WBCI e-News vol. 5, no. 1 (March 25, 2005)

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 144: The University of Wisconsin Press.

Quote:  "From this experience, it seemed that the best time to hear and see [this species] was at night...After walking out several hundred yards into the open bog, which quakes as one passes over it, we imitated the call of [this species] by striking two metal objects together. Almost at once answering 'clickings' were heard from two different points in the marsh." [to find out which species this is and how you might have a chance to find them, see item VII below] -quote from The Auk, July 1939, vol 56.     

In this issue:

I.    National Wildlife Refuge Friends Group Grant Program - Apr 1 deadline
Owl Monitoring Project - Volunteers Needed
III.  WBCI Committee Meetings Announced
       Issues, Thurs, March 31, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., WI Humane Society - Milwaukee
       Outreach, Wed, Apr 6, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., DNR Research - Monona
       Coordinating Council, Thurs, Apr 14, 1-4 p.m., Palmatory St, Horicon DNR
IV.  Other Meetings and Events Announced
<!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]-->        Annual Midwest Sandhill Crane Count - Sat, April 16 - 30th year
        Mississippi Flyway Birding Festival - Fri-Sun, May 13-15 - La Crosse, Wisconsin
        WSO Convention - Fri-Sun, May 20-22, Lakeland College, Sheboygan County
V.    Quad 30 Presentations
Loon Survey Volunteers Needed
VII.  Yellow Rail (Secretive Marshland Birds) Surveyors Needed - 2 Positions

Invitation to contribute news

I.  National Wildlife Refuge Friends Group Grant Program

The spring deadline for funding under the National Wildlife Refuge Friends Group Grant Program is quickly approaching on April 1, 2005!  Proposals must be postmarked by this date in order to be considered for funding during the spring grant cycle. They will also have a fall proposal deadline on September 1, 2005. This competitive grants program provides grants of up to $5,000 to assist efforts that build support and visibility for our refuge system, promote conservation education, and increase on-the-ground conservation efforts within the refuge system.

This program is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (Foundation) and its partners, the National Wildlife Refuge Association and National Audubon Society. A 2005 Application Kit for this program can be found at http://www.nfwf.org/programs/nwrgp.htm. The Foundation also has a number of additional funding opportunities through its various grant programs that may be of interest to Friends groups.  Please visit the Foundation website at www.nfwf.org for a complete list of funding opportunities that the Foundation offers. 

Grants will be provided to support proposals in the following areas of emphasis:

* Start-up Grants - Funds will be provided to assist starting Refuge Friends Groups with formative and/or initial operational support. For example, funds may be requested for such things as membership drives, training (tuition), brochure and newsletter development, logo design, or consultant fees for planning a mission and strategic plan;

* Capacity Building Grants - Funds will be provided to strengthen the capacity of existing Refuge Friends Groups to be more effective. For example, activities may include outreach efforts, strategic planning, membership development, board or leadership development, designing exhibits for community outreach, or training; and

* Project Specific Grants - Funds will be provided to non-profit organizations seeking support for a specific project. For example, funds may be requested for developing outreach and conservation education programs for local schools, communities, and private landowners, habitat restoration projects, building an observation tower, developing and providing interpretive materials and programs, or watchable wildlife programs.

While this grant program focuses on three areas of emphasis, overarching goals of the program are to help Refuge Friends Groups gain experience in developing projects, expand and increase their capacity and skills, meet local refuge challenges, gain and build community recognition and support for the Refuge and Refuge Friends Group, and build long-term relationships. Within each area of emphasis, priority will be given to applicants that demonstrate their ability to meet these programmatic goals.

For additional information, please contact Suzanne Oversvee, Project Administrator, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, 1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 900, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-857-0166; suzanne.oversvee@nfwf.org


II.  Owl Monitoring Project - volunteers needed

Growing concern about changes in the distribution, population status, and habitat loss for many species of owls has led to plans for an Owl Monitoring project, a collaborative effort between the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory (HRBO) and the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI). Additional cooperators of the project are the WDNR and MN DNR. Currently, populations of owls are poorly monitored by existing bird surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey or Christmas Bird Counts. The Owl Monitoring project will fill this gap with a new volunteer-based owl survey to be conducted in March and April each year (the main survey period goes from March 21 to April 10).

The goals of the Owl Monitoring project are to:

1. Understand the distribution and abundance of owl species in the region.
2. Determine long-term trends in the relative abundance of owls in the region.
3. Determine if there are habitat associations of owl species in the region.

The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Survey has identified randomly located routes throughout the state. Volunteers will be asked to survey these routes at night during 1 or 2 visits, assigning the northern forest routes prior to the southern routes. Each route will have 10 stations, spaced 1 mile apart. (Note that this differs from the 0.5 mile spacing of the summer BBS routes). A two-minute "passive" listening period for calling owls will be done at each station (no playbacks will be used). Owl monitoring volunteers will be provided with training materials and data sheets, including a CD of Wisconsin's owl calls.

Volunteers interested in being involved with the Owl Monitoring project will be assigned one route or several routes, depending on their preference. To reduce the amount of travel, volunteers will be assigned to routes that are located relatively close to their resident county. Volunteers will be asked to conduct owl surveys at least 0.5 hours after sunset. Given that each route has only 10 stations with a two-minute listening period at every station, each route should take no more than 1.5 hours to complete. For safety reasons, it is suggested that a minimum of 2 people conduct each owl survey. Most surveys will be located along secondary roads, so the use of a four-wheel drive vehicle will not be necessary.

If you are interested in participating in the Owl Monitoring project, or would like additional information, please contact David Grosshuesch at dgrosshu@nrri.umn.edu or (218) 525-7253.

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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.

Issues Committee - Bill Mueller, Chair (iltlawas@earthlink.net)
    Thurs, March 31, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. WI Humane Society, 4500 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI; Urban/Suburban subcommittee members and all other interested folks are invited to come. Agenda items include bird collision monitoring in downtown Milwaukee, continued work on issues papers, and Highway 49 and road mortality.
Outreach - Jamie Nack, Chair (jlnack@wisc.edu)
    Wed, April 6, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. DNR Research, 1350 Femrite - Monona; agenda items include bird placemats and outreach planning for the months of June, July, and August.
Coordinating Council  - Karen Etter Hale, Chair (masoffice@mailbag.com)
    Thursday, April 14, 1-4 p.m. - DNR, Palmatory St., Horicon

IV.    Other Meetings and Events Announced
(To have your bird-related event listed here, please submit a short notice with a link or contact for more information)

Annual Midwest Sandhill Crane Count - Sat, April 16 - 30th year - 5:30-7:30 a.m. For more information, see the International Crane Foundation website http://www.savingcranes.org/conservation then go to North America then Research in the Field.

Second annual Mississippi Flyway Birding Festival, Fri-Sun, May 13-15, 2005, La Crosse, Wisconsin. Highlights include backwater boat trips, guided walks & trips by kayak and canoe, bird banding, educational seminars, digiscoping, and Birding in the Tropics, displays. Complete information & registration materials at www.couleeaudubon.org/festival05.html or 608/784-2992.

WSO Convention - Fri-Sun, May 20-22, Lakeland College, Sheboygan County. For more information, contact convention chairperson Scott Baughman 920/457-5574, baughman@milwpc.com

V.    Quad 30 Presentations

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--><!--[endif]-->Noel Cutright, who recently celebrated more than 30 years of collecting Breeding Bird Survey data with an unprecedented venture, is willing (and eager) to give Quad 30 talks in 2005. He traveled the Midwest to conduct one survey each day of June 2004 30 routes in 30 days - with the goal of raising $30,000 for bird conservation. So far, he has raised over $46,000 for the Important Bird Areas program, for which he is Chair.

The following Quad 30 Campaign programs have been scheduled from April through December. For details on time and location, or if your group (anywhere in the state) would like for Noel to present his Quad 30 program, please contact him at noel.cutright@we-energies.com
or 414/221-2179

April 12 (Milwaukee), April 14 (Sheboygan), May 10 (Eau Claire), June 7 (Newburg), September 21 (Franklin), October 1 (New London), November 5 (Two Rivers/Manitowoc), December 6 (Oshkosh).

For a sneak preview, see Noel's Quad30 website http://www.quad30campaign.org/

VI.  Loon Survey Volunteers Needed

Every five years, the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute (SOEI) in Ashland, WI, organizes a loon survey to assess the overall condition of the state's loon population. This year's survey is scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 16, between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. The survey includes 272 randomly selected lakes and we still need volunteers to cover 168 of those lakes. Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up for the survey at our website http://www.northland.edu/soei/loon_population.asp

Please e-mail this notice to your members, put a link on your website, or run an article in your newsletter if you can.
For more information, contact Brian Fox, Project LoonWatch, foxb01@northland.edu

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VII.  Yellow Rail (Secretive Marshland Birds) Surveyors Needed - 2 Positions

Lead Technician: Lead surveyor needed to design and implement the first season of a peatland secretive marshbird survey in Wisconsin. Target species are yellow rail, LeConte's sparrow, and Sharp-tailed Sparrow.  Applicant must have at least a B.S. in ecology, wildlife biology, or related field.  Successful applicant will have experience working in wetlands, ability to identify bird species by song, willingness to work at night and early morning, able to use a GPS, and have good organizational skills. Responsibilities include working with the Wisconsin DNR to identify sites, working to find volunteers, and carrying out the surveys.  Ability to supervise a technician and use GIS is a plus.  Other tasks will include data entry and report writing.  Travel costs will be covered by the project. A car is available for field work.  A valid driver's license is required. Work done before and after the field season will be done in Madison, Wisconsin.

Starting Date: 11 April 2005; Ending Date: 15 July 2005; Pay: $13/hr

Closing Date: Open until filled

Technician: To help carry out a peatland secretive marshbird survey in Wisconsin. Target species are yellow rail, LeConte's sparrow, and Sharp-tailed Sparrow.  Successful applicant will be willing to work in wetlands, have the ability to identify bird species by song, be willing to work at night and early morning, be able to use a GPS, and have the ability to work with volunteers. A valid driver's license is required. Training in the survey technique will be provided.

Starting Date:  9 May 2005; Ending Date: 1 July 2005; Pay: $10/hr

Closing Date: Open until filled

For either position, send resume, contact information for 3 references, and unofficial transcripts to Dr. Christine Ribic, Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.  E-mail submissions to caribic@wisc.edu preferred

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