Habitat Component

Purpose of Habitat Component

The habitat component of the Wisconsin All-bird Conservation Plan includes all habitats important to Wisconsin’s priority bird species and contains current information on species occurrences, management recommendations, research needs and implementation strategies. These accounts are dynamic documents, meaning they will be updated periodically as new information comes to light. The goal of these accounts was not to duplicate previous efforts, but rather to provide a concise summary of the relevant conservation information for each bird habitat and direct readers to additional sources of information. Furthermore, the Wisconsin All-bird Conservation Plan is formatted so that readers entering the plan to gain information on a particular habitat will be linked to other sections of the plan pertaining to that habitat. For instance, a reader seeking information from the Jack Pine habitat page might be linked to the Northwest Sands Ecological Landscape, the Connecticut Warbler species account, or the Namekagon Barrens Key Sites page. In this way, readers gain a holistic view of the conservation opportunities available.

Guide to the Habitat Page Template

Habitat Description

This section is divided into five sub-categories to help the reader understand and visualize each habitat and its status in Wisconsin.

Habitat Crosswalk
One of the most difficult steps in the entire WBCI planning process was creating a habitat language that was relevant to all our partners. The habitat crosswalk provides a comparison of the WBCI habitat terminology with analogous terms from other classification systems. For further information on these habitat classifications, please see the reference cited after each.

The introduction provides an overview of dominant plant species and ecological characteristics of each habitat. The level of detail in this section varies depending on the complexity of the habitat.

Historical and Present-day Context and Distribution
This section describes changes to the distribution and abundance of each habitat since European settlement and summarizes its current status in the state. The amount of information available for each habitat varies considerably depending on historical records and current land inventories.

Natural Disturbances and Threats
This section provides an overview of the natural disturbances that perpetuate each habitat type and threats to these successional events or the habitats themselves.

Related WBCI Habitats
This section lists similar or interconnected habitats included within the All-bird Conservation Plan.

Overall Importance of Habitat to Birds

This section describes how each habitat contributes to Wisconsin’s bird communities. It is not meant to be an exhaustive summary of all species occurring within a particular habitat, but rather a concise synopsis of the high conservation priority species. Bird species or guilds restricted to a particular habitat (i.e., specialists) are highlighted as well as WBCI priority species that commonly occur there. These descriptions can be easily paraphrased or quoted for grant opportunities involving restoration and/or management of this habitat type. 

Priority Birds

This table lists WBCI priority species that occur in manageable numbers within a given habitat type and provides information on the species’ status and habitat features necessary for its occurrence. Special habitat features might include information on area sensitivity, nesting requirements, or food preferences. The Status codes include:

B = common breeding species, b = uncommon or rare breeding species;
M = common migrant, m = uncommon or rare migrant;
W = common wintering species, w = uncommon or rare wintering species;
F = commonly forages in this habitat, f = uncommon or rarely forages in this habitat


Although not yet complete, this section will eventually provide prescriptive habitat objectives based on a suite of focal species. Similar efforts by the Upper Mississippi River/Great Lakes Region Joint Venture will be included.

Management Recommendations

This section includes landscape-scale and site-level recommendations to create or enhance bird habitat. Because each habitat supports a diverse bird community, these recommendations emphasize the need to manage for multiple species and thus a variety of conditions.

Ecological Opportunities

This table directs the reader to where the greatest management opportunities exist for a particular habitat. It also links management recommendations from the previous section to applicable landscapes since recommendations targeted at bird species with disjunct ranges would not be appropriate for all landscapes.

WBCI adopted the opportunity classification from both the Ecosystem Management and Wildlife Action plans for Wisconsin. A determination was made as to whether each habitat represents a major opportunity, an important opportunity, or whether it is simply present but not a priority within each Ecological Landscape. Ecological Landscapes not listed in this table do not contain management opportunities. The opportunity terms include:

Major = a major opportunity for sustaining this habitat in the Ecological Landscape exists, either because many significant occurrences have been recorded in the landscape or major restoration activities are likely to successfully maintain a functional ecological community.

Important = although this habitat does not occur extensively or commonly in the Ecological Landscape, one to several occurrences are present and important in sustaining the community in the state. In some cases, important opportunities may exist because this habitat may be restricted to just one or a few Ecological Landscapes and there may be a lack of opportunities elsewhere in the state.

Present = this habitat occurs in the Ecological Landscape, but better management opportunities appear to exist in other parts of the state.

Research Needs

This section identifies priority research projects that would better inform and guide bird conservation efforts. This section will be updated as WBCI completes the Coordinated Bird Monitoring plan.


This section orients the reader towards key sites and partners, funding sources, and technical guidance that can assist with conservation implementation strategies.

Key Sites

This section lists sites where major opportunities for management or restoration of a given habitat type exist.

Key Partners
Partners listed in this section can be contacted through either the link provided or the WBCI partners’ webpage http://www.wisconsinbirds.org/endorsers.htm. The reader is urged to contact any of these groups for more information and potential collaborative conservation opportunities.  If partners are not listed that should be listed, please forward them to the WBCI coordinator.

Funding Sources
Funding sources listed in this section are available on an annual basis for implementing conservation goals in this habitat type. WBCI will gladly add other relevant funding sources as they become available.

Information Sources
This section lists information sources that were helpful to the author or that provide additional technical guidance. 

Kreitinger, K., Y. Steele and A. Paulios, editors. 2013.
The Wisconsin All-bird Conservation Plan, Version 2.0. Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Madison, WI.

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