Thursday, October 8, 2015

Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory news

Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory news

The latest news from the Observatory:

Offshore Waterfowl/Waterbird Surveys

The offshore Great Lakes Commission waterbird survey meeting with the survey teams (which include the 4 survey contractors (W. Mueller of WGLBBO, Dr. David Luukkonen of Michigan DNR, Kevin Kenow of the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, and Dr. Michael Monfils of  Michigan State University) took place on May 12.  This project is moving forward with a new regional proposal regarding analysis of our existing offshore data. We will prepare our own paper and submit it for publication simultaneously. Dr. Jill Hapner and I are working on the GIS and mapping, and our publication will be submitted this winter. At this time, the Great Lakes Commission will not fund additional offshore surveys - I am seeking funding elsewhere to do more surveys; each of the other survey teams are doing likewise. 

Midwest Landbird Migration Monitoring Network
Dr. Amber Roth of Michigan Technological University worked half-time for WGLBBO throughout 2014, directing the activities of the Midwest Landbird Migration Monitoring Network. Dr. Roth shepherded the development of the Network's Strategic Plan (see, which was completed and published in February of 2015. Dr. Roth and WGLBBO Director Bill Mueller submitted a proposal to the USFWS this winter to extend funding for Dr. Roth's position for an additional two years, so that she can oversee implementation of the Strategic Plan. Our first regional workshop with teams from our 8-state region during this funding period takes place Oct 21/22 at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, our home base in Ozaukee County.

Midwest Aerial Insectivore Working Group
I am the new co-chair of the Midwest Aerial Insectivore Working Group, part of the Midwest Coordinated Bird Monitoring Partnership. The Working Group has various activities underway;
see them at:
The Working Group has a new Facebook Page - see it at:

Waterbird Watch
Our technician Calvin Brennan is now well into his fall season. He tallied 186,266 birds of 184 species at our Watch site at HBSP, during spring. Both are new high counts. Reports were submitted for publication for both the fall 2014 and spring 2015 seasons.

Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II
This first year of the new Atlas, I did field work in a Specialty Block, which contains the Cedarburg Bog and Beech Woods. Much more to do there in 2016! I am a member of 4 of the 6 atlas committees, many of which conducted stellar work this first year of WBBAII.

Outreach and Presentations I presented at the following events:
  • •Sheboygan Audubon – The Ecology of Chimney Swifts – Feb. 12
  • Friends of Cedarburg Bog – volunteers & nestboxes event – Feb. 20
  • Fond du Lac Audubon – State of the Birds – Mar. 11
  • Wehr Nature Center – Offshore Waterfowl Research & Monitoring – Mar. 18
  • Shawn Graff and I presented at the annual Great Lakes Chapter meeting of the Society for Ecological Restoration – Mar. 28
  • BF Goss Bird Club – The Long Walk – Apr. 19
  • Shawn Graff, Dr. Gary Casper, and I presented together at the Clean Rivers, Clean Lake Conference for the Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust – Apr. 30
  • I presented atlas talks throughout WI (with Mike Reese), and a small group of colleagues did likewise. Collectively we gave 32 atlas presentations since Oct of last year - with more in the works.
  • Urban Ecology Center - the State of the Birds - Sept. 8
Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative
I serve on the Steering Committee of WBCI, and as co-chair of WBCI's Issues Committee. Our work products include the publications linked here, which are being updated this year:

Shorebird Map
We took over preparation and updating of the state Shorebird Map this year:

Board of Directors
News about our growing Board of Directors can be found at:

More news is at our website:

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