WBCI e-News vol. 4, no. 3 (May 3, 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 132: Glacierland RC&D (Resource Conservation & Development).

Quote: "In the spring, birders coming to this area can see over 265 species of migrating and resident birds." To find out where, see item I below.

In this issue:

I. 2004 Great River Birding Festival, Fri-Sun, May 14-16, Wabasha, Minnesota
II. Piping Plover Alert
III. WBCI Committee Meetings Announced
Issues Committee, Thurs, May 6, 9:00 a.m.-noon, Horicon NWR Hdq
Urban/Suburban Habitat Subcommittee, Thurs, May 6, 12:30- Horicon NWR Headquarters
IBA Advisory Committee, Wed, May 12, 12:30- , Madison, Rm 408, GEF 2 (DNR)
Great WI Birding & Nature Trail Grand Opening, Thurs, May 20, noon, Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area, Grantsburg
Outreach, Wed, June 16, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., DNR Research - Monona
Habitat Assessment & Management Committee, Thurs, Aug 26, 10 a.m. - noon, location to be announced
Coordinating Council, Thurs, Aug 26, 1-4 p.m. location to be announced
IV. Bird Blitz at Richard Bong State Recreation Area, Sat, June 12
V. Nicolet National Forest Survey, Fri-Sun, June 11-13

Invitation to contribute news

**************************************************
I. 2004 Great River Birding Festival, Fri-Sun, May 14-16, Wabasha, Minnesota

Come and experience over 18 guided birding events, from exploring the Mississippi backwaters by boat in search of Prothonotary Warblers, to riding the rails through the Tiffany Bottoms floodplain forest on an open railcar birding trip you will never forget.

The Mississippi Flyway is recognized worldwide as a Globally Important Bird Area. An amazing 326 species (60% of all the species in North America) use the river as a migration corridor. The river valley also provides food and shelter for up to 40% of all of the waterfowl in North America during the spring and fall migrations. The system of locks and dams along the Upper Mississippi River has created a mosaic of floodplains, backwaters, river islands, sloughs, mudflats, and fresh water marshes. Surrounding bluffs are graced with mixed hardwood forest that give way to blufftop prairie and farmland.

For complete festival information, call 877-525-3248 or go to http://www.mississippi-river.org/birding/index.html

--submitted by Bonnie Koop, Coordinator, Great River Birding Trail, Audubon - Upper Mississippi River Campaign, bkoop@audubon.org

II. Piping Plover Alert

No fewer than 9 piping plovers were seen at Montrose Beach in Chicago on Sunday, May 2. Photos can be seen on the Illinois Ornithological Society website at http://www.illinoisbirds.org/melodus.html and at
http://home.comcast.net/~geoffrey.williamson/pipplo.html

Wisconsin birders should be alert for plovers now.

--submitted by Joel A. Trick, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, joel_trick@fws.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.

Issues Committee - Bill Mueller, Chair (iltlawas@earthlink.net)
Thurs, May 6, 9:00 a.m.-noon, Horicon NWR Headquarters. The main agenda item will be window strikes and birds.

Urban/Suburban Habitat Subcommittee - Ricky Lien, Chair (ricky.lien@dnr.state.wi.us)Thurs, May 6, 12:30- Horicon NWR Headquarters.
Agenda: Updates from around the table, Bird City USA Update and Strategy, Urban Bird Workshop for Fall 2004. Directions may be found at http://midwest.fws.gov/Horicon/directions.html

IBA Advisory Committee - Noel Cutright, Chair (noel.cutright@we-energies.com)
Wed, May 12, 12:30- , Madison, Rm 408, GEF 2 (DNR)

Great WI Birding & Nature Trail Grand Opening
Thurs, May 20, noon, Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area, Grantsburg. Contact Susan Foote-Martin (susan.foote-martin@dnr.state.wi.us) for more information.

Outreach - Jamie Nack, Chair (jlnack@wisc.edu)
Wed, June 16, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. DNR Research, 1350 Femrite, Monona

Habitat Assessment & Management Committee - Gary Zimmer, Chair (rgszimm@newnorth.net), Jeff Gaska, Vice-chair (jgaska@pheasantsforever.org)
Thursday, Aug 22, 10 a.m. - Noon, location to be announced

Coordinating Council - Karen Etter Hale, Chair (masoffice@mailbag.com)
Thursday, Aug 22, 1-4 p.m., location to be announced

IV. Bird Blitz at Richard Bong State Recreation Area Sat, June 12

Everyone is invited to participate in the Bird Blitz at Richard Bong State Recreation Area (RBSRA), Kenosha County, on Sat, June 12, from 5 to 10 a.m. If interested contact Beth Goeppinger at 262/878-5607 or elizabeth.goeppinger@dnr.state.wi.us

There is also a Chiwaukee Prairie Bird Blitz tentatively scheduled for Sunday June 13.

Last year on June 21, on the first-ever Bird Blitz, 28 birding volunteers counted 99 species and 5,439 individuals. Not surprisingly, Red-winged Blackbirds had the highest number of individuals (1,199). What was a surprise was the fact that Bobolinks ranked second highest with 312 individuals! Tree Swallows, American Robins, and Yellow Warblers were third, fourth, and fifth respectively.

While some grasslands and wetlands on RBSRA had been regularly surveyed using point counts, no surveys had been done in other habitats and nothing had been done for the entire 4,515 acre property. In fact, a property-wide bird survey had never been attempted on State Park property. The thirteen territories ranged in size from 200-500 acres and were surveyed by one to three observers. Teams scoured their territories recording every bird they saw and noting in which habitat the birds were found. Participants were able to camp free the night before. Immediately after the count, everyone gathered for a delicious breakfast provided by the Friend's group and tallied all the birds they found.

Mourning Dove, Tree Swallow, American Robin, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, and Brown-headed Cowbird were found in every territory. Two species not previously seen on the property were Mourning Warbler and Western Kingbird. Several birds expected to be counted were not: American Coots, American Woodcock, Upland Sandpiper, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Vesper Sparrow. Several noteworthy species were counted: Common Moorhen, Black Tern, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Alder Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Henslow's and Grasshopper Sparrows, and Orchard Oriole. Upland Sandpipers and Chimney Swifts were not counted officially but were seen outside a territory or as fly-overs. This is of some concern as Upland Sandpipers used to be quite numerous on the property.

For survey purposes thirteen habitats were designated, each fitting into one of five main habitats--woodland, grassland, brush, wetland, and developed areas. For instance, brush was broken down into hedgerow, upland brush, or lowland brush. Keeping in mind some species were found in multiple habitats, numbers of species in each habitat guild were as follows: Woodland-55, Grassland-59, Brush-49, Wetland-44, and developed areas-26.

--submitted by Beth Goeppinger, Naturalist, Richard Bong State Recreation Area, elizabeth.goeppinger@dnr.state.wi.us

V. Nicolet National Forest Survey, Fri-Sun, June 11-13

The 18th Annual Nicolet National Forest (NNF) Bird Survey will be held Friday to Sunday, June 11-13, 2004, with headquarters at Lost Lake Camp (adjacent to the Lost Lake Campground) in Florence County, ~ 6 mi NE of Long Lake, and 15 mi SW of Florence. A poster and announcement will be available soon. Anyone
interested in birds and conservation is welcome to attend.

See the website for more details: http://www.uwgb.edu/birds/nnf/news.htm

--submitted by Andy Paulios, WBCI Coordinator, andy.paulios@dnr.state.wi.us

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.wisconsinbirds.org/

**************************************************************

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
masoffice@mailbag.com
http://madisonaudubon.org

--Making Time for Birds
********************