WBCI e-News vol. 3, no. 7 (December 5, 2003)

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).

Quote: "In what other field of activity can one find thousands of citizens giving up a share of their Christmas vacation to spend a long, hard day--or more--in wind, rain, or cold, keeping detailed notes, supplying all of their own equipment and transportation--and even paying a fee for the privilege of participating?

Obviously, there is compensation. The thrill of the unexpected, the comradeship, the satisfaction of aiding the cause of conservation, and the rejuvenation of the spirit, which is offered us daily by our Maker but which we so seldom take the trouble to accept."

--Chandler S. Robbins, The Christmas Count, from Birds In Our Lives, Alfred Stefferus, ed., U.S. Dept. of Interior, Fish & Wildlife Service, c.1966. To find out how you can spend a long, hard (but thrilling!) day helping count, see item I. below.

In this issue:

I. Christmas Bird Counts - December 14, 2003 - January 5, 2004

II. Sauk Prairie Bald Eagle Radio Telemetry Project

III. WBCI Committee Meetings Announced

Issues Committee, Fri, Dec 12, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. We Energies office, 700 W. Sunset Rd, Port Washington

Research, Inventory, & Monitoring, Thurs, Dec 18, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. location to be announced; Madison likely

Urban/Suburban Subcommittee, Wed, Jan 7, 9-noon, location to be announced

Habitat Assessment & Management Committee, Thurs, Jan 22, 10 a.m. - noon, location to be announced

Coordinating Council, Thurs, Jan 22, 1-4 p.m. location to be announced

IV. Traditional Chimney Swift (CHSW) Nesting Project Report

Invitation to contribute news


I. Christmas Bird Counts - December 14, 2003 - January 5, 2004

Plan now to participate in a Christmas Bird Count in your area of Wisconsin. Your efforts help to monitor populations of birds that spend the winter in your local area and will be used by conservation planners to help understand the importance of these areas to bird populations. In addition, this effort will help WBCI match its federal bird conservation grants!! See http://www.wisconsinbirds.org/events.htm for more information on how to get involved in a Christmas Bird Count in your area.

This will be the 104th annual count, conducted across North American and beyond. For more information or to view count data from 1900 to the present, see the National Audubon website http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/

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

II. Sauk Prairie Bald Eagle Radio Telemetry Project

Ferry Bluff Eagle Council is looking for volunteers for this, the last of 4 years, of a Radio Telemetry Project. We will be tracking up to 22 eagles: 5 rehabilitated, released birds and 17 wild birds trapped in the area. 3 of the birds have already returned to the area.

In a nutshell, we are looking for one person per day, everyday of the week. Tracking will take place during daylight hours. Each bird needs to be located just once in the day. When all requested information is logged - Bird ID, time, location (including azimuths if needed), weather, habitat and behavior - for all radioed birds in the area, you are done for the day.

Training will be provided. If you would like more information, please contact me.

--submitted by Kay Roherty, Ferry Bluff Eagle Council, Sauk City, downhomecomputing@yahoo.com

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)

Friday, December 12, 9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., We Energies office, 700 W. Sunset Rd, Port Washington. The main focus will be to continue planning for a proposed March 4, 2004 gull workshop/symposium.

Research, Inventory, & Monitoring Committee - Loren Ayers (loren.ayers@dnr.state.wi.us) & Jerry Bartelt (gerald.bartelt@dnr.state.wi.us) - co-chairs

Thursday, Dec 18, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. location to be announced; Madison likely. We will discuss a process to develop a Comprehensive Bird Monitoring (CBM) program for all birds in Wisconsin, as well as other topics.

Urban/Suburban Subcommittee - Ricky Lien, Chair (ricky.lien@dnr.state.wi.us)

Wednesday, January 7, 9 a.m. - noon, location to be announced. Topics we will cover include further organizing for an "Urban Bird Workshop" to be held in 2004 and contining our discussion of the "Bird City USA" idea.

Habitat Assessment & Management Committee - Gary Zimmer, Chair (rgszimm@newnorth.net)

Thursday, January 22, 10 a.m. - Noon

Coordinating Council - Karen Etter Hale, Chair (masoffice@mailbag.com)

Thursday, January 22, 1-4 p.m.

IV. Traditional Chimney Swift (CHSW) Nesting Project Report

Hello Birders and Chimney Swift Volunteers,

I have compiled statistics relating to our past season’s effort, including our one and only documented traditional Chimney Swift (CHSW) nesting site. A short version of these statistics follows.

Four volunteers reported a total of:

273 working (nest search) hours

2,352 miles driven in vehicles

155 miles traversed on foot

39 miles by water

One nest site (tree) was found by Mike Riegert and Jon Zellmer. The following is an overview of its statistics.

*This site is located in Taylor County, WI

*Property is owned by the US Forest Service

*Primary land use is silviculture

*Was found 100 feet off a forest road

*This site is considered heavily forested

*This site is dominated by middle and young aged deciduous forest - uneven aged.

*Species that dominate this site are White Ash, Red Maple, Blue Beech or Ironwood, Black Cherry

*Site canopy is considered 50% overall

*Generally speaking, there is a relatively open flyway to the nest site entrance

*It is documented that the swifts at this site were entering and exiting the nest tree on average of four times per hour, over consecutive days / weeks, and believed to be feeding young

*No other bird species or forest animals were using this tree snag as far as we know

*As many as six swifts were regularly sighted near this site, nine were sighted one evening

*This nest site tree is 100% dead, rotted out, and broken off by wind

*This nest site tree is a Red Maple, 25.25 inches in diameter at breast height (DBH)

*The bark is intact and in good shape on this nest tree

*The highest point on this broken off tree snag is estimated at 36 feet

*The swifts were entering this snag through a vertical, elliptical - sphere shaped hole created by a large limb that had broken away from the leader

*This swift entrance is estimated at 30 feet above ground

*There are two other 2-3 inch holes in the nest tree, possibly made by Pileated Woodpeckers

Jon Zellmer recorded some great footage of the swifts entering and exiting this site. I have made copies of this 6 minute VHS video and still have some on hand for anyone interested. Both Jon and Mike did a fantastic job keeping records, filming, and diligently monitoring this site. A big thank you to Mike and Jon and all others who worked hard and gave up their personal time for this project.

Traditional nesting CHSW sites are rare. Heading into this project we didn’t know if any existed in Wisconsin or outside old growth forests in Upper Michigan. No evidence I have found disputes the theory that this could be the only site in Wisconsin. Finding CHSW nest sites, especially in managed forests such as the one described above, is valuable. Our hope is to, at some point, make recommendations to forest land managers regarding the traditional nesting CHSW.

We are looking forward to another great nest searching season in 2004. The success of this project hinges directly upon the effort of volunteers. If you would like to be a part of this project, which encompasses all of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (and other states as well), please contact me.

--submitted by Ken Damro, Traditional Nesters Project, PO Box 543, Florence, WI 54121 (traditionalnesters@yahoo.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



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