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Birding in the 21st Century.

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Announcing the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II eBird Portal!

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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.

Great Backyard Bird Count Identification Primer

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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.

2014 Wisconsin eBird—A Year in Review

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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.

First Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas Data Uploaded!

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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.

December Hotspot of the Month–Bakken’s Pond

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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).

Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II – Kickoff Meeting

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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 Hotspot of Month–Cruson Slough

Cruson Slough by Barb Duerksen

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.

September Hotspot of the Month-Muskeg Creek Bog

Muskeg Creek Bog by Tim Oksiuta

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.

August Hotspot of the Month–1000 Islands Environmental Center

Boardwalk at 1000 Islands Environmental Center by Orlando & Janice Janssen

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.

Taxonomy update for 2014

For American birders, large rail splits are most likely to give Life Lists a boost in this revision. Be careful reporting Clapper Rail: it should only be used for East Coast and Gulf Coast birds now! Photo of Clapper Rail in Massachusetts by Ryan Schain.

The taxonomic update for 2014 is now complete in eBird. The names and sequence have been changed and eBird records have been updated in cases of splits and lumps. This update includes taxonomic revisions introduced (or accepted) since August 2013 by the two committees of the American Ornithologists’ Union, the North American Classification Committee (NACC) and the South American Classification Committee (SACC), including several splits detailed below. In North America the most significant change was the split of Clapper Rail into Clapper, Ridgway’s, and Mangrove Rails and the split of King Rail into King and Aztec Rails. In the tropical Americas, Sirystes was split into four species, Bicolored Antbird was split into two, and Knipolegus black-tyrants were revised, among others. In Eurasia, Mourning Wheatear was split into three species, Arctic Warbler was split into three species (two occur in North America, one as a breeder and one as a vagrant or rare migrant) and Two-barred Warbler was split from Greenish Warbler.