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©2014 Northeastern WI Audubon Society, Inc.

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Check our calendar for more events
Big Bay Birdathon & Photography Results
Oconto StoryWalks promote nature

Bird City-Wisconsin
Swift Tower Ready For Use!
Natural Landscaping Demonstration Plot
Prevent Birds from Hitting Your Windows
Birds and Lead: update your tackle
Open pipes are a bird deathtrap
Birds & Bats Bound by Burdock

Birding Checklists      MORE Ongoing Projects

 

No More Extinctions

Prof. Stan Temple inspired us at our 2014 banquet with his presentation on "Lessons from the Passenger Pigeon." By using our best understanding of species and ecosystem ecology in managing our natural resources, we should be able to prevent further extinctions. Too often recently, he says, we are seeing population limits set by legislation. This prevents resource managers from making adjustments that reflect changing conditions.

Flocks of millions of Passenger Pigeons seemed to be an unlimited resource. Since their lifestyle consisted of continual movement over a broad area of the eastern woodlands, they were never exposed to mass congregations of hunters. This changed once the telegraph was invented. The location of flocks was quickly known by market hunters. Trainloads of these birds were shipped to cities for meat. Since the appearance of the flocks was so sporadic in any one location, no one became alarmed when they didn't see the birds, and the drastic reduction in their numbers went unnoticed until it was too late. As a side note, scientists now believe there is a link to the Passenger Pigeon extinction and the widespread of Lyme Disease: without the pigeons consuming abundant acorn crops, there has been an increase in small rodent populations which eat acorns. These rodents are the primary reservoir for the disease spirochete (deer are only the carriers of the ticks).

Project Passenger Pigeon is marking the 100 year anniversary of the death of the last Passenger Pigion by a) familiarizing people with the passenger pigeon and its extinction, b) exploring how human activity impacts other species, and c) motivating people to take actions that both promote biodiversity and prevent human-caused extinctions.

Check them out.

Open pipes=bird death trap

The Kern River Preserve in California discovered a 8" vent tube with hundreds of dead bird skulls and carcasses inside.

Sean Rowe of Audubon California's Kern River Preserve suggests the following: Pipes of all sizes are a problem.  We have found dead birds in pipes from 1 1/2” to 10” in diameter.  A very high percentage of pipes I’ve looked into contain at least one dead bird.  And pipes don’t have to be in place very long.  Twice I have leaned a 3” steel pipe against a building, expecting to use it within a few days, only to find dead birds inside.  2 House Finches in one and a Rock Wren in another.

  • In our area 8-10” steel pipe (often old well casing) is used to make gate posts. We’ve documented dead American Kestrels, Northern Flickers, Ash-throated Flycatchers, and western fence lizards.
  • "3” steel pipe – used for fence corner posts – house finches & rock wren
  • "1 1/2 - 2” plastic pipe – tree swallow
  • "2-3” outhouse vent pipe – common yellowthroat

Solutions:

  • Remove pipes that can be removed
  • Plug pipes with sand/gravel or a heavy well fitted rock.  Even a few sticks if absolutely nothing else around.
  • Pipes that can’t be capped – eg. Plumbing vent pipes (on your rooftop) – cover with1/4” mesh hardware cloth held in place by a stainless steel hose clamp
  • Large gate posts – fill with sand, concrete or gravel.  Weld on steel caps – some ranches do this, or we have capped with a concrete plug.
  • Small steel pipes – used for signs or chain link fence posts – cap with metal cap or crimp top together." 

In addition, Mary Whitfield says, "I was just on the roof of my house and found three uncapped plumbing vent pipes on it, I'll be covering them this weekend."

Click here for a guide (567kb pdf) for land managers and home owners was prepared by Kern River Audubon.

Birds & Bats Bound By Burdock

The WI DNR has published an alert about bats becoming trapped when the hooked burs of burdock catch on their wings. While bats are of concern because they are already threatened by White Nose Syndrome, they are not the only animal at risk. Rehabilitators at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary say they've also treated small birds whose feathers have become caught in burdock. They can starve to death if they are not rescued in time.

Goldfinches are accustomed to perching on large seed heads to eat. As long as only their feet touch the burs they will be okay, but when feathers brush against a hooked bur the small bird's strength is not sufficient to get free from the tenacious plant. Kinglets and Hummingbirds have also been found dead in burdock heads.

Goldfinch caught in burdock

Photo of Goldfinch caught in burdock © Marie Read and used with her kind permission. Click on the image to see it full size on its original website, along with her other wildlife photography: marieread.com

Burdock is not a native plant. While some people use the root as food or medicine, it has gotten out of control. This is a biennial deep-rooted plant that requires tailored approaches to eliminating it, but it can be done without chemicals. Seed bearing plants will die after producing their seed heads but may persist longer than 2 years if they don't get a chance to flower. The DNR recommends cutting down burdock seed stalks just before the flowers open (when you see the lavender tops). First year plants can be pulled or dug up when they are still small. Larger and older plants can be cut off at least 3" below the ground surface.

Bird Checklists

    There are many excellent places to go birding in our area. Here are a few birding lists for some of our local hotspots.
  • Baird Creek Parkway: This checklist is still a work-in-progress. This greenway is within the city of Green Bay and is stewarded by the Baird Creek Preservation Foundation.
  • Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve: This checklist is produced by Barkhausen. You can also pick up a copy at their Interpretive Center.
  • Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary: We have modified their bird list to fit on standard paper, but it takes 3 pages. Stop in at their Nature Center (directions) to pick up their brochure of their bird checkllist, on a single sheet of paper.
  • Nicolet National Forest: This checklist comes from the Nicolet National Forest Breeding Bird Survey. Visit their site for more information about the survey.
  • Oconto Marsh: The marsh is part of the West Shore Important Bird Area. This brochure lists great birding locations in the area along with the bird checklist.
  • Point au Sauble: This checklist is from work done by students at the University of Green Bay's Cofrin Center for Biodiversity.
  • Point Beach State Park: This checklist came from the park.
  • Whitefish Dunes State Park: Because this park has a variety of habitats, you can see a diversity of birds. Use this condensed checklist or pick up a double-sided 4-columned version at the park, north of Sturgeon Bay. The DNR is updating their website, so a link to specific directions will wait.
  • More Birding sites

  • An excellent resource for northeast Wisconsin is the online version of the Great Wisconsin Birding & Nature Trail. Click on the region you are interested in, then click on each marked point to get the same information available in the print version.
  • While there are many areas within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest which are excellent for birding, we recommend visiting the Halley Creek Bird Trail as an excellent day outing.
  • Ridges Sanctuary in Door County
  •  

Window Strike Prevention

When birds hit a window it is frequently fatal. Even if they are just stunned they are easy prey for cats and other predators. Placing hawk or owl silhouettes on your glass is often recommended but only somewhat effective. Carl has developed a new method: stringing feathers with monofilament line across windows or glass doors. He used to have many birds, especially ovenbirds, meet their fate against patio doors. Stringing one feather across each window pane has prevented all bird collisions. Of course, only wild game or domestic fowl feathers should be used--never those of song birds or raptors.

How does this work? The feathers flutter with very little air movement. Wildlife react to movement. Static objects, like silhouettes or decals, do not cause the same reaction. One theory is that the movement causes the birds to shift their focus from the distance they see through the window to the surface where the feather is moving.

feathers prevent window strikes

Birds and Lead

Update your Tackle!

  • 26 species of water birds are impacted by poisoning from remains of lead fishing tackle. Up to half of adult loon deaths can be attributed to lead poisoning. One lead sinker or jig head or a couple of lead shot can kill an adult loon, eagle, or swan from lead poisoning. 
  • A high number of Trumpeter Swan deaths are caused by lead.
  • Bald Eagles can be poisoned from fragments of lead bullets in carcasses they feed on. Humans may also be affected by these minute fragments, though we generally aren't exposed to the same levels. as eagles.
  • Lead shot on trap and skeet shooting ranges can accumulate to hazardous levels. Birds using the area when humans have left can ingest lead.
  • Sinkers are easily ingested by birds.
  • Lead can be toxic to birds even at low levels of exposure, and damages the nervous system, leading to paralysis and death. Sublethal effects include neurological, tissue, and organ damage, and reproductive impairment

For more information on the effects of lead on birds, read the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative's paper here.

If you know someone who hunts or fishes, give them a gift of nontoxic ammunition and lead-free tackle. If you can't find nontoxic tackle at your local store, check the Raptor Education Group site.

Your old lead tackle can be sold at many scrap metal yards. Brown County residents may bring these to the Brown County Household Hazardous Waste Facility, 2561 South Broadway. For questions, call Brown County Recycling Hotline at 920-448-4400. Some gun shops will buy back old ammunition--call and ask.

GetTheLeadOutClick on the card to see it full size.

 

Bird City Wisconsin

"Making our communities healthy for birds...and people"

Full details for Bird City Wisconsin are here.

Milwaukee Audubon Society is heading the development of Bird City Wisconsin, modeled on the successful nationwide program Tree City USA.

They received an $8,000 Together Green grant funded by Toyota for this partnership among Milwaukee Audubon Society, the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, Wisconsin Audubon Council, the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison Audubon Society and the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin for developing the criteria for Bird City recognition, and launching the program in 2010.

Bird City Wisconsin participants can learn how to protect and manage green space, landscape with native plants in backyards and parks, adopt architecture and lighting systems that reduce collisions, and many other tools hospitable to breeding, wintering, and migrating birds which seek safe places to spend time and find food.

bird city logo

Green Bay is one of the first cities approved as a Wisconsin Bird City, and 2012 was awarded High Flyer Status for extra effort.

Brown County, Bailey's Harbor, Ephraim/Peninsula State Park and Oconto have also received Bird City (County) status.

 

Oconto Bird City The Oconto Bird City group has established some storybook walks in 2014 which will be at parks for your enjoyment all summer. At Copper Culture State Park: "Blue Sky Bluebird". At Bond Park on Hwy 22: "We Planted A Tree". At Holtwood Sporting Complex: "Why Should I Protect Nature". A storybook walk is a trail with pages from a book posted along its length. It's a great way for families to get children outdoors and learning.

Other Activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NORTHEASTERN WISCONSIN AUDUBON SOCIETY
PO Box 1, Green Bay, WI 54305