storm and switch out seed if fully saturated.
  5. Provide birds shelter from snow and wind. Place feeders/seed where snow is least likely to pile up. Put a picnic table on its side or create a brush pile to shield birds from the feeding area. Make sure nest boxes are clean and ready for tenants like roosting bluebirds, chickadees, or tree swallows.
Fox, Song, and White-throated Sparrows by Ryan Brady

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Major Accomplishments of WBCI: 2002-2017

Posted on Mar 12, 2019 by Ryan Brady   No Comments Yet

Since its creation in 2002, the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative has made remarkable gains for bird conservation, not the least bringing together 180 organizations to work collaboratively toward common goals. Our power is in our partnerships. From Important Bird Areas to the Great Wisconsin Birding & Nature Trail, learn more about our most outstanding achievements to date.

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Great Backyard Bird Count: February 15-18

Posted on Feb 7, 2019 by Ryan Brady   No Comments Yet

Running from February 15-18, this fun and easy event provides scientists a snapshot of late winter bird populations worldwide. And it’s not even limited to your backyard! Go birding anywhere you want for at least 15 minutes and report the birds you can identify. Learn more >>>

Northern Cardinal with temps well below zero. Photo by Lisa-Ashley Smith.

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How Chickadees and Other Small Birds Survive Severe Cold

Posted on Feb 7, 2019 by Ryan Brady   No Comments Yet

Brrrr! It’s been cold across the state of late, creating challenges for us and many wildlife alike. Small birds like chickadees seem especially vulnerable yet time and again they persist. How do they do it? In short, a mix of behavioral and physiological adaptations. Learn more >>>

Birds like this Black-capped Chickadee often puff up their feathers to trap heat during severe cold. Photo by Ryan Brady.

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New Trend Data Available via eBird and Audubon CBCs

Posted on Feb 7, 2019 by Ryan Brady   No Comments Yet

eBird Status and Trends Assessments Now Available
A new era of eBird Science is here: Status and Trends. Your sightings to www.ebird.org and novel analysis methods have combined to create detailed population information for 107 species of North American birds. Learn more and explore exciting new results here. Citizen science at its finest!

Christmas Bird Count Trends Now Available
The 119th year of Christmas Bird Counts has been completed, and now we can better see some of the fruits of this long-running citizen science effort. Use this tool from National Audubon to view population trends for your favorite species!

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Walk-ins welcome for WBCI conference, Sept 6-8

Posted on Aug 26, 2018 by Ryan Brady   No Comments Yet

WBCI’s 2018 annual meeting is just around the corner. With a focus on declining populations of aerial insectivores — swifts, swallows, nightjars, & more — the conference will be held September 6-8 in Waukesha. The hotel and registration deadlines have past but organizers still welcome walk-ins, who must secure their own lodging, meals, and refreshments during the event. To learn more or register, visit the conference website here.

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