While Wisconsin lacks the scenic grandeur of the west and the notoriety of the east, it does contain variety and surprises that few states can match. It's a place where boreal forests of the north meet hardwood forests of the east and the grasslands of the west. Rough dimensions of the state are 300 miles north & south by 150 miles east & west. The northern third of the state contains thousands of lakes surrounded by forests of White Pine, Hemlock, Maple, and Yellow Birch. These lakes provide nesting areas for Bald Eagle, Osprey, and Common Loon. The western boundary is the Mississippi River and its associated wetlands and bottomland forests. The eastern boundary is Lake Michigan with its sandy shores. The latter two serve as major flyways for numerous migratory birds… ducks, swans, raptors, and passerines.
While more than 400 species have been observed in Wisconsin, a more realistic number to shoot for in a given year would be 300. This of course would require lots of driving to find rarities.
Warblers are high on the most-desired list for birders in Wisconsin; with over 30 species occurring and over 20 species nesting in the state. Warblers such as Kentucky, Cerulean, Prothonotary, and Yellow-throated can be observed in the southern part of the state, especially along the Mississippi River in places like Wyalusing State Park. While the north woods are home to Blackburnian, Cape May, Northern Parula, Nashville, Canada, and Magnolia. The peak time for warbler watching is the first two to three weeks in May.
Other highlights include…
Wintering Bald Eagles along the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers. Where dams keep the water open, eagles can easily be observed. Sauk Prairie along the Wisconsin River and Cassville along the Mississippi are consistently good during the winter.
Waterfowl migrations along the Mississippi River. Each Spring and Fall, thousands of geese and ducks pass through. Most impressive are the thousands of Tundra Swans that congregate along the Mississippi in October and November. Good spots to observe the Swans are Rieck's Lake in Alma and Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge north of La Crosse.
Horicon Marsh is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the country. Hundreds of thousands of geese and ducks pass through here each spring and fall. In addition, several species of ducks along with herons, egrets, bitterns, and rails nest here.
Recommended guidebook is Wisconsin's Favorite Bird Haunts published by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. Revised in 2009, it contains detailed descriptions with maps of birding hotspots in every county of the state.
Jacamar Birding Tours
East Troy, WI
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 437
As of February 2015
Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder
Birds of Minnesota and Wisconsin
Bob Janssen, Daryl Tessen and Gregory Kennedy 376 pages, illus, map. Lone Pine Publishing 2003
ISBN: 1551053241Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds of Wisconsin
Owen J. Gromme, Samuel D. Robbins (Introduction); Milwaukee Public Museum Hardcover - 240 pages (November 1998) University of Wisconsin Press
ISBN: 0299158608Buy this book from NHBS.com
Wisconsin Birds : A Seasonal and Geographical Guide
Stanley A. Temple, John R. Cary, Robert E. Rolley, Wisconsin societPaperback - 366 pages (February 1998) University of Wisconsin Press
ISBN: 0299152243Buy this book from NHBS.com
American Robin Turdus migratorius
Guides & Tour Operators
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2011 [09 September] - Peter Elfman
…After this stop in the woods we drive to the Visitor centre were we walk along the marsh and into the woods. Along the road to the Visitor centre we can see a Belted Kingfisher near the road. Cedar Waxwings, Catbird and a Eastern Wood-Pewee are good birds in the forest before we suddenly are in the middle of a flock migrating warblers. Soon we can identify Nashville Warbler, Tennessee Warbler and a Black and white Warbler…
2016 [10 October] - Petri Hottola - Horicon Marsh
...The best record probably was a Yellow Rail, of which I had just recently made four observations in North Michigan, during the previous four days (Houghton Lake & Trout Lake). It could have been either a bird on migration or a territorial one. In early June, one may expect to see both breeding birds and late migrants to the far north, not to mention migratory birds not fit enough to reach their breeding areas, such as the male Lesser Scaup, I presume. I was also impressed by the breeding Trumpeter Swans, so far south, and the good numbers of American White Pelicans, Redheads and Black Terns....
Places to Stay
Country Comforts B&B
Summertime - after a hearty country breakfast, linger over a cup of coffee while you read the paper on the front porch and rejoin the birds concert.
Courthouse Square B&B
Guests frequently comment about the peace, quiet and natural beauty of the setting of this B&B. Fragrant flower and herb gardens, the multitude of birds and mischievous squirrels, can be enjoyed at the many benches placed throughout the gardens and on the shore of the small pastoral lake.
Great River B&B
Built in 1869, the Great River Bed and Breakfast is a pioneer Swedish stone cottage located in Stockholm a picturesque river village (pop. 89). The emphasis here is on low-key relaxation: walking, biking, bird-watching (including one of the country`s largest eagle populations); or reading. All rooms are beautifully, but simply, furnished with antiques, period pieces and artwork. Guest rates are $135.00.
Lindsay House B&B
The Little Wolf River and the lush surrounding area is the site for many outdoor recreational activities and wildlife watching. Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, turkeys, song birds, White Tail Deer as well as beautiful wildflowers reside here.
Aldo Leopold Audubon Society
Welcome to the webpages for the Aldo Leopold Audubon Society serving Central Wisconsin. It has been my pleasure to provide leadership and work with an outstanding group of people on the Board of Directors of ALAS as we strove to implement the ALAS vision and represent nearly 550 members of our chapter…
Audubon Society in Wisconsin
Usual list of local chapters.
Chappee Rapids Audubon Society
The Chappee Rapids Audubon Society is a Michigan - Wisconsin organization whose purpose is to acquire knowledge of and promote understanding of the natural sciences and to conserve, appreciate, and protect wildlife and the environment. - N 2982 Cooke La, Marinette, WI 54143 - Trygve Rhude, President
Chequamegon Audubon Society
The Chequamegon Audubon Chapter is a regional resource dedicated to providing an open forum for discussion and action on issues related to the environment, educating members and the public about the natural world and the threats those natural systems are facing, and supporting efforts to identify and preserve unique areas.
Chequamegon Bird Club
The Chequamegon Bird Club was formed in Medford, Wisconsin, in 1981 by renowned ornithologist, Sam Robbins. As a result of the enthusiastic response he received as a guest speaker on a local radio program, Robbins was asked to teach a 1 hour class at the university center. The formal organization of the Chequamegon Bird Club was at the request of the students of that class. Attendance has grown from the 37 individuals attending that first meeting at the Robbin's residence to more than 100 current members…
Coulee River Audubon Society
Serving the communities of La Crosse, Vernon, and Monroe Counties in Wisconsin and Houston and Winona Counties in Minnesota.
Fond du Lac County Audubon Society
We encourage all who have an interest in nature and the quality of our environment to become members of the National Audubon Society, and of our local chapter, the Fond du Lac County Audubon Society. Part of your dues comes back to the local chapter and part pays for your subscription to Audubon magazine, published bimonthly…
Green Rock Audubon Society
Green-Rock Audubon Society, Inc. was incorporated in 1991 as a Section 501 C (3) non-profit corporation and is a local chapter of the National Audubon Society. Between 2000 and 2004 we acquired a conservation easement and 250 acres of land so we are a land trust. In 2007 we began aggressively restoring our property.
Horicon Marsh Bird Club
From backyard bird watchers to field ornithologists and researchers, Bird Club activities are available for novice and expert birders alike. We encourage families and youth to join us in observing and studying Wisconsin birds.
Hoy Audubon Society
Hoy Audubon Society serves eastern Kenosha and Racine Counties, Wisconsin. The name commemorates Dr Philo Romayne Hoy after whom Hoy's Screech Owl was named.
Lakeland Audubon Society
Our regular program meetings are held in the Lion's Fieldhouse in Williams Bay (north side of the Village on Highway 67 by the athletic fields). The meetings begin at 7pm and are held on the 4th Tuesday evening of September, October, November, January, February and March. Traditionally, we have an annual dinner meeting in April. Occasionally we have added programs in May and August…
LoonWatch is a program of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College in Ashland, WI. It was founded in 1978 to monitor the population, reproductive success, and habitat use of the common loon in northern Wisconsin. The other goal of LoonWatch is to raise public awareness and appreciation of the common loon through outreach and educational programs. All of the monitoring observations come from volunteers, called Loon Rangers, living across Wisconsin. Our contact information is: LoonWatch, Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, Northland College, Ashland, WI 54806
Madison Audubon Society
One of the better local chapter sites. - The mission of the Madison Audubon Society is to educate our members and the public about the natural world and the threats that natural systems are facing, to engage in advocacy to preserve and protect these systems, and to develop and maintain sanctuaries to save and restore natural habitat.
Milwaukee Audubon Society
Events, Projects, Conference, volunteers etc…
Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin
Another newly designed NC site in its early development - Welcome to the Wisconsin Chapter of The Nature Conservancy home page! Here you'll find information on the many ways we're working with the people of our state to help preserve the diversity of living things by protecting the habitats in which they live…
Northeastern Wisconsin Audubon Society
NEW Audubon has received a grant to establish new bluebird trails in the Fox Valley region and to train monitors. If you live in the Fox Valley area (Outagamie, Shawano, Calumet, northern Winnebago, and Waupaca Counties) and would like to set up a bluebird trail…
Oshkosh Bird Club
The Oshkosh Bird Club was founded on May 4, 1970 in order to stimulate interest in and promote the preservation of birds. Club members are actively involved each year in field trips, bird counts, and local bird projects. The Oshkosh Bird Club meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Rowland Room on the lower level of Evergreen Manor Retirement Community, 1130 N. Westfield St., Oshkosh, Wisconsin….
Sheboygan County Audubon Society
Interested in birds and the natural world? Come to a meeting, visit our hawk watch, or take a walk with us! We will introduce you to the world around you!
Winnebago Audubon Society
The Winnebago Audubon Society's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the Earth's biological diversity…
Wisconsin Metro Audubon Society
Join the Wisconsin Metro Audubon Society, a chapter of the National Audubon Society, serving the southern and western areas of Milwaukee and surrounding communities. Reap the benefits of being a member…
Wisconsin Society for Ornithology
The Wisconsin Society for Ornithology was organized in 1939 to encourage the study of Wisconsin birds. The aims have since expanded to emphasize all the enjoyment aspects of birding and to support the research and habitat protection necessary to preserve Wisconsin birdlife. WSO strives to alert members and the public to situations and practices that threaten Wisconsin's bird populations…
Horicon Marsh Bird Festival
If you're a birder or a naturalist or just someone who enjoys the beauty of nature we encourage you to come visit Horicon Marsh. The Horicon Marsh Bird Festval will focus on introducing vititors to many of these birds at the peak of the spring migration. Please go to the following link and read more about the festival in a story that appears in the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine….
Hixon Forest Nature Center
Hixon Forest Nature Centre welcomes you to our world of birding, environmental education, hiking, prairie restoration and other wonderful events. The Nature Centre is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness, understanding, enjoyment, and protection of local natural areas. These natural areas include forest, marsh, rare native prairies, bluffs, and rivers - all habitats of incredible numbers of wildlife.
Horicon NWR & Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area
Over 32,000 acres in size, Horicon Marsh is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. The marsh provides habitat for endangered species and is a critical rest stop for thousands of migrating ducks and Canada geese. It has been recognized as a Wetland of International Importance, a Globally Important Bird Area, and a unit of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve.
Hunt Hill Nature Centre & Audubon Sanctuary
Hunt Hill was donated to the National Audubon society in 1955 by Frances Hunt Andrews. Her dream was to see the property used as an environmental education centre where people could have the opportunity to enjoy and learn about nature in the same way that she did.
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (SANC) is a 185-acre stretch of untouched land along the shore of Lake Michigan. Escape from the world of concrete to hike six miles of trails, walk along the beach, and enjoy the spectacular view from their 60-foot observation tower…
Wehr Nature Center
Rustling leaves, shimmering seas of grass, a cool rush of water over rock, birds and waterfowl calling, a rainbow of wildflowers, a scamper of animal feet… all of these natural treasures and many more await you at the Wehr Nature Center…
Wisconsin State Parks
This section of the DNR Website will give you information about many of our larger state properties that are excellent places to hunt, hike or watch wildlife. Wisconsin can take pride in its vast treasure of natural resources, particularly its wildlife. Public lands managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources provide many opportunities and public spaces for you and your family to hunt, fish, hike, canoe, watch or photograph wildlife. Escape from your daily routine amidst the forests, prairies and wetland meadows and enjoy the natural beauty of Wisconsin.
Forums & Mailing Lists
Bird It Up
A Wisconsin birding blog by an obsessive individual - Considering this blog is focused on birding I think I should start here. If you would have asked me 10 years ago – at say, the age of 30 – if I’d be an obsessed birder, I would have called you frickin’ nuts. Granted it was 10 years ago, 2004, that I first got this feathered obsession. I was camping at Three Johns in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest near Eagle River and we had a pair of loons nesting on the lake. For a week I was pretty taken with following their movements, listening to their calls, and seeing them swim (yes, I have a shot of one underwater near our canoe), take off, and land…
Let's Talk About Birds (and life), Shall We? - Joseph Devereaux - Milwaukee, WI, United States - Proving to the world once and for all that not ALL birders are nerdy…
Laura Erikson's For The Birds
Staff ornithologist for binoculars.com and writer, broadcaster gives her burds-eye views…
Mike's Birding and Digiscoping Blog
Wisconsin Birding and Digiscoping…
CD - Bird Song Ear Training Guide - Who Cooks for Poor Sam Peabody?
This Audio CD is designed for anyone who wants to improve their ability to recognize bird songs. It features the sounds of 189 different bird species found in the Midwest and Northeast States. Each bird song recording is followed by a short description of the sound along with a common mnemonic used to remember it. Many well-known song mnemonics such as Who cooks for you? for the Barred Owl and Poor Sam Peabody for the White-throated Sparrow are included. Following the song and mnemonic, the source of the sound is revealed. By naming the bird at the end of each track, the listener is allowed to wonder and guess at the nature of the sound. Active listening, similar to what one experiences in the field while searching for an unknown bird song, is a key to engaging the memory process… …Profits from this CD will go to the NatureConservancy and the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.
Checklist - Birds of Wisconsin
Great Wisconsin Birding Trail
Welcome to Wisconsin Birding, the premier birding site for Wisconsin. Within you`ll find everything you need for your birding fun. Check out the forums for birding hot spots, bird sightings, birding buddies, and more.
Nicolet National Forest Bird Survey
The Bird Survey takes place each year during the second weekend in June. Everyone with an interest in birds and a desire for adventure is invited to participate in the Bird Survey. Volunteers work in small groups led by at least one expert in bird song identification. Computerized results are used to guide forest management policies and have been the subject of numerous scientific research articles and master`s theses. Results also provide visitors with information about habitat preferences and hot-spots for northern Wisconsin`s bird species.
Turtle Flambeau Flowage
Whatever the time of year, the wilderness of the Flowage provides a breathtaking backdrop for some of the most captivating wildlife you could ever hope to see. Springtime brings the new young of the year out to cavort among the delicate green of budding birches. Fox kits tumble and play, otters slide gleefully down the river banks and spotted whitetail fawns wobble on spindly, under legs. Summer provides long, glorious days of bright yellow sunshine that glitters off the dancing waves while bluebirds soar over head, butterflies flutter about, and curious black bears poke about.
Wisconsin Backyard Birding
Some very nice photographs.
Wisconsinbirds.com is part of the Birdzilla.com network of Web sites. You can visit the Birdzilla Web site or one of our other networked sites for even more wild bird information…
Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas
The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas (WBBA); an on-going project administered by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, began in the spring of 1995 and data collection will continue for at least five years.
Photographers & Artists
Artist - Martin R Murk
A native of Wisconsin, Martin R. Murk's wildlife art has earned him many awards, including the 1982 Wisconsin Wetland's for Wildlife Artist of the Year, 1984 Wisconsin Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year, 1986 Wisconsin Waterfowler's Artist of the Year - as well as the 1987 Great Lakes Wildlife Artist of the Year. Winner of the 1977 Federal Duck Stamp Competition, the 1979 Wisconsin Trout Stamp and the 1980 Wisconsin Duck Stamp contests, Marty also designed Wisconsin's first Great Lakes Salmon and Trout stamp and the first North American Endangered Species Conservation stamps in 1982.
Artist - Samuel Timm
Reverend Samuel Timm, known simply to his friends as Sam, is a Wisconsin wildlife artist whose reputation for excellence is well known in the world of wildlife art. Sam’s works have appeared on over 75 separate limited editions, a multitude of magazine covers, Christmas cards, calendars and china plate designs.
Photographer - Mike McDowell
Wonderful US photographer gives digiscoping advice…