From: Madison Audubon [masoffice@mailbag.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 4:52 PM
Subject: WBCI e-News vol.2, no.2 (May 1, 2002)
WBCI e-News vol. 2, no. 2 (May 1, 2002)

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 occassionally beyond). We'd like to welcome the most recent WBCI endorsers which have brought the number of partners to 104: Nature Education Center - Fifield, WI and Friends of Milwaukee's Rivers.

In this issue:

I.     The Great River Birding Festival: Celebrating the Mississippi Flyway
        Saturday & Sunday, May 11 & 12, 2002
II.    DNR Secretary Bazzell To Speak At Oak Leaf Birding Trail Opening Ceremony
        Saturday, May 11, 2002
III.   WBCI Committee Meetings Announced
IV.   Birds in Forested Landscapes (BFL), Cerulean Warblers
V.    Golden-winged Warbler Survey Help Needed
VI.   Ruffed Grouse Society Supports Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative

Invitation to contribute news

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I.     The Great River Birding Festival: Celebrating the Mississippi Flyway
        Saturday & Sunday, May 11 & 12, 2002

The Audubon - Upper Mississippi River Campaign and Mississippi Valley Partners are proud to bring you the 1st Annual "Great River Birding Festival" being held Saturday and Sunday, May 11 & 12, 2002.

Come explore the Lake Pepin area of the Upper Mississippi River( UMR) as we celebrate the beginning of spring, International Migratory Bird Day, and the return of our feathered friends.

The festival will consist of concurrent birding walks & special presentations by top-notch birders and naturalists from the UMR region held from 7am - 4pm each day. Saturday night will also include an evening reception & keynote address by Al Batt, President of the Minnesota Ornithologist's Union as well as fantastic live music entertainment around Lake Pepin. There will  also be several opportunities both days to see a variety of live birds of prey up close, so bring  your cameras!

The cost of the festival is $2.00 - which will also entitle festival participants to "Birder's Specials" being offered by restaurants & stores from the 13 communities surrounding Lake Pepin. The only additional fees are for the 2 hr. Audubon guided backwater birding tours on the river and a 5-6 hour birding tour though the 1,200 acre Tiffany Bottoms in WI aboard an open car railroad! For these events, pre-registration is required. To pre-register, go to www.lakecitymn.org or call Lake City Tourism at 877/525-3248.

--submitted by Bonnie Koop, Coordinator, Audubon - Great River Birding Trail 608/786-3473 (bkoop@audubon.org)

II.    DNR Secretary Bazzell To Speak At Oak Leaf Birding Trail Opening Ceremony
        Saturday, May 11, 2002

Join the celebration at Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee on Saturday, May 11, at 10 AM at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Milwaukee County Park and Recreation OAK LEAF BIRDING TRAIL.  Secretary Bazzell with join with the Milwaukee County Executive and Director of Parks, & Recreation, and will talk about the Great Wisconsin Birding Trail project. The Oak Leaf Birding Trail is Milwaukee County's first bird trail effort and was spearheaded by Dan Spuhler.  There is a excellent map to guide trail users as they journey through Milwaukee County parks in search of their favorite birds.

--submitted by Susan Foote-Martin, Chair, Bird-related Recreation Committee (footes@dnr.state.wi.us)

III.    WBCI Committee Meetings Announced

All WBCI meetings are open to everyone. Please pass along word to any of your members who may be interested in attending or joining any WBCI committee.

A. Important Bird Areas (IBA) Committee - Noel Cutright, Chair

The first meeting of the IBA Committee is scheduled for Monday, May 20, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. (bring a lunch) at the WDNR office at 2421 Darwin Rd. on Madison's northeast side near the airport. I'll be sending an agenda and a map to the meeting location prior to the meeting. I'm looking forward to it. Please contact me with any questions or comments you might have on this, or if you wish to join the committee. --Thanks - Noel 414/221-2179 (Noel.Cutright@we-energies.com)

B. Wetlands and Shorelines Subcommittee - Jim Ruwaldt, Co-chair

The first meeting of this committee will be Tuesday, May 14 at 9:00 a.m. in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conference room at 6515 Watts Rd. on the southwest side of Madison. Please let me know if you have any ideas for agenda items. Prior to the meeting, I would suggest looking over the WBCI Code of Procedures - Committee responsibilities at www.uwgb.edu/birds/wbci/index.htm. - Jim 608/221-1206 x 14 (James_Ruwaldt@fws.gov)

IV.    Birds in Forested Landscapes (BFL), Cerulean Warblers

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology needs volunteer birders and experienced biologists to participate in a couple of conservation projects. This is a great way to get in-the-field experience.

Birds in Forested Landscapes (BFL) is looking at the effects of forest fragmentation on North American forest birds. Participants choose BFL species that breed locally (48 species throughout North America) and select (a) study site(s) in fragments or contiguous forest. They visit the site(s) twice during the breeding season to look for evidence of breeding, and record habitat characteristics. Participants receive a research kit and CD to use in the field for playback. Results from BFL are being used to develop conservation and management guidelines for sustaining healthy populations of these species (past results have been published as "A Land Manager's Guide to Improving Habitat for Scarlet Tanagers and Other Forest-Interior Birds.") There's also a recreational focus that we're working on with the U.S. Forest Service on National Forest land. For more info, see www.birds.cornell.edu/bfl

For information on the Golden-winged Warbler Atlas Project (GOWAP), see the following article submitted by Amber Roth.

We are also in the process of creating a final atlas for Cerulean Warblers. If you have info about Ceruleans, please go to www.birds.cornell.edu/cewap and let us know if you have data (# of Ceruleans seen, location, habitat info) that will make this atlas more complete.

 For more information or if you can help, contact Allison Wells, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, (amw25@cornell.edu)

--submitted by Noel Cutright, Wisconsin Society for Ornithology (Noel.Cutright@we-energies.com)

V.   Golden-winged Warbler Survey Help Needed

I've been asked to re-post my request for help with the Golden-winged Warbler Atlas Project.  Thanks to those of you who responded to my previous post!  I've added a couple of new options for how you can be involved.

The Golden-winged Warbler Atlas Project (GOWAP) needs your help this spring. So far we have great survey coverage in Wisconsin but we still need your assistance.

There are several ways you can help GOWAP this spring:

(1) Get Paid to Go Birding Option:  Receive $500 for surveying at least 5 DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer pages for the Hybrid Index Survey.  Select 5 of the 9 DeLorme pages still available:  24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 40, 41, and 42.  These fall roughly in the area bounded at the corners by LaCrosse, Necedah, Monroe, and Dubuque.  The instructions for this survey are found at the following website: http://birds.cornell.edu/gowap/hybridindex.html

(2) Voluteer for a Survey Option: You can volunteer to help with the Hybrid Index Survey for the pages listed above.  This survey requires a fair bit of driving and takes 2-3 morning to complete for 1 DeLorme Atlas page.  OR You can help with the Population Survey which requires less driving (usually) but requires you to know a site where there are Golden-winged Warblers. This survey can be conducted anywhere in Wisconsin where you find Golden-winged Warblers.  The instructions for this survey are found at: http://birds.cornell.edu/gowap/popsurvey.html

(3) Report Your Observations Option:  If you find a site with multiple Golden-winged Warbler males between May 15 and June 20, please report them to me.  I will try to find someone in the area to conduct a Population Survey at the site if you are unable or uninterested in doing so.  Also please include specific directions to the site and any knowledge you have of the site's ownership and public access.

(4) Come Along for the Ride Option:  You are welcome to join me when I conduct my surveys.  I will be conducting Hybrid Index Surveys on DeLorme pages 91 (Florence and Marinette Co.) in May and 81 (N. Door Co) in June. I will conduct Population Surveys as I have time and find good survey sites (probably within a 30 min. drive of Rhinelander).  I especially welcome
new birders!

GOWAP has a nice website http://birds.cornell.edu/gowap/index.html that provides info on the  project's goals, how to help with surveys, and how to register for a survey kit.  You don't need to be an expert birder to help with the surveys.  The survey kit includes a cassette tape with
Golden-winged Warbler and Blue-winged Warbler songs that is very effective in bringing the birds into close range.

If you are interested in helping out with the final survey season or have questions about the surveys, please contact me via email or at my home phone number 715/282-5303. Thanks!!

--submitted by Amber Roth, Wisconsin Coordinator, Golden-winged Warbler Atlas Project,
Cornell Lab. of Ornithology; Wildlife Reseach Technician, WI DNR, Bureau of Integrated Science Services, 107 Sutliff Avenue, Rhinelander, WI 54501  715/365-8862 (rotha@dnr.state.wi.us)

VI.      Ruffed Grouse Society Supports Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative

(Editor's note: This is an article that Gary Zimmer wrote for the summer 2001 edition of their newsletter, The Drumming Log, after the WBCI signing ceremony last May. Newsletter articles from other partners would be welcomed.)

With Horicon Marsh as a backdrop on May 12, the Ruffed Grouse Society, represented by Regional Biologist Gary Zimmer, formally joined with 64 other conservation organizations and government agencies to ratify the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative. Wisconsin is the first state in the nation to develop a comprehensive bird conservation strategy. This initiative provides the basis for an integrated approach to addressing the full spectrum of bird conservation in the state with goals of keeping common birds common and recovering imperiled species in the state.
 
It was appropriate that the Ruffed Grouse Society join this initiative.  The Society has worked for years to maintain a balance of young and old forests across the country to ensure that a diversity of wildlife thrives.  While many environmental groups have focused on mature forests, the Ruffed Grouse Society has emphasized the importance of young forest habitats as well. Not surprisingly, as the Eastern US forests have matured, young forest bird species have declined. A recent research paper found that 76 percent of the neotropical migratory birds that are experiencing significant population declines in the eastern US require grassland or young forest/shrub habitats.  Populations of golden-winged warbler, a species that is found almost exclusively in dense, young forests or shrub-dominated fields have declined 73 percent in the US since 1966. Other young forest species with similar declines include Eastern towhee (down 63 percent), American redstart (down 26 percent), and rose-breasted grosbeak (down 26 percent). Since 1991, American woodcock populations have declined by 26 and 25 percent in the eastern and central regions of the US, respectively. This year, the woodcock population dipped 12.9% compared to last year, while the eastern region was stable.

The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative is based on the public working together in broad-based partnerships. Management strategies will assess and manage birds and their habitats using the best available science. While the focus of this initiative is on Wisconsin birds, coordination of conservation efforts will be required at regional, continental and even greater levels, since many of the birds are migratory.

A quick look at the big picture reveals that priorities in Wisconsin more or less mirror priorities across the eastern U.S. Every state in the eastern U.S. except Maine and Minnesota shows fairly dramatic declines in young forest habitat within the grouse range. Grouse flush and drumming counts indicate grouse numbers are dwindling. The golden-winged warbler is a high priority, the highest priority in many regions, among songbirds throughout the east.

The North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) evaluates songbird populations across the United States and southern Canada. The area covered by the BBS is broken down into regions that represent fairly distinct habitat and topographical features so that the needs of songbirds in any one unit can be addressed specifically. Within the primary range of the ruffed grouse and American woodcock from 1980 to 1998, the BBS shows that there are more statistically significant declines in species of young forest breeding songbirds (same habitat as grouse and woodcock) than mature forest breeding species in 10 of 11 regions. Conversely, in all but 2 regions, there are more mature forest songbirds increasing than young forest songbirds over the same time period. What's more, the patterns of decline are strikingly similar for small mammals and even insects and butterflies.  Those that require habitat composed of shrubs and saplings are taking it on the chin more than others.

Grassroots support among the public for addressing the needs of all wildlife is growing. With the development of this initiative, the future of bird conservation in Wisconsin is bright as parties interested in bird conservation adopt a shared vision. Now is the time for all of us to work together to make this a reality.

--submitted by Gary Zimmer, Regional Wildlife Biologist, The Ruffed Grouse Society (rgszimm@newnorth.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 http://www.uwgb.edu/birds/wso/wbci.htm

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Karen Etter Hale, WBCI ad hoc committee chair
and WBCI e-news coordinator

Executive Secretary
Madison Audubon Society
222 S. Hamilton St., Suite 1
Madison, WI 53703-3201
608/255-2473
608/255-2489 fax
masoffice@mailbag.com
http://madisonaudubon.org