WBCI E-News vol. 2, no. 7 (13 September 2002)

The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative: "A cooperative partnership to deliver the full spectrum of bird conservation emphasizing voluntary stewardship."

The WBCIİ (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).

Quote:İİ "We're experiencing a huge crow die-off in the north suburbs of Chicago. We just did a survey and found virtually all the crows are gone from a 100 square mile area that once had many many thousands," said Judy Pollock, manager of the Bird Conservation Projects. "There's no way seasonal movement would account for this..." For more information, see item VII below.

In this issue:

I.İİİ WBCI Coordinating Council Meeting Thursday, September 19

II.İİ WBCI Committee Meetings Announced

Urban/Suburban Subcommittee - Wed, Sept 18 from 9:30-11 a.m. Wauwautosa İİİİİİİ

Habitat & Assessment Committee - Thurs, Sept 19 at 10 a.m. DATCP - Madison İİİİİİİ

Research & Monitoring Committee - Mon & Tues, Sept 23-24 DNR - Eau Claire İİİİİİİ

Outreach Committee - Wed, Oct 2 at 10 a.m. DNR Research - Monona İİİİİİİ

Wetlands & Shorelines Subcommittee - Tues, Oct 8 at 10 a.m. - NRCS - Madison İİİİİİİ

Bird-related Recreation [Bird Trails] Committee - Tues, Oct 8 DNR - Madison İİİİİİİ

Prairie, Savanna & Agricultural Subcom. - Tues, Oct 22 9 a.m. TNC - Madison (tentative)

III.İİ Shorebird Survey Data Wanted

IV.İİ HawkWatch at Effigy Mounds,Iowa Sat & Sun, Sept 28-29

V.İİİ WSO Youth Grant Program notice

VI.İİİSwiftWatch-Chimney Swift Roost Sightings Needed

VII.İİWest Nile Virus - Huge Crow Die-off In the North Suburbs of Chicago

Invitation to contribute news


I.İİİ WBCI Coordinating Council Meeting Thursday, September 19

The next meeting of the WBCI Coordinating Council (CC) will be Thursday, September 19 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. in Room 106 at DATCP (WI Dept of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection) at 2811 Agriculture Dr. on theİ southeast 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. Most of the committees have met and will be reporting at this third Coordinating Council meeting (the Habitat & Assessment Committee will also be meeting Sept 19, at 10 a.m., at the same location, Room 172 - please contact Gary Zimmer, chair (rgszimm@newnorth.net) for more information). Andy Paulios, our new coordinator, will report what he's done since he started August 1. Your input is needed as we move forward with implementing WBCI. Directions to DATCP (2811 Agriculture Dr.): From the Beltline Hwy in Madison (Hwy12/18) exit on Hwy 51. Go north about 1 mile to Pflaum Road. Head east (right) for about 3/4 mile to Agriculture Drive. The Prairie Oak State Office Building is at the top of the hill. --For more information or a complete agenda, please contact Karen Etter Hale, WBCI Chair 608/255-2473 (masoffice@mailbag.com)


II.İİİİ 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.

Urban/Suburban Subcommittee - Dan Spuhler, chair. İİİ The next meeting will be Wednesday, September 18 from 9:30-11 a.m. at Milwaukee County Parks Administration, 9480 Watertown Plank Rd, Wauwatosa. If you need directions, let me know, or go to mapquest.com and type in the address. --Dan, Land Manager, Milwaukee Co. Dept. Parks, Recreation, and Culture, 414/257-6521 (daniel.spuhler@ces.uwex.edu)

Habitat & Assessment Committee - Gary Zimmer, chair. İİİ The second meeting of this committee will be Thursday, September 19 from 10 a.m. to noon in Room 172 at DATCP (WI Dept of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection), 2811 Agriculture Dr. on theİ southeast side of Madison (see Coordinating Council above for more specific directions). This is the committee which is overseeing and coordinating the work of the 4 habitat subcommittees, all of which have now met at least one time. --Gary, Regional Wildlife Biologist, The Ruffed Grouse Society, 715/674-7505 (rgszimm@newnorth.net).

Research & Monitoring Committee - Loren Ayers & Jerry Bartelt, co-chairs. İİİ The first meeting of this committee will be a two-day working meeting Monday & Tuesday, September 23-24 at the West Central DNR Headquarters, 1300 W. Clairemont Ave, Eau Claire. Plans are to organize; review NABCI and WBCI direction and intent; discuss WBCI goals and objectives to determine group interest and expertise, identify existing products, programs and mechanisms, and finally, to formulate a work plan to address deficiencies. Please RSVP if you plan to attend! --Loren, DNR Ecological Inventory & Monitoring 608/261-6449 (loren.ayers@dnr.state.wi.us) or Jerry, DNR Wildlife & Forestry Research 608/221-6344 (gerald.bartelt@dnr.state.wi.us).

Outreach Committee - Bettie Harriman, interim chair İİİ The next meeting will be Wednesday, October 2 at 10 a.m. at DNR Research, 1350 Femrite Dr., Monona (just north of the Beltline and west of Hwy 51). --Bettie, Oshkosh Bird Club, 920/233-1973 (bettie@vbe.com).

Wetlands & Shorelines Subcommittee - Jim Ruwaldt & Joel Trick, co-chairs İİİ The next meeting will be Tuesday, October 8 at 10 a.m. in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conference room, 6515 Watts Rd. on the southwest side of Madison. -- Jim, FWS, 608/221-1206 x 14 (James_Ruwaldt@fws.gov) or Joel, FWS, 920/465-7416 (Joel_Trick@fws.gov).

Bird-related Recreation Committee - Sue Martin & Kevin Thusius, co-chairs. İİİ The Bird Trail committee of the Bird-related Recreation Committee will meet Tuesday, October 8, from 1-3 p.m. in Room 408, DNR (GEF 2), 101 S. Webser St., Madison. --Susan, Conservation Biologist, Great WI Birding Trail Coordinator, DNR Endangered Resources Program, 608/266-0545 (footes@dnr.state.wi.us) or Kevin, Ice Age Trail Foundation 262/306-6728 (kevin@iceagetrail.org).

Prairie, Savanna & Agricultural Subcommittee - Kurt Waterstradt & Tom Thrall, co-chairs İİİ The next meeting has tentatively been set for Tuesday, October 22 at 9 a.m. at The Nature Conservancy, 633 W. Main St, Madison. --Kurt, FWS, 608/221-1206 x 16 (kurt_waterstradt@fws.gov) or Tom, NRCS, 608/276-8732 x 265 (tthrall@wi.nrcs.usda.gov).

III.İİİ Shorebird Survey Data Wanted

While there have been numerous reports of shorebirds being sighted in Wisconsin this summer and early fall, please keep in mind that the Wisconsin Shorebird Survey began its fall survey period on August 15 and it runs until the end of September. For those watching shorebirds at any of our 12 survey sites, please help us with this project by entering your sightings onto the webpage atİ http://wss.wr.usgs.gov/project/new_map.html

Wisconsin Shorebird Survey sites include:

Nine Springs Lagoon

Theresa Marsh

A&W Ponds

Big Eau Pleine Reservoir

Horicon Marsh

Teal Flowage, Mead Wildlife Area

South Rice Lake, Mead Wildlife Area

Ken Euers Nature Area

Peshtigo Point

Seagull Bar

Crex Meadows - Phantom Flowage

Long Island/Chequamegon Point

Thanks for your interest in this project. --submitted by Bill Volkert, Wildlife Educator/Naturalist, DNR-Horicon 920/387-7877 (william.volkert@dnr.state.wi.us)

IV.İİİ HawkWatch at Effigy Mounds, Iowa Sat & Sun, Sept 28-29

HawkWatch is a free event for people of all ages and interest levels. It runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day with an 8 a.m. birdwalk on Saturday. This event was developed to celebrate the fall migration of birds of prey along the Upper Mississippi River, and to teach adults and children about the wonders of hawks, eagles, owls, and vultures, the mystery ofİ migration, and the Upper Mississippi River. Effigy Mounds National Monument is located on Highway 76, just north of Marquette, in northeastern Iowa.

Experts from Upper Iowa Audubon, Iowa DNR, and Iowa Nature Mapping will be conducting an annual count of migrating raptors, with extra binoculars and spotting scopes set up for all to use. Live raptor presentations include "Owls, Hunters of the Night" "The Harpy Eagle" "Birds of Prey Basics" "Falconry" "Identifying Raptors" and "Red-shouldered Hawks."

Kids activities, all free, include "Dissecting Owl Pellets" "Painting Feathers" "Making Tracks" and "Treasure Hunt." The Midwest Raptor Research Fund will operate a hawk banding station at the Visitors Center during the event, with birds released following brief programs. There will also be a store with 'raptorous' gifts, with all money going to the event. HawkWatch at Effigy Mounds is co-sponsored by the Upper Iowa Audubon Chapter, Effigy Mounds National Monument, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. --submitted by Pam Kester, HawkWatch Coordinator 563/873-1236 (kestrel@alpinecom.net)

V. WSO Youth Grant Program notice

Please share with any schools or teachers you interact with. The Wisconsin Society for Ornithology has a grant program for students who may be looking for funds to do a bird research project or help with some aspect of bird education. The informationİ below plus the application form can be found on the WSO website www.uwgb.edu/birds/wso/ by looking under Education for Youth Grant Program.

The WSO Youth Grant Program is set up to enrich and stimulate activities and research related to the study of birds. The program recognizes the importance the youth of our state have in fostering and enhancing their birding expertise. Please note that the grants must be submitted by the students.

Criteria for the WSO Youth Grant Program: İİİ

* eligible applicants must be students in grades K-12 who are residents of Wisconsin. İİİ

* proposals may be submitted in the area of Bird Research or Bird Education. İİİ

* focus on the precise needs of your endeavor; set realistic desired outcomes. İİİ

* proposals must be received by the WSO Youth Education Coordinator by April 1 and/or İİİİİ October 1 of the calendar year. İİİ

* grant monies will not be in excess of $250.00 per individual grant.

The WSO requires a written summary of your project or activity to be submitted to the WSO Board of Directors within two months after completion. This summary will appear in The Badger Birder (WSO monthly newsletter). --submitted by Barbara Duerksen, WSO Youth Education Coordinator 608/538-3820 (bduerksen@mwt.net)

VI. SwiftWatch - Chimney Swift Roost Sightings Needed

Please send any information you may have on chimney swift roost sites to SwiftWatch www.swiftwatch.orgİ

SwiftWatch is particularly interested in receiving information from Wisconsin because Wisconsin represents the northern and close to the western boundary for the species so it is very informative to get roost site data from this part of the country. Location of the roost site, as well as count data and dates of use are important. However, just knowing there is a roost site is valuable information. If you can't get through on the website, Dana Bradshaw (dsbrad@wm.edu) will gladly accept your information directly.

--submitted by Dana Bradshaw, Center for Conservation Biology, College of William and Mary, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VAİ 23187-8795, 757/221-1649 (dsbrad@wm.edu)

VII. West Nile Virus - Huge Crow Die-off In the North Suburbs of Chicago

According to an excerpt from an Audubon - Chicago Region press release (below), there's been a huge crow die-off in the north suburbs of Chicago. "Virtually all the crows are gone from a 100 square mile area that once had many, many thousands," said Judy Pollock, manager of the Bird Conservation Projects. "There's no way seasonal movement would account for this..."

"Audubon -Chicago Region recently announced the results of a survey of bird observations taken over 4 recent days in the Chicago region. This survey, conducted by 35 experienced bird monitors, confirms that crows are now almost completely absent from our northern suburbs and far north and northwestern Chicago. Crow populations are reduced significantly in other areas. Trained monitors also reported an absence of other bird species. According to Judy Pollock, Audubon's Bird Conservation Projects Manager, "Crows are noisy and visible birds whose absence is easily noted. It is harder to measure the impact on the songbirds - and the rare and endangered birds we have in the area that depend on our forest preserves for habitat. One hundred eleven species of birds are known to be affected by the West Nile Virus, and no birds have yet been found that are immune to WNV. This survey raises great concern for the fate of birds living in our yards, parks, forest preserves."

Monitors were asked to spend 45 minutes looking for crows between Thursday, September 5 and Sunday, September 8, in places where they would normally expect to find them at this time of year, and to report their results. In northern Cook County - from Glencoe and Northbrook to the far north and northwest sides of Chicago - fourteen survey teams spent a total of over 11 hours searching for crows and turned up only three crows. No crows at all were found in Evanston, a town which has experienced an enormous population of hundreds of crows in recent years. In west and northwest Cook County and DuPage County, crow numbers were very low: 16 survey routes yielded 15 crow sightings. In the other areas surveyed - Lake, McHenry and Kane counties, the west and near north sides of Chicago, and southern Cook County - numbers were somewhat low, with 17 observer teams reporting 75 sightings. Monitors who keep track of bird numbers over the years uniformly reported decreases in their 2002 August and September crow sightings compared to previous years. Historical data from these monitors suggests that an average of about five crows per route might be expected at this time of year.

Monitors reported unusual numbers of dead or ill birds of many species seen in recent weeks. These include American kestrels, great horned owls, red-tailed hawks, blue jays, chickadees, house sparrows, house finches and even pigeons. Some report that their normally bustling feeders and birdbaths are empty. "Eerie" was the word used by Charlotte Adelman of Wilmette. Others agreed. "Every day for the last week I had sick and dying finches in my yard, with symptoms that looked like West Nile Virus. Now my house finches are almost gone - the bird seed just sits there; nothing eats it,"said Jill Anderson of River Forest. Some observers commented on the absence of usual birds in their yards and woods. "It's like 'Silent Summer' in my neighborhood," said Stephen Packard of his yard in Northbrook. Elizabeth De la Baume, also of Northbrook, said, "I haven't had black-capped chickadees in my yard for a month - and they are ALWAYS around."

The survey was conducted by the trained and experienced monitors of the Bird Conservation Network Census. These monitors count birds of the parks and forest preserves in northeastern Illinois throughout the year." For more information, contact Judy Pollock, Bird Conservation Projects Manager, Audubon - Chicago Region, 5225 Old Orchard Rd.İ Suite 37, Skokie, IL 60077 (847)965-1150 (jpollock@audubon.org)

--submitted by Noel Cutright, We Energies 414/221-2179 (noel.cutright@we-energies.com)

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 ad hoc committee chair
and WBCI e-news coordinator

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