WBCI e-News vol. 4, no. 2 (March 19, 2004)
The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative: "A cooperative partnership to deliver the full spectrum of bird conservation emphasizing voluntary stewardship."

The WBCI (Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative) e-News is a periodic e-newsletter to quickly share that is happening in bird conservation across Wisconsin (and occasionally beyond).

We'd like to welcome the most recent WBCI endorser which brings our number of partners to 131: Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, Green Bay Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and Wisconsin Humane Society - Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

Quote: "A band of whistling [tundra] swan seen in the evening light of the first day of spring stirs the heart and soul of man so that, for a moment, his communion with the wilderness is complete....Tomorrow there will be more, and more again on following days, until the chorus of the multitudes will not let us sleep." - Albert Hochbaum

In this issue:

I. New Web Site to Assist the Management of Forest Bird Populations
II. GIS Tools for Conservation Planning
III. WBCI Committee Meetings Announced

Education Subcommittee, Tues, Mar 23, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., International Crane Foundation
Wetlands & Shorelines Subcommittee, Wed, Mar 24, 9 a.m. - noon, DNR Research - Monona
Prairie, Ag, & Savanna Subcommittee, Tues, Mar 30, 9 a.m. - noon, The Nature Conservancy, Madison
Forest & Barrens Subcommittee, Wed, Mar 31, 10 a.m. - DNR, Wausau
Issues Committee, Wed, Apr 7, 9:30 a.m., WI Humane Society - Milwaukee
Habitat Assessment & Management Committee, Thurs, Apr 8, 10 a.m. - noon, DNR - Horicon
Coordinating Council, Thurs, Apr 8, 1-4 p.m.DNR - Horicon
Outreach, Wed, Apr 14, 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. DNR Research - Monona

IV. Weekend Activities at Horicon Marsh
V. Gull Conference Wrapup

Invitation to contribute news

I. New Web Site to Assist the Management of Forest Bird Populations

Successful management of avian breeding habitats requires that the causes of reduced
nesting success first be identified and then, if possible mitigated. The Breeding Biology
Research and Monitoring Database (BBIRD) was established in 1992 to provide both land managers and researchers with comparative information to help identify where and how demographic changes may be occurring among bird populations in different habitats across the conterminous United States. Using a standardized protocol, independent investigators collect data on nesting success and habitat variables, and submit their data to a central storage database each year. This database currently contains information on 40,000 nests of 241 species from 42 sites. An additional 16,000 new records are still being processed.

The BBIRD database has become a valuable resource for researchers and land managers alike. It can be used to calculate parameters such as clutch size, Mayfield
estimates of nest predation, cowbird parasitism rate, and fledging success among species, sites, habitats and years. In cooperation with the Cornell Laboratory of
Ornithology, the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit has launched a new web site: http://report.birdsource.org/BBIRD/Reports that now gives public access to these summary data from the BBIRD database.

Users are able to lump or split summary data by site, year, bird species, or habitat type. This web tool allows investigation of geographic and temporal trends in nesting success for a given species across or within habitat types. Sample statistics, standard errors, and sample sizes are given for each nesting parameter in the database. Users can also download the results of their query into a spreadsheet format for further analysis.

Researchers at the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit are currently using the BBIRD database to develop a new management handbook that provides detailed data on nest predation, brood parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird, and nesting success in relation to habitat features across multiple sites for many forest-breeding bird species. Analyses of BBIRD data in conjunction with National Land Cover data are being conducted to determine the spatial scales and features of the landscape that have the greatest influence on breeding parameters such as cowbird parasitism and nest predation, and ultimately on potential population growth rates. This information is being used to develop predictive models of bird demographic responses to forest fragmentation across the United States. In addition, detailed summaries of breeding parameters relative to habitat and integration of known information from the literature are used to provide specific management guidance for individual species. An introduction to the analytical approach being used for the handbook, together with the draft accounts for individual species can be found at

For questions regarding the BBIRD database and program, please contact Alina Niklison at alina.niklison@mso.umt.edu. For questions or feedback regarding the management handbook, please contact Penn Lloyd at lloyds@new.co.za

--submitted by Gary Zimmer, Ruffed Grouse Society, rgszimm@newnorth.net

II. GIS Tools for Conservation Planning

GIS Tools for Conservation Planning are now available at:
Software, manual, and sample data are available at the web address above.

Public and private land managers desire better ways to incorporate landscape, species, and habitat relations into their conservation planning processes. The USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center presents three tools, developed for the Environmental Systems Research Institute's ArcView 3.x platform, applicable to many types of wildlife conservation management and planning efforts. These tools provide managers and planners with the ability to rapidly assess landscape attributes and link these attributes with species-habitat information.

To use the tools, the user provides a detailed land cover spatial database and develops a matrix to identify species-habitat relations for the landscape of interest. The tools are applicable to any taxa or suite of taxa for which the required data are available. The user also has the ability to interactively make polygon-specific changes to the landscape and re-examine species-habitat relations. The development of these tools has given resource managers the means to evaluate the merits of proposed landscape management scenarios and to choose the scenario that best fits the goals of the managed area.

--submitted by Melinda G. Knutson, Wildlife Biologist, USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, 2630 Fanta Reed Rd., La Crosse, WI 54603, mknutson@usgs.gov (Changed Jan. 2004) http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/

III. WBCI Committee Meetings Announced

All WBCI meetings are open to everyone. Please attend if possible and pass along word to anyone who may be interested in attending or joining any WBCI committee. Contact committee chairs for more information and agendas.

Education Subcommittee - Steve Kupcho, Chair (skupcho@wi.rr.com)
Tues, Mar 23, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., International Crane Foundation
Agenda includes discussion on bird conservation trunks and teacher survey results

Wetlands & Shorelines Subcommittee - Joel Trick (Joel_Trick@fws.gov) & Jim Ruwaldt (James_Ruwaldt@fws.gov), Co-chairs
Wed, Mar 24, 9 a.m. - noon, DNR Research, 1350 Femrite Dr, Monona
Agenda (similar for the Prairie subcomm and the Forest subcomm!): WBCI all-bird plan overview. What might the plan look like from an Ecological Landscape perspective? Integrating habitat planning, priority species, research needs, Important Bird Areas, and implementation!

Prairie, Ag, & Savanna Subcommittee - Andy Paulios (andy.paulios@dnr.state.wi.us), acting chair
Tues, Mar 30, 9 a.m. - noon, The Nature Conservancy, 633 W Main St, Madison

Forest & Barrens Subcommittee - Amber Roth, Chair (amber.roth@dnr.state.wi.us), Ed Frank, Vice-chair (deff@merr.com)
Wed, Mar 31, 10 a.m. - DNR, Wausau Service Center (5301 Rib Mountain Rd)
Agenda will be as under Wetlands Subcomm with Forest Habitat Matrix added.

Issues Committee - Bill Mueller, Chair (iltlawas@earthlink.net)
Wed, Apr 7, 9:30 a.m., WI Humane Society, 4500 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee
There will be a review of the recent gull conference and future projects.

Habitat Assessment & Management Committee - Gary Zimmer, Chair (rgszimm@newnorth.net), Jeff Gaska, Vice-chair (jgaska@pheasantsforever.org)
Thursday, April 8, 10 a.m. - Noon - DNR, Palmatory St., Horicon

Coordinating Council - Karen Etter Hale, Chair (masoffice@mailbag.com)
Thursday, April 8, 1-4 p.m. - DNR, Palmatory St., Horicon

Outreach - Jamie Nack, Chair (jlnack@wisc.edu)
Wednesday, Apr 14, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. DNR Research, 1350 Femrite, Monona
Work will continue on the communications plan.

IV. Weekend Activities at Horicon Marsh

Come cure your spring fever by heading to Horicon Marsh, the 32,000 acre setting for "Marsh Melodies". Enjoy five spring weekends packed with outdoor family events designed for all ages from Saturday, April 24 – Saturday, May 23. This internationally famous wetland, located just an hour north of Milwaukee, will be overflowing with more than 260 species of birds, other wildlife, and visitors.

April 24 & April 25 Bats Rats & Habitats
May 1 & May 2 Native American History
May 15 & 16 Splendor of Wildflowers
May 7 – May 10 Horicon Marsh Bird Festival
May 22 & May 23 Pedal & Paddle the Wetland

Horicon Marsh Bird Festival activities include Night Sounds Hikes, Strictly Birding Tours, Bird Banding Demonstrations, First Light Bus Tours, Bird ID Hikes, Horicon Marsh Birding 101, Neotropical Migrants Talk, Birding for Youth and Beginners, Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge Tours, Hot Spot Birding Tours, Whooping Crane Returns to Horicon Marsh Talk, Wisconsin Federal Jr. Duck Stamp Reception, Birding the Woodlands Hike, Birding Horicon Marsh By Canoe, Dabblers and Divers…Wisconsin’s Waterfowl Talk, Wild Birds of Prey Talk with Live Rehabilitated Birds, Pontoon Boat Birding Tours, Roving Rangers, Annual Silent Auction, and many more….

24 Hour Big Sit at the Horicon Marsh Bird Festival

In the legends of old there is talk of "Big Days" in which the goal was to identify as many bird species as possible in a 24-hour day by foot, boat and even vehicle. The "Big Sit" remembers those days, but takes it in a new direction as participants must stay within a mere 17-foot circle. Come join our Bird Club members for all or part of this first annual 24-hour event as they try to ID every bird they see or hear while raising money to support the bird festival. And while you are here, discover the wonders of Horicon Marsh while learning about the 275 species of birds that have been recorded in and around the marsh.

For more information, or a complete schedule of events, contact 920-485-4663 or check out our website www.horiconmarshbirdclub.com [Editor's note: this doesn't work on some older servers]

--submitted by Bill Volkert, Wildlife Educator/Naturalist, DNR, Horicon, William.Volkert@dnr.state.wi.us

V. Gull Conference Wrapup

Over 60 people attended the excellent gull conference March 11 "Planning for Gulls in Your Community: What's the Poop on Gulls?" Please check the WBCI website http://www.wisconsinbirds.org/gull.htm where information presented at the conference will be posted, including pdfs of abstracts from the speakers' presentations, a gull phenology calendar, other documents, contact information for anyone with concerns about gull management, and related links, etc. All of these items will be available in forthcoming weeks.

--submitted by Bill Mueller, WBCI Issues Chair & WSO Conservation Chair, iltlawas@earthlink.net

Invitation to contribute news. Please submit items for the WBCI e-News to this e-mail address. These could be anything that you and your group or agency wish to share about what is being done, where, and by whom: projects that are in the works, whether large or small, local or state-wide; activities, programs, and workshops; what the average birder might do to help out; what the problems are; or what help you might need on specific projects.

No attachments will be allowed. Instead, try to include web links whenever possible for more detail. Or if the information is lengthy, and only an attachment would be efficient, provide an e-mail contact so that those interested can ask for the attachment. The source of the item posted will be included at the end of each message.

Back issues of the WBCI e-News can be found on the WBCI website


Karen Etter Hale, WBCI Chair
and WBCI e-News Coordinator

Executive Secretary
Madison Audubon Society
222 S Hamilton St, Suite 1
Madison, WI 53703-3201
608/255-BIRD (2473)
608/255-2489 fax

--Making Time for Birds