Wisconsin Important Bird Areas

Conserving the most important places for birds

Avon Bottoms

Site Description

This site on the Sugar River includes the Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area and Avon Bottoms and Swenson Wet Prairie State Natural Areas.  It contains mature floodplain forest and is one of the few sites in Wisconsin that has southern tree species such as sycamore.  Smaller areas of native and planted prairie, cool-season grasses, and oak savanna also are found here, including high-quality wet prairie and sedge meadow at the Swenson Wet Prairie SNA.

NRCS has acquired some 3,000 acres of conservation easements on private lands surrounding Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area and will be restoring these croplands throughout 2010, widening the floodplain forest corridor along the Sugar River and planting wet prairie.  These restorations will greatly increase habitat availability for floodplain forest and wet grassland birds and is a fortuitous and fitting way to mark the 50th anniversary of Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area, which it celebrates in 2010.

Ornithological Importance

Avon Bottoms provides habitat for numerous floodplain forest species, including yellow-crowned night-heron, red-shouldered hawk, prothonotary warbler, cerulean warbler, yellow-billed cuckoo, and wood thrush.  Grassland areas support small numbers of Henslow’s sparrow, field sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, and Eastern meadowlark.  The ongoing restorations should provide for increased numbers of all these species.

Avon Bottoms, photo by Andy Paulios

Avon Bottoms, photo by Andy Paulios