Thursday, June 22, 2017

learn about aerial insectivores

The Midwest Aerial Insectivore Discussion Group is on Facebook at this link:
Join the Discussion Group and learn more!

Find more information at:

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Sponsor a Species for the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II

 Learn how you can support the Atlas with a species sponsorship!
There are 40+ Wisconsin breeding species yet to be claimed through the Sponsor-a-Species program, a major source of support for the Atlas. Popular species like Northern Saw-whet Owl and Ruby-crowned Kinglet remain, and every dollar of every sponsorship helps support this important citizen science project. We’d love to see every one of our remaining species go to a good sponsorship “home” this summer.

To find information, go to:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Butterfly Count this Memorial Day weekend

Please consider joining the North American Butterfly Association!

You can participate in a butterfly count on Memorial Day weekend - The NABA Memorial Day Count (in the United States) will be held May 27-29, 2017.

All you need to do is to observe butterflies at one or more of your favorite butterflying localities (such as your own backyard) this coming Memorial Day weekend and note what butterflies you’ve seen. There are no requirements regarding how much time or area you cover.

Then go to the NABA web site,, and from there to the Recent Sightings ( web page and enter your report, filling in the location, date, and butterflies seen.

Our good friend Mike Reese is a coordinator for these counts. See his website and contact him at

bird-window strikes and Dr. Daniel Klem

From the COLLISIONS listserv:

An article about one of the people who has advanced our knowledge of bird mortality from window strikes:

"The bird-window collision issue is really gaining traction and it is because of everyone's combined efforts, and all should be proud of what this has done to advance our common cause."

Peter G. Saenger
Acopian Center for Ornithology
Department of Biology
Muhlenberg College
2400 Chew Street
Allentown, Pa  18104-5586

Monday, May 15, 2017

Red-headed Woodpecker population status

Red-headed Woodpecker population numbers continue to decline, but some local populations have rebounded a bit.

Here is the BBS trend graph for the Prairie Hardwood Transition Bird Conservation Region (southern WI is in this zone):
Here is the trend graph for Wisconsin alone:

 These two graphs look very similar. They point to continuing long-term decline.

Birders see a few individuals here and there, and there are some very localized increases. That provides very little real information about their population as a whole, but the expanding use of eBird, and the unfolding Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II will gradually fill out this picture. The decline is occurring in many areas of their geographic range, including but not limited to Wisconsin.

Here are some articles with much more information:

Birds of North America - Red-headed Woodpecker;JSESSIONID=143EB7FEE3815E35FD088B2F94990688

"The Return of the Loud Redheads"

"The Population Decline of the Red-headed Woodpecker in Wisconsin and Illinois"

WDNR - Red-headed Woodpecker 

National Audubon - Red-headed Woodpecker

Saturday, May 13, 2017

learn more about the Black-throated Blue Warbler

 Learn more about the Black-throated Blue Warbler -
Ph. by Charles J. Sharp - Wikim. Commons
 Go to Audubon's Priority Birds page for this species:

 Learn how climate change could affect this bird's range: "In the broadest and most detailed study of its kind, Audubon scientists have used hundreds of thousands of citizen-science observations and sophisticated climate models to predict how birds in the U.S. and Canada will react to climate change."

More on this bird in the Wisconsin All-Bird Plan:

"Loss or fragmentation of large blocks of older, structurally complex forests may negatively impact this species. Overbrowsing by deer may suppress populations locally by reducing the shrub layer available for nesting (WDNR 2005). Loss of habitat on the wintering grounds in the West Indies also is suggested as a possible limiting factor (Holmes 1994)."

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Great Wisconsin Birdathon news

Great Wisconsin Birdathon halfway to goal

If birds bring joy to your life and you would like to support work that protects them, then now is the time to participate in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon, a walkathon-style fundraiser for conserving birds close to home. Get involved by making a donation online at or by creating/joining a team that collects donations and spends a fun day in the field counting birds. Some noteworthy teams this year include the Lower Wisconsin Scan da Avians, Millenial Falcons, Cutright's Old Coots, Lake Superior eBirders, Secretary Birds, WYBC Teen Birders, and many more. The birdathon period opened April 15 and continues through June 15, with many teams hitting the field in May. Learn More >>

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Join the Midwest Aerial Insectivore Discussion Group

This Discussion Group is on Facebook:
If you are interested in  swallows, swifts, nightjars, flycatchers and their conservation - take a look!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Birds news around the world today

In case you'd like to read about some bird-related work, issues, news from various places around the globe:

BirdLife Cyprus news:

Oriental Bird Club news:

 The Norwegian Ornithological Society

BirdLife South Africa news:

How songbirds teach themselves songs:

Pink-footed Goose - A bird likely to be increasingly found in eastern North America - Midwestern records coming in the next few years?

Pink-footed Goose - ph. Wikim. Commons - Dave Dunford

another obit for Chan Robbins

This is from the current (April 2017) Birding Community E-Bulletin, co-authored by Paul Baicich and Wayne Peterson:

Sadly, the renowned ornithologist, author, educator, and public servant, Chandler S. Robbins, passed away on 20 March. Chan, as he was known to everyone, was 98 years old.
He graduated from Harvard with a degree in physics and began teaching math and science in Vermont. Robbins joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1945 as a junior biologist at Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland, where he engaged in early research on the effects of DDT and had his papers edited by his USFWS colleague, Rachel Carson. Also, Chan was the bander who first banded the Laysan Albatross named Wisdom in 1956. He re-banded her, the world's oldest known banded bird, in 2002. (See last month's E-bulletin for an update on Wisdom: )
For many birders in the 1960s, their introduction to birding and to Robbins was through his role as lead author of A Guide to Field Identification: Birds of North America. (See Book Notes above.) In 1966, this book - simply called "the Golden Guide" by many - was a breakthrough field guide with profound features. It covered all of the continental U.S. and Canada; all illustrations were in color; birds were presented in a variety of postures and often in some habitat; text and images were on facing pages; continental range maps accompanied the text; measurements were of live birds, and those puzzling sonograms were first introduced to an eager popular audience.
In the same year that the Golden Guide appeared, Chan launched one of the most important citizen science tools that we have today, the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The creation of the BBS was not universally and instantly appreciated, however. He actually received a disciplinary letter in his work file for its premature launch!
In 1981, he co-authored the memorable paper familiar to an entire generation of ecologists: "Effects of forest fragmentation on avifauna of the eastern deciduous forest."  This article led to a national effort to identify and prioritize large, still-unbroken tracts of forest while there was still time. In 2012, Chan declared that this was the work of which he was most proud.
After his 60 years of full-time work as an avian biologist at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (he didn't retire until 2005), Chan became "Scientist Emeritus" at Patuxent where he actually continued to work. One could often find him at his office at the far end of the library, at the Gabrielson building, working on the next paper, the next study, always keeping connected, and always making a difference. Chan Robbins was at the same time a giant in the field of bird study and also a gracious, quietly creative, and unassuming colleague.  The world has lost another of The Great Ones.

Friday, March 24, 2017

please tell Congress to make bird conservation a priority

Please read this message from the American Bird Conservancy:

 "(The current)  proposed 2018 federal budget would gut major programs and protections for birds and America’s public lands, putting decades of conservation achievements at risk. With so much on the line, it’s imperative that we send Congress a loud, unmistakable message that such extreme cuts will not stand.
Drastic reductions in the proposed federal budget would scale down on-the-ground conservation at a time when one-third of migratory bird species, are already in decline. Birds are sensitive indicators of environmental health as a whole, and the loss of migratory birds signals a potential crisis that Congress must act now to reverse.
But that’s not all: Three federal agencies critical to bird conservation—the Department of Interior, the Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency—are facing drastic budget cuts that will significantly reduce federal bird protections.
If we want migratory birds to bounce back, it’s critical that Congress prioritize and fund the following:
  • The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, critical to the restoration of habitat for migratory birds throughout the Western Hemisphere.
  • Migratory Bird Joint Ventures, North American regional partnerships that work across political boundaries and levels of government to achieve conservation success for birds and their habitats.
  • Endangered Species Act, in order to fully recover endangered and threatened bird species.
  • Farm Bill conservation programs, like Conservation Reserve Program, which preserve habitat for birds by providing conservation incentives to private landowners.
  • EPA’s Pesticides Program, critical to protecting birds from deadly pesticides like neonicotinoids used in agriculture.
Please act now! Tell your Senators and Representative: Make protecting migratory birds and the conservation programs they depend on a priority." 

Please take action at:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Owl Surveyors needed (in Wisconsin)

The 2017 Western Great Lakes Owl Survey is just around the corner with observers conducting TWO surveys of their pre-determined roadside route, the first between April 1 and 10 and the second survey between April 21 and May 1. Each route takes about 1.5 hours to complete. An awesome group of volunteers has accounted for many routes again this year but I need your help in filling those that remain open. Visit the survey's website below to view route availability and locations and to sign up. And do so quickly to get the route you want!

All new surveyors must pass a brief online certification procedure prior to the actual survey dates. Routes will be assigned first-come, first-serve but keep in mind I need to manually approve your request so it may take a few days before the map symbol changes from green (available) to red (assigned). As such it's possible that a route shows as green even if someone else has already requested it. You will receive an email reply from me one way or another to let you know if the route is yours or you need to select an alternative. You may also list an alternative in your original route request.

Thanks for your interest in this fun survey!

We are committed to service excellence.
Visit our survey at to evaluate how I did.

Ryan Brady
Science Coordinator, WI Breeding Bird Atlas II Bird Monitoring Coordinator, WI Bird Conservation Initiative Wisconsin DNR - Wildlife Management
Phone: (715) 685-2933
Cell Phone: (715) 685-8585
Fax: (715) 685-2909

Int'l. Migratory Bird Day - Forest Beach Migratory Preserve - May 20

Join us for a day of great activities on May 20th - see the list at left.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

kestrel ecology and nestbox workshop - Ozaukee Co - Mar. 22

Join me and the staff of Ozaukee County Planning & Parks, Wed. March 22nd, 6:00-8:30pm. Mee-Kwon Golf Course.

Monday, March 13, 2017

bird migration and global change - a highly recommended book

 Highly recommended. Bird Migration and Global Change. George W. Cox. Island Press.

If you care about birds, I recommend reading this book. After reading it, I doubt that you will question the need for urgency in dealing with climate change.

From the Island Press website:

"Changes in seasonal movements and population dynamics of migratory birds in response to ongoing changes resulting from global climate changes are a topic of great interest to conservation scientists and birdwatchers around the world. Because of their dependence on specific habitats and resources in different geographic regions at different phases of their annual cycle, migratory species are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
In Bird Migration and Global Change, eminent ecologist George W. Cox brings his extensive experience as a scientist and bird enthusiast to bear in evaluating the capacity of migratory birds to adapt to the challenges of a changing climate."

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

news from BirdLife International

“Up to 25,000 seabirds, mainly albatross, are killed in fisheries in the southern cone of South America each year.”

Read more in the new report from BirdLife at:

Black-browed Albatross - Ph. Wikim. Commons, by Uwe Kils

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Great Wisconsin Birdathon - a backpacker/birder team

In 2013, there was the Long Walk for Birds. In 2014 and 2015, slightly different versions of The Long Walk raised pledge amounts for the Great WI Birdathon. In 2017:

Great WI Birdathon – Backpacking Birders

Learn about how you can participate OR donate to our team, by going to 

What we’ll do:
·         Backpack the N. Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest
·         Collect Pledges for Number of Bird Species Found
·         Donate these Pledged Amounts to the Birdathon

What you’ll need to participate:
·         Medium-sized backpack
·         Sturdy hiking shoes
·         Lightweight sleeping bag & pad
·         2 Water bottles
·         Binoculars
·         Lightweight rain gear
·         Food (see notes below)
·         (No tent needed – we will camp in trail shelters)
·         (Total pack weight below 18 pounds; maybe even less than 15)

Why we’re doing it:
·         Have fun!
·         See and count some birds
·         Collect data for several projects
·         Raise $$$ for the Bird Protection Fund of the NRF

When we’ll do it:
·         3 days in mid-May