ATTENTION BIRDERS: If you observe breeding behavior in Wisconsin between now and 2019, you should be entering your checklists at the new Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II eBird Portal! Read on to learn more.
eBird is an increasingly valuable data source for a variety of uses around the world. It provides open data access to thousands of researchers, academics, students, and conservationists each year, who use your observations to help answer questions about bird status and distribution. We’re always excited to hear about how eBird data are being used in these communities, specifically data use that relates to conservation. Have you used eBird to help make a conservation decision or to take conservation action? If so, please consider taking this short survey to tell us about it. The purpose of this survey is to help us understand how eBird data are being used, and help uncover conservation outcomes related to use of eBird data. We define ‘conservation outcomes’ as actions resulting from eBird data use that helped conserve birds, biodiversity, or key habitats. Examples could be protection or creation of habitat, better siting of a renewable energy project, listing/delisting of a species, or developing a set of management guidelines for a land owner. If in doubt, take the survey and tell us how you use eBird data. Collectively, this information is important for understanding eBird’s impact on bird conservation. The results of the study will be used for scholarly purposes only and may be published at scientific conferences and in scientific journals.
With the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count right around the corner, the Wisconsin eBird team has been fielding many questions on bird identification of confusing species. Thanks to team members Sean Fitzgerald and Aaron Boone for putting together this great guide to separating many of the difficult pairs and groups.
In 2014 participation in eBird continued to grow in Wisconsin. 90,013 checklists were submitted in 2014 (a 4% increase over the 86,507 Checklists in 2013) and 341 species were observed (340 in 2013).
2014 ended in the same way it began, with a Snowy Owl irruption. Over 200 individuals were tallied during each irruption. See this article for a report on the irruption from the fall and winter of 2013-2014. A few Northern Hawk Owls were also noted at the beginning and end of the year. Individuals in Door and Eau Claire Counties lingered for extended periods of time.
In preparation for Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II, beginning soon, we have just loaded about 166,000 records from the first Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas into eBird. And, if you participated in the first atlas, we were able to load these records directly into your eBird account. Read on to find out more.
For December 2014’s Wisconsin Hotspot of the Month, we visit Sauk County with Aaron Holschbach as our tour guide. Located in the far southwestern corner of Sauk County, between the villages of Spring Green and Lone Rock, is the Bakken’s Pond Unit of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. Along the north shore of the Wisconsin River, this area hosts large numbers and varieties of bird species (especially during spring migration).
In 1995, the first Atlas was started. This project involved over 1,600 observers, who amassed more than 170,000 observations of 237 species. Twenty years later, it’s time to do it again in order to ensure we have the information necessary to conserve our breeding birds, an integral part of Wisconsin.
The atlas will also be the first bird atlas to be fully integrated with eBird! Read on to find out about the kickoff meeting, where you can meet and bird with eBird Project Leader Chris Wood!
November’s Hotspot of the Month takes us to Cruson Slough in Richland County. Veteran birder and resident of Richland County, Barb Duerksen, is our “tour guide” for this month. The slough is an old oxbow of the Wisconsin River located immediately west of Smith Slough and Sand Prairie State Natural Area. It has a dike on the west end, with the overflow running west to the Wisconsin River. Cruson Slough is part of the Lone Rock Unit of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. The eBird hotspot encompasses both the sloughs and surrounding areas. Habitat includes open water in the sloughs, wetlands, sedge meadow, sand prairie, barrens, river bottom forest, and the river along the southern edge.
For September’s Wisconsin eBird Hotspot of the Month, local eBirder, Tim Oksiuta, takes us on a tour of Muskeg Creek Bog in Bayfield County. Muskeg Creek Bog (referred to as the Muskeg Creek Area in eBird) is an approximately 80 acre bog with a diverse variety of habitat. The Muskeg Creek Area lies approximately 5 miles west of Iron River, WI or 5 miles east of Brule, WI on the north side of Highway 2. Access can be gained from Hollander Road on the west side or Stephan’s Road on the east side. The bog is easily traversed for approximately 1 mile by the Tri-County Corridor which is a an abandoned railroad grade, now used as a snowmobile/4-wheeler trail. Muskeg Creek flows through the bog.
Our randomly selected county for August’s Wisconsin eBird Hotspot of the Month is Outagamie. Tony Nowak, Kaukauna resident, local birder and eBird contributor, chose to profile 1000 Islands Environmental Center and some nearby spots that are also worth birding. 1000 Islands Environmental Center is a 350 acre conservancy zone located along the Fox River in the City of Kaukauna. The property contains 7.2 miles of trails and a nature center that offers educational displays, live animal exhibits and year round programming. With its proximity to the Fox River, a variety of habitat and easy access,1000 Islands is an excellent birding destination.