From: Madison Audubon []
Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 5:15 PM
Subject: WBCI e-News vol.2, no.3 (May 22, 2002)
WBCI e-News vol. 2, no. 3 (May 22, 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).

"Every spring, the greatest long-distance migrants in the world - shorebirds - pass through Wisconsin on an extraordinary journey from as far away as southern South America to breeding grounds in arctic Canada, many flying 8,000 miles or more." quote from "Masters of the wind" by Sumner W. Matteson & William K. Volkert  - Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine April 2002.

In this issue:

I.      Wisconsin Shorebird Survey
II.    WBCI Coordinating Council Meeting June 6
III.   WBCI Committee Meetings Announced
IV.   Colonial Waterbird Monitoring Data - On-line Centralized Data Repository
V.     Conservation Through Birding - Invitation

Invitation to contribute news

I.     Wisconsin Shorebird Survey

This year, Wisconsin is again participating the in the Western Shorebird Survey project.  This is an effort through the U.S. Geological Survey to monitor shorebird populations across the western United States. Because Wisconsin initiated a pilot program to manage for shorebird habitat on select state wildlife properties and monitor the response by shorebirds, we requested to participate in this project.  Last year was our first effort to set up the Wisconsin shorebird survey site on their webpage. It was an experimental effort and over the past many months the materials have been revised, updated and tested making the site operational this season.  Therefore, in addition to the western states, Wisconsin is currently included in this shorebird survey project.

Now is the time to begin to observe, monitor and enter your findings on the shorebird survey webpage.  If you are interested in participating, you will need to do the following.  Please check out the webpage before your birding trip to become familiar with the survey sites and specific locations, survey protocols and methods for entering your sightings.

To find the webpage go to:

Under the section entitled Select Maps, click on Wisconsin, then click Switch Maps. A state map of Wisconsin will come up indicating 12 sites which are currently included in the Wisconsin Shorebird Survey.  Under the section "Obtain a Site's Description" click on the desired location for which you want information and click on "Obtain Description".  This will take you to a site map which indicates the survey locations for each property or shorebird survey site.  Information includes directions to the survey locations and a detailed description of each site. Survey protocols are provided as well as the name of a contact person from whom you can obtain additional information on the site and its management.

When conducting your shorebird survey, simply record the species sighted and the number of individual birds seen on any particular day for each survey location on the various properties.  When you return home you can access the webpage and enter your data for that particular date, survey site and specific location at each site (several sites have more than one area to observe shorebirds from).

Since so many Wisconsin birders have an interest in observing and identifying this curious group of long-distance migrant birds we have an opportunity to take advantage of your birding activities to help us gather important information on the status of our shorebirds during the spring migration.  This project will form the basis of an emerging citizen monitoring project and provide essential population data to scientists working on shorebird conservation.

For more information about Wisconsin shorebirds, you may also wish to check out a recent article about the natural history and plight of our migrant shorebirds in the latest issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.  This article was written by Sumner Matteson, Avian Ecologist for Wisconsin DNR in the Bureau of Endangered Resources and Bill Volkert, Wildlife Educator/Naturalist for DNR at Horicon Marsh.  These are the same individuals who worked with USGS to develop the Wisconsin shorebird survey project and webpage as well as intitate the shorebird management pilot project.

Additionally, Bill and Sumner will be presenting papers at the WSO convention on the shorebird management and monitoring projects as well as piping plover research in Wisconsin.  We wish to thank all of the Wisconsin birders who will be helping us track our shorebirds through the Western Shorebird Survey.

--submitted by William K. Volkert, DNR, Wildlife Educator/Naturalist, Horicon Service Center, N7725 Hwy 28, Horicon, WI 53032  920/387-7877 (

II.    WBCI Coordinating Council Meeting June 6

The next meeting of the WBCI Coordinating Council (CC) will be Thursday, June 6 from 1
p.m. - 4 p.m. at the NRCS office (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service) at 6515 Watts Rd on the southwest side of Madison. All partners and the public are welcome to attend the Coordinating Council and all other WBCI meetings. Participation on the standing, ad hoc, and subcommittees is open to all and we invite and encourage you to sign up for one or more of these. The discussion and voting at CC meetings, however, will be primarily by CC members.

Several of the new committees have been meeting and will be reporting at this second Coordinating Council meeting (this includes the Habitat & Assessment Committee, which will be meeting the same day, June 6, at 10 a.m. at the NRCS office - please contact Gary Zimmer, the chair of the committee ( for more information on that meeting). We will also review the status of the Coordinator position and budget items and do further planning for implementing WBCI.

Directions to NRCS (6515 Watts Rd): From the Beltline Hwy in Madison (Hwy12/18) exit on S. Gammon Rd (the West Towne exit). Go south about one block to Watts Rd. and take a left. Go past Woodman's and watch for the NRCS offices on the right at the bottom of the hill. Parking on the Watts Rd would be best as there's limited parking in their lot.

For more information or a complete agenda, please contact Karen Etter Hale.

--submitted by Karen Etter Hale, WBCI Chair (

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. Urban/Suburban Subcommittee - Dan Spuhler, Chair

The first meeting of this subcommittee will be Tuesday, June 4 at 9 a.m.- 12 noon at Milwaukee County Parks Administration, 9480 Watertown Plank Rd, Wauwatosa. If you need directions, let me know, or go to and type in the address. Anyone coming from Madison contact Roma Lenehan (, who would love to carpool with you! Pencil in the date now, I'll put together an agenda and send it out soon. Remember, it's about keeping common birds common, urban birds (there are other committees for other habitats), education, recreation, habitat, research, outreach, and more! Please feel free to spread the word. --Dan Spuhler, Land Manager, Milwaukee Co. Dept. Parks, Recreation, and Culture, 9480 Watertown Plank Rd, Wauwatosa, WI 53226 414/257-6521 (

B. Outreach Committee - Rebecca Christoffel, Chair

The first meeting of the Outreach Committee will be Tuesday, June 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. at A232 Russell Labs (Department of Wildlife Ecology) on the U.W.-Madison campus. Before the meeting, please look over the WBCI Code of Procedures - Committee responsibilities at  We will be identifying missed outreach items, potential sources of assistance to execute our duties, and setting Outreach Committee priorities based on time, personnel, and other available resources. Please contact me for more information or a preliminary agenda. - Rebecca, 608/265-8264 (

IV.    Colonial Waterbird Monitoring Data - On-line Centralized Data Repository

Here's background of an on-line centralized data repository for colonial waterbird monitoring data at As described in the Continental Plan:  "Our ability to refine waterbird conservation planning and evaluate management actions at multiple geographic scales is dependent on a coordinated continental system of inventory and monitoring programs and a centrally-managed repository for waterbird data." The National Bird Population Data Center at U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, is already developing a data repository to archive data on waterbirds throughout their ranges, regardless of survey locality or survey method. This centralized database will be publicly accessible, allowing managers to submit and retrieve data over the Internet. Ultimately, it will be linked to other databases covering specific bird groups or regions of North America, such as the Pacific Seabird Database and data collected by the International Waterbird Census of Wetlands International.

This is a database under development. Some of the links aren't set. You might encounter some bugs. However, by browsing the data retrieval section, you can get a sense of the database structure and breadth.  If you would like to try some data entry, wonderful!  Please contact Melanie Steinkamp (, who is the main contact for all your data repository questions and needs, to be set up as a user..

--submitted by Jennifer Wheeler, Waterbird Coordinator, North American Waterbird Conservation Plan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arlington, VA 703/358-1931 (

V.    Conservation Through Birding - Invitation

For those subscribers who would like to deepen your involvement with this wonderful activity called birding...... For those who appreciate what birds do for you, but ALSO want to something important and lasting FOR those same birds..... Please read on.
I have been fortunate in recent months to join forces with some wonderful and very well-known people within the birding community. These are individuals who are at once both birders AND bird conservationists. We are working together because we want recreational birding to lead to something far more important and far more lasting than a lengthy list of rare and unusual birds seen. We want  recreational birding to lead directly to actions that are truly beneficial to the birds we all love.
Just as duck hunters have done through Ducks Unlimited and pheasant hunters have done through Pheasants Forever, there are ways that recreational birders can stand up and make major accomplishments for their resource - non-hunted birds and their habitats. We're now exploring new and exciting ways to make these things happen.

Considerable work has gone into developing a new set of standards, a set of values, to overcome what we view as the split personality in birding. Instead of the "conservation vs. birding" false choices that are presented to far too many birders, we are proposing a new "Conservation THROUGH Birding" approach.

What started as an e-mail dialogue a few months ago by a half dozen concerned and active birders, coalesced at a meeting of about a dozen folks in the Rio Grande Valley in February and led to a lengthy panel discussion at the March Partners in Flight conference in Monterey, California.

It's all about Conservation Through Birding, or CTB.

I invite you to take a look at what this loose group has been discussing and has done. And I ask you to consider joining us in this effort, and to consider working with us. What begins as a set of standards will be developing into some serious and practical activity.

Please look at these pages to see what we have to say:

If the message resonates with you, I hope you will wish to add your name to the list of Conservation Through Birding supporters. To add your name to the supporters' listing and join our monitored listserve on the CTB theme, send an e-mail expressing that interest (with your name and home town) to

And if you want to go straight to the list of our originating supporters, check it out on this page:

What are we starting to do already?  A number of us have already written and spoken on the subject of CTB. Some of us are actively organizing education and community-oriented projects specifically meant to carry out practical Conservation through Birding objectives.

Basically, we do whatever we can to put the CTB principles into action. You can see an article that I wrote about imbuing CTB concepts and principles into the Iowa Important Bird Area (IBA Progam), and a variety of other details here:

So what does associating yourself with CTB cost you?  Not one nickel.  This is currently a "network of cooperators" not an "organization," and we are trying to launch it with the individual contributions and work of some friends. (In short, there are no "dues" involved.)

More importantly, however, what might CTB bring to you?  Well, if there are enough of us pushing in the same direction we may change the entire birding culture.

Some of us think that's pretty important.

Please give Conservation Through Birding the consideration we think it deserves.
P.S. Finally, if you are in agreement and also know a few fellow birder-conservationist who would be interested in endorsing this CTB approach, you might consider passing the message -- and a personal invitation -- on to those folks.
Thank you.

--submitted by Ric Zarwell, IBA Coordinator, Audubon Iowa, P.O. Box 299, Lansing, Iowa 52151  563/538-4991 (

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
608/255-2489 fax