Purpose of Species Accounts Component
The species accounts component of the Wisconsin All-bird Conservation Plan was designed to give relevant conservation information on each bird species that breeds, migrates through, or winters in Wisconsin. These accounts are dynamic documents, meaning they will be updated periodically as new information comes to light. Much of the information within these accounts is available from numerous local, state, and national sources but has never been compiled into one unifying document and made available for a broad Wisconsin audience. 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 species 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 species will be linked to other sections of the plan pertaining to that species. For instance, a reader seeking information from the Connecticut Warbler species account might be linked to the Northwest Sands Ecological Landscape, the Jack Pine habitat page, or the Namekagon Barrens Key Sites page. In this way, readers gain a holistic view of the conservation opportunities available.
The overall goal of bird conservation efforts in Wisconsin should be to guide conservation policies and actions that will have the greatest impact on regional bird populations. In order to do this, WBCI developed a priority species list that identified bird species of greatest conservation need within Wisconsin. The species prioritization process was not meant to be restrictive, but rather inclusive of the numerous planning efforts that preceded this one. Thus, WBCI stepped down the high priority species from the four national bird conservation plans as well as regional planning documents and Wisconsin’s Wildlife Action Plan into one comprehensive list. The sources for our priority species list are:
The North American Waterfowl Management Plan defines the needs, priorities, and conservation strategies for the 50 species of waterfowl (ducks, geese, swans) occurring in North America. The Wisconsin All-bird Conservation Plan stepped down those waterfowl species of High continental conservation priority or High breeding or non-breeding need within Waterfowl Conservation Regions (WCRs) 12 and 23, excluding those not occurring in manageable numbers within Wisconsin. For example, a high priority species such as Black Scoter was not included because of its relative scarcity in Wisconsin. The Giant race of Canada Goose, another high priority species, was not included because it has already surpassed its established population objectives. The national plan is available at http://www.nawmp.ca/eng/biol_e.html and an Upper Mississippi Valley/Great Lakes Waterfowl Habitat Conservation Strategy covering Wisconsin is in review.
The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan provides a continental-scale framework for the conservation and management of 210 species of waterbirds, including seabirds, coastal waterbirds, wading birds, and marshbirds utilizing aquatic habitats in 29 nations throughout North America, Central America, and the surrounding islands and pelagic waters. The Upper Mississippi Valley/Great Lakes Waterbird Conservation Plan assesses only the 46 regularly-occurring waterbirds of this region, which contains Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) 12 and 23 covering Wisconsin. The Wisconsin All-bird Conservation Plan stepped down those waterbird species of High continental or regional concern that occur in manageable numbers within the state. High priority species such as Least Terns were not included because of their relative scarcity in Wisconsin. The national plan is available at http://www.waterbirdconservation.org/pubs and the regional plan covering Wisconsin is in review.
The United States Shorebird Conservation Plan identifies habitat, outreach, and research needs as well as regional conservation goals for the 50 species of shorebirds (e.g., sandpipers, yellowlegs, phalaropes, plovers) that regularly breed or occur in the U.S. A revised shorebird conservation assessment was published in 2004 and also is incorporated into the WBCI priority list. The Upper Mississippi Valley/Great Lakes Shorebird Conservation Plan assesses only the 32 regularly-occurring shorebirds within the region, which contains Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) 12 and 23 covering Wisconsin. The Wisconsin All-bird Conservation Plan stepped down those shorebird species of High national or regional conservation priority that occur in manageable numbers within the state. For example, a high priority species such as Red Knot was not included because of its relative scarcity in the state. The national and regional plans are available at http://www.fws.gov/shorebirdplan/USShorebird.htm.
Partners in Flight North American Landbird Conservation Plan provides a continental assessment of the 448 native landbird species (e.g., warblers, raptors, gallinaceous birds, doves, corvids, sparrows) that breed in the U.S. and Canada. The Wisconsin All-bird Conservation Plan stepped down all Watch List species that occur in manageable numbers within Wisconsin during the breeding or non-breeding season. A Watch List species such as Swainson’s Hawk was not included because of its relative scarcity in the state. Tier I and II priority species from the BCR 23 and BCR 12 plan were also included if they occurred in manageable numbers. The continental plan is available at http://www.partnersinflight.org and the regional plan that includes northern Wisconsin (BCR 12) is in review.
Wisconsin’s Wildlife Action Plan defines conservation opportunities for the species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) in Wisconsin and their habitats. Many of the SGCN species overlap with priority species from the broader planning efforts but take into account state threatened and endangered species that may not be recognized in national prioritization schemes.
Guide to Species Account Template
Species Distribution Map – Distribution maps were taken from the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas (see: http://www.uwgb.edu/birds/wbba). Future iterations of the Wisconsin All-bird Conservation Plan will delineate the non-breeding distributions for all priority species.
Status – The status section provides an overview of each species’ global and state rank as well as its WBCI priority status. Rankings are assigned by Natureserve in cooperation with the Bureau of Endangered Resources of Wisconsin DNR and can be viewed at http://www.natureserve.org/explorer or http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/er/wlist. The WBCI priority status is derived from the prioritization schemes listed above and includes the following five codes: SBIRD, WBIRD, WFOWL, PIF, and SGCN.
Population Information - This section synthesizes the current information on long-term population trends at several geographical scales. Whenever applicable, it includes data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, the Wisconsin Checklist Project, and other relevant regional and local surveys. For species that are not well-monitored and lack population data, N/A is listed.
Life History - This section provides a concise review of basic life history information from a number of literature sources, including the Birder’s Handbook, the Birds of North America series, and Wisconsin Birdlife by Sam Robbins. Whenever appropriate, the Breeding Habitat, Winter Habitat, and Habitat use during Migration sections differentiate WBCI priority habitats in capital letters, e.g., Bottomland Hardwood.
Habitat Selection - This section describes local- and landscape-scale habitat requirements but targets information relevant to Wisconsin and the upper Midwest. It primarily includes information for the life cycle phase most relevant to Wisconsin’s populations, but may include information for all phases in some cases.
Habitat Availability - This section attempts to answer the basic question “How much habitat exists in Wisconsin for this species?” Obviously, this is a very difficult question to answer and may have required account authors to rely on expert opinions. For those habitats with formal state assessments, more detailed information was provided.
Population Concerns - This section summarizes the major conservation concerns for each species throughout Wisconsin and its entire range. For species that aren’t well-studied, authors used expert opinion to hypothesize on limiting factors.
Recommended Management - This section concisely summarizes management recommendations from other sources that are relevant to Wisconsin. When management recommendations were not available, WBCI developed general management guidelines designed to benefit a suite of species with similar habitat needs.
Research Needs – This section identifies information gaps pertaining to each priority species, with special emphasis on those research questions relevant to Wisconsin. This section will be updated as WBCI completes the Coordinated Bird Monitoring plan.
Information Sources - This section includes information sources that were helpful to the account authors that are accessible to the general public in electronic or hardcopy format.