WBCI’s latest strategic plan identified Important Bird Areas as an area of renewed focus. Toward that end, Tom Prestby, an environmental scientist with GEI Consultants, has been hired for 2020 to (1) assess and prioritize needs at Wisconsin’s 93 IBAs, and (2) identify conservation opportunities and strategies in the highest-priority IBAs. Welcome Tom!
Bird City Wisconsin Bird City now offers small grants to its communities. Get this and other news on helping birds in their latest newsletter. Learn more >>>
Raptor Education Group, Inc. 2019 was an eventful year for the renowned rehabilitation and education team from Antigo. Learn more >>>
Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory New science director, new location, new editor. WGLBBO has seen big changes of late but expect more of the same great work for birds. Learn more >>>
Wisconsin Society for Ornithology offers convention, field trips WSO’s annual convention will be held May 14-17 in Two Rivers. The organization also offers a great slate of monthly field trips. Non-members are welcome to attend. Learn more >>>
The Wisconsin Stopover Initiative, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin DNR have partnered to develop an important resource for identifying, prioritizing, and conserving migratory bird stopover sites along Lake Michigan, where habitat loss and degradation is significant yet tens of millions of birds migrate through each spring and fall. Check it out and share with land and conservation managers in your area:
Do you love coordinating events and engaging a community for a great cause? The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin is looking for a passionate, creative individual to join their team as our Great Wisconsin Birdathon Coordinator! The Birdathon has raised over $500,000 for priority bird conservation projects in the state. Applicants with a background in fundraising, marketing, outreach, events, and a passion for Wisconsin bird conservation are encouraged to apply. Applications are due November 22. Learn more>>>
PROJECT BACKGROUND: The Important Bird Areas (IBA) program is an international effort, with a global network of more than 12,000 IBAs identified in 200 countries, that exists to identify and encourage voluntary protection of critical habitat for birds throughout their annual lifecycle — breeding, migration, wintering.
In Wisconsin, there are 93 IBAs, and the program is coordinated by the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI), a coalition of 180 organizations dedicated to conserving birds.
To date, WBCI’s IBA-related efforts have focused exclusively on identification and designation of new areas. While this is an important first step, WBCI recognizes that proactive coordination will be critical for conservation efforts within IBAs to reach their full potential. Statewide coordination for 93 diverse IBAs would need to be well-defined and focused.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The goal of this project is to develop a process (e.g. Threats & Opportunities Matrix) for assessing and prioritizing Wisconsin IBAs based on a range of criteria. Data collection and analysis will include: 1) a general assessment of the conservation values of each existing IBA, 2) defining the short- and long-term threats to habitat loss and degradation and their potential resilience in the face of climate change, and 3) contacting local stakeholders to assess the human capital and local organizational capacity.
Over the course of this 12-month contract, the project manager will work with the WBCI steering committee, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, local stakeholders, and other experts to develop the assessment.
Based on the assessment, by the end of 2020, the project manager will have worked with WBCI’s IBA Committee to 1) identify conservation opportunities in 5-15 high-priority IBAs, and 2) identify strategies, including key stakeholders and potential funders, for launching bird conservation partnerships at these priority IBAs.
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED: This project/position requires strong analytical and organization skills, experience working with a wide range of conservation partners, excellent oral and written communication skills, and knowledge of IBA program policies and procedures. A degree in avian ecology, conservation biology, wildlife management, or a related field will be preferred. Grant writing experience and knowledge of conservation funding sources desired. Limit your cover letter and proposal to two pages and attach a resume.
The 2019 State of the Birds Report is out! The report draws upon trends reported in last week’s big study on bird declines, highlights conservation successes to learn from, and outlines policies needed to help state agencies and their partners reverse declines moving forward, including the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. Learn more at https://www.stateofthebirds.org/2019/
Wisconsin has a rich history of wildlife conservation. WBCI and its partners adopted a new strategic plan in 2018 and is set to embark on phase two of its Important Bird Area program. The Natural Resource Foundation of Wisconsin’s Bird Protection Fund just surpassed the $1 million mark in fundraising for priority bird conservation projects here. Field work for Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II is now complete, results of this landmark survey effort coming in just a few short years. Bird City Wisconsin has grown to more than 110 recognized communities, and the Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory has become a regional leader in bird education and monitoring. There’s a lot to be excited about yet much work to do. We can all make a difference, and the time to act is now!
We know conservation works when we invest in it. The same study on bird declines showed increases in populations of raptors thanks to the banning of DDT and endangered species legislation for species like bald eagles and peregrine falcons. Waterfowl populations are up by 35 million, or 56%, as a result of billions of dollars of private and government funding for wetland protection and restoration. We need to expand these models to other birds and their habitats. A promising piece of legislation now sits in the House of Representatives. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would provide a major boost of dedicated funding for states to implement their Wildlife Action Plans for species of greatest conservation need. Ask your congressional representatives to support the Act today!