2012 Wisconsin eBird Year in Review — User statistics

By Nick Anich January 1, 2013
pigr anich

Pine Grosbeak by Nick Anich

2012 marked an exceptional birding year in Wisconsin.  It started with amassive irruption of Snowy Owls nationwide, which yielded more than 700 sightings to eBird of an estimated 150+ birds across Wisconsin.  Mother Nature gave these birds a break with a generally mild and dry winter.  March saw 80+ degree heat all the way north to Lake Superior, warmth that brought a flood of early arriving migrants. By spring’s end, 24 bird species had reached the state on record or near-record early dates. Summer 2012 undoubtedly belonged to the Dickcissel. Incredibly, this bird of open country was reported in all 72 Wisconsin counties this nesting season!  August brought an unexpected influx of Red Crossbills to the state, giving birders hope of a winter finch flight in 2012–13. That hope was soon realized when the central and eastern U.S. experienced its first “superflight” of winter finches since 1998, bringing to Wisconsin excellent numbers of Evening Grosbeaks, Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Grosbeaks, both crossbills, Pine Siskins, and both redpolls, the latter including the best irruption of Hoary Redpolls in recent memory.  Finally, late fall and winter doesn’t usually conjure up images of hummingbirds in Wisconsin but fall 2012 will go down as hosting a record number of Rufous/Allen’s Hummingbirds in the state (7 individuals), including four that lingered through snowstorms and freezing cold nearly to Christmas and a record late Ruby-throated last seen on December 23.

What’s also remarkable is that in the current age, we are getting better and better information about bird distribution due to the hundreds of dedicated eBirders in Wisconsin. This article digs into some 2012 user statistics for Wisconsin eBird.

In 2012, Wisconsin eBird got 61,799 checklist submissions and 895,178 bird observations!


Wisconsin eBird has had steady upward growth, here’s number of checklists per month. That outlier is May 2009, not sure what was going on there, but May is generally the busiest month – in May 2012, users submitted 9033 checklists!


2012 obs

Here is the breakdown of observations by county for 2012. The green counties highlight areas of the state that aren’t as well covered.


 Top 10 counties – most observations submitted in 2012


Dane 127983
Milwaukee 77983
Ozaukee 44439
Manitowoc 41147
Waukesha 34032
Rock 28218
Dodge 27548
Racine 27425
Florence 24049
Iowa 22115


Bottom 10 counties – go birding in these counties in 2013!


Lincoln 1310
Jackson 1296
Waushara 1293
Pierce 1130
Rusk 1076
Shawano 657
Langlade 569
Pepin 523
Taylor 511
Menominee 120


Top 10 – most improved counties

These counties had many more eBird submissions in 2012 than in 2011.


Clark 995.4%
Door 325.8%
Iron 296.1%
Barron 257.4%
Rock 224.3%
Price 183.3%
Juneau 163.1%
Waupaca 137.7%
Pierce 136.9%
Marathon 135.1%


Bottom 10 – least improved counties

These counties had fewer submissions in 2012 than in 2011, or only a small increase.


Langlade -48.2%
Buffalo -42.7%
Lincoln -27.0%
Menominee -23.6%
Calumet -22.7%
Taylor -12.6%
Florence -2.4%
Chippewa -1.2%
Columbia 1.1%
Shawano 1.7%


We couldn’t help but want to highlight the efforts of just a few of the many dedicated eBirders out there! Below are the 2012 county leaders by number of species and number of checklists.  All of this information is available via the Top 100 on the Explore Data tab, if you’d like to see how you rank for counties you birded in 2012. Some of these totals are quite impressive while others call attention to areas of the state needing more coverage.


County leaders – Number of species for 2012


Adams Rob Pendergast 191
Ashland Nick Anich 205
Barron Chris Jerome 102
Bayfield Ryan Brady 221
Brown Jack Swelstad 213
Buffalo Steve Betchkal 78
Burnett Andy Paulios 149
Calumet Andrew Reimer 111
Chippewa Rory Cameron 165
Clark Judy Lund 121
Columbia Chuck Heikkinen 132
Crawford Alex Stark 173
Dane Dan Graham 253
Dodge James Frank 172
Door Sue Peterson 192
Douglas Tom Prestby 188
Dunn Pamela Campbell 180
Eau Claire Jana Lind 136
Florence Kay Kavanagh 192
Fond du Lac William Mueller 138
Forest Tom Prestby 119
Grant Jason Thiele 157
Green Marty Evanson 126
Green Lake Thomas Schultz 192
Iowa Aaron Holschbach 215
Iron Nick Anich 126
Jackson Jim Otto 81
Jefferson Cynthia Bridge 239
Juneau Paul Senner 143
Kenosha David Willard 160
Kewaunee Adam Sinkula 138
La Crosse Scott Puchalski 206
Lafayette Matthew Nechvatal 140
Langlade Nancy Richmond 98
Lincoln Sherry Frazier 70
Manitowoc Robert Domagalski 221
Marathon Dan Belter 237
Marinette Joan Campbell 165
Marquette Aaron Nolan 156
Menominee Marty Evanson 45
Milwaukee Judith Huf 226
Monroe Eric Epstein 197
Oconto Kay Kavanagh 121
Oneida Tom Prestby 195
Outagamie Jack Swelstad 127
Ozaukee James Frank 217
Pepin Andy Paulios 67
Pierce Larry Persico 88
Polk Robin Maercklein 193
Portage Rob Pendergast 244
Price Jim Krakowski 116
Racine Jerry DeBoer 220
Richland Barbara Duerksen 149
Rock Quentin Yoerger 215
Rusk Tom Prestby 86
St. Croix Larry Persico 196
Sauk Aaron Holschbach 187
Sawyer Tom Prestby 169
Shawano Marty Evanson 76
Sheboygan Davor Grgic 214
Taylor Rory Cameron 88
Trempealeau Scott Puchalski 155
Vernon Jay Roth-Reynolds 166
Vilas Guy David 129
Walworth Eric Howe 184
Washburn Judy Haseleu 105
Washington Tom Schaefer 178
Waukesha Dennis Gustafson 217
Waupaca Chuck Petters 130
Waushara Dennis Malueg 99
Winnebago Mark Benson 90
Wood Tom Prestby 106


County leaders – number of checklists 2012


Adams Rob Pendergast 75
Ashland Nick Anich 331
Barron Chris Jerome 151
Bayfield Nick Anich 157
Brown Jack Swelstad 318
Buffalo Renner Anderson 9
Burnett Robin Maercklein 143
Calumet Andrew Reimer 16
Chippewa Rory Cameron 258
Clark Judy Lund 231
Columbia Raymond Dischler 238
Crawford Mike Sandstrom 355
Dane Chuck Heikkinen 446
Dodge James Frank 74
Door Sue Peterson 801
Douglas Peder Svingen 240
Dunn Jason Carlson 142
Eau Claire Jana Lind 248
Florence Kay Kavanagh 861
Fond du Lac William Mueller 62
Forest Mary Maertz 66
Grant Richard Ouren 122
Green Marty Evanson 29
Green Lake Thomas Schultz 188
Iowa Aaron Holschbach 411
Iron Bruce Bacon 62
Jackson Jim Otto 18
Jefferson Karen Etter Hale 293
Juneau Mike Blount 127
Kenosha Patricia-A HerBerg 73
Kewaunee Adam Sinkula 60
La Crosse Gary Wiegel 360
Lafayette Matthew Nechvatal 24
Langlade Nancy Richmond 22
Lincoln Sherry Frazier 45
Manitowoc Betsy & Tom Kocourek 324
Marathon Myles Hurlburt 302
Marinette Marcia Hurst 994
Marquette Karl Whitrock 41
Menominee Nancy Richmond 3
Milwaukee Mike Wanger 254
Monroe Eric Epstein 208
Oconto Jerry Smith 20
Oneida Keith Nemec 69
Outagamie Jack Swelstad 69
Ozaukee James Frank 668
Pepin Andy Paulios 6
Pierce Rob Cahalan/Renner Anderson 12
Polk Robin Maercklein 1043
Portage Rob Pendergast 281
Price Karl Pilch/Marie Ericksen-Pilch 21
Racine Eric Howe 328
Richland Barbara Duerksen 235
Rock Joshua Cullum 860
Rusk Andrea Szymczak 16
St. Croix Larry Persico 35
Sauk Matt McDonald 204
Sawyer Tom Prestby 53
Shawano Jack Swelstad 10
Sheboygan Davor Grgic 513
Taylor Rory Cameron 12
Trempealeau Doug Stratton 59
Vernon Jay Roth-Reynolds 367
Vilas Guy David 74
Walworth Eric Howe 232
Washburn Robin Maercklein 34
Washington Tom Schaefer 290
Waukesha Andrea Szymczak 524
Waupaca Keith Kemp 48
Waushara Dennis Malueg 66
Winnebago Ken Uslabar 367
Wood Tom Prestby/Rob Pendergast 7

Text by Nick Anich and Ryan Brady

Thanks to Chris Wood for running some of these statistics