Welcome to Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II

Birding in the 21st Century.

News and Features

Introducing the Acceptable Breeding Codes Chart


Wondering how to code a certain behavior for a certain species? You asked for it, here it is — a complete guide to which codes are good for which species and which aren’t.

Sponsor a Species to Provide Critical Support to the Atlas

Sponsor by December 10 to receive a free holiday gift—a Scarlet Tanager tree ornament!

We estimate that 240 species of birds will be confirmed as breeding in Wisconsin over the five-year period of Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II. To help us raise critical funding to support this intensive effort, we offer birders the opportunity to “sponsor” their favorite species through our popular Sponsor-a-Species campaign.

Summary of 2016 Atlas Point Counts

Atlas Science Team Coordinator Ryan Brady conducts a stationary point count.

You may have heard that we are also running point count surveys as part of the atlas. In this article we introduce this wing of the atlas effort, explain how it’s gathering critical information for conservation efforts in the state, and report on some very preliminary results from 2016.

Please Check your Checklist Portals!


The vibrant fall colors and waves of migrants through the state signal that the breeding season has come to an end for almost all species. Now that the atlasing season has ended, please remember to switch back to the regular Wisconsin eBird portal for checklists without breeding codes.

Season 2 Preliminary Results and Stats

Here are all the checklists plotted on a map, representing over 20,000 individual locations. The pink squares are atlas priority and specialty blocks, so you can see which blocks have sightings and which still need coverage.
View it really big here.

It’s been a great second season!

First off, a HUGE THANKS to the over 1,100 atlasers that contributed to Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II so far! This project would not be possible without your contributions. We now have two years under our belt, with three more to go.

You may have already seen our recent news release and this cool infographic highlighting results so far. But let’s delve even deeper into this year’s results to get a better understanding of the impact of our efforts.

Atlaser Spotlight: Daryl Christensen


Who are our incredible volunteers? With more than 1,100 Atlasers, it’s no surprise that once you get past the binoculars our volunteers are as varied as the bird species they observe. This series turns the spotlight on a few of the many dedicated men and women who are helping the Atlas achieve such tremendous success as we work our way through our this ambitious, five-year project.

This month, meet Daryl Christensen of Marquette County!

eBird Mobile 1.3: breeding and behavior codes

American Redstart - Breeding Code ON by Nick Anich /Macaulay Library.

A new version of eBird Mobile (1.3) has just been released that lets you note breeding and behavior codes in your mobile checklists—available for free on both iOS and Android. This lets you track breeding bird activity more easily than ever before, and also lets you log flyover codes—which could win you a pair of binoculars this month! If you’ve never tried eBird Mobile, there has never been a better time to get started. More than 110,000 eBirders have used eBird Mobile so far, replacing the field notebook as the easiest and most accurate way to record your bird sightings in the field. Learn how to get started with eBird Mobile. This latest version also provides the technical foundation that will allow us to build in automatic tracking of distance within the app, sharing of checklists, and many other features that we want and plan to build into eBird Mobile. Every step is bringing us closer to having the full eBird website on your mobile device!

First documented Mississippi Kite nest in Wisconsin!

Adult Mississippi Kite (with House Sparrow prey). Photo by Scott Weberpal.

For the first time ever, Mississippi Kites have been found breeding in Wisconsin, with confirmation of a pair raising one chick at a nest near Janesville, Rock County. This represents one of the northernmost breeding records in the species’ range and perhaps the most exciting find of Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II (WBBA II) so far! Although WBBA II has confirmed nesting in 11 species not recorded as breeders during WBBA I (1995–2000), this is the first instance of a new state breeding record during the project.

Cutright Bird Club a Major Force Behind the Atlas

NJCbird club logo

The Cutright Bird Club has been a major supporter of the second Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas since day one. How could they not be? Their founder, the late Noel J. Cutright, was not only senior editor of the first Atlas, for which survey work was done from 1995 to 2000, but he helped launch organizational work on the second Atlas before his death in late 2013.

Tricky Codes IV: Atlasing season is almost over, but not yet!


There is still plenty of activity and atlas codes to be found, especially confirmations. Although it’s not as easy to assume breeding as it has been for the past couple months, atlasers will still be rewarded with confirmations for the next couple weeks. Read on to learn what situations you can still confidently confirm breeding, when it’s likely too late, which codes to use, and some other tips for atlasing during this tricky end of the season period.