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State of Wisconsin

US Robin 2
American Robin Turdus migratorius ©Alan & Elaine Wilson - Creative Commons Website

Birding Wisconsin

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.

Contributor

Jim Marrari

Jacamar Birding Tours

East Troy, WI

jacamar@centurytel.net

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 438

(As at October 2018)

State Bird - American Robin Turdus migratorius

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

Birding Trails: Wisconsin

By Steve Betchkal | Sandhill Crane Press | 2017 | Paperback | 400 pages, colour photos, colour maps |

ISBN: 9781940239002

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Minnesota and Wisconsin

By Bob Janssen, Daryl Tessen & Gregory Kennedy | Lone Pine Publishing | 2003 | Paperback | 376 pages, illustrations, map |

ISBN: 1551053241

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Wisconsin

By Owen J Gromme | University of Wisconsin Press | 1998 | Hardback | Milwaukee Public Museum Hardcover | 236 pages, 107 colour plates |

ISBN: 0299158608

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Wisconsin Birds

(A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species) | By James R Kavanagh & Raymond Leung | Waterford Press | 2000 | Unbound | 12 pages, colour illustrations, 1 colour map |

ISBN: 1583551700

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Wisconsin Birds : A Seasonal and Geographical Guide

By Stanley A Temple, John R Cary & Robert E Rolley, | University of Wisconsin Press | 1997 | Edition 2 | Paperback | 320 pages, Figs, maps |

ISBN: 0299152243

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

Aldo Leopold Audubon Society

Website

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

Website

Offices & Chapters

Chappee Rapids Audubon Society

Website

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

Facebook Page

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

Website

The Chequamegon Bird Club is a group of people interested in learning about birds and sharing their experiences watching birds. Some members are very knowledgeable, having been birdwatching for many years, and others are just beginners. We learn from each other and from guest speakers and programs at our meetings.

Coulee River Audubon Society

Website

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

Website

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…

Gaylord Nelson Audubon Society

Website

66 Meadowlark Drive Hudson, WI 54016 - 715-271-1663 - gaylordnelsonaudubon@gmail.com Also see the Facebook Page.

Green Rock Audubon Society

Website

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

Website

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

Website

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

Website

Lakeland Audubon Society is a chapter of the National Audubon Society that functions as an independent non-profit organization. Our mission is to support the Audubon Society’s programs while also providing local educational opportunities. We strive to accomplish this mission by donating Audubon Adventure kits to local elementary schools and by having speakers at our monthly meetings that cover a variety of nature related subjects. Our chapter is based out of Elkhorn Wisconsin, serving residents of Walworth County and the surrounding areas.

LoonWatch

Webpage

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

Website

Together with our members, we celebrate, enjoy, and protect Wisconsin's birds and natural heritage. We're a coalition of passionate individuals: bird watchers, wildlife enthusiasts, naturalists, and educators... ...and together, we protect vital wildlife habitat and share the joy of Wisconsin's natural world with thousands of people.

Milwaukee Audubon Society

Website

The mission of the Milwaukee Audubon Society, Inc. (MAS) is to protect and restore Wisconsin’s natural heritage and ecology through active leadership, education, advocacy and stewardship.

Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin

Webpage

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

Website

We are one of over 500 local chapters of the National Audubon Society, including 14 chapters in Wisconsin. We have over 800 member families that live in seven counties and 55 communities throughout northeast Wisconsin. National Audubon assigns members to chapters based on their zip code. National members may always request to be assigned to a specific chapter which may differ from their zip code assignment. In addition to members assigned by National Audubon, we have members who belong to our local chapter only, from a desire to support conservation, education, and bird habitat protection in this region.

Oshkosh Bird Club

Website

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

Website

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! Also see our Facebook page.

Winnebago Audubon Society

Website

We serve Winnebago County and the Fox Valley region of Wisconsin.. 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

Website

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

Website

The Wisconsin Society for Ornithology is a volunteer, nonprofit organization that was established in 1939. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment, study and conservation of Wisconsin’s birds. We provide opportunities for all people to enjoy resident and migratory birds, while being a leading steward of and ambassador for Wisconsin birds. WSO sponsors birding field trips throughout the year, hosts an annual birding convention, publishes a quarterly journal and monthly newsletter, offers research grants, and serves as an informational resource center on bird-related issues. Membership exceeds 1,400 from across the United States and around the world.

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

NC Hixon Forest Nature Center

Webpage

Satellite View

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.

NC Hunt Hill Nature Centre & Audubon Sanctuary

Website

Satellite View

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.

NC Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

Website

Satellite View

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…

NC Wehr Nature Center

Website

Satellite View

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…

NC Woodland Dunes Nature Center

Website

Satellite View

Woodland Dunes is an oasis of marshland, swamps, sandy fields and meadows and wooded ridges between Manitowoc and Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

NF Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Information

Satellite View

It is located within the Nicolet unit of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and is administered by the US Forest Service. The area protects four large, crystal-clear springs at the headwaters of Blackjack Creek, part of the Eagle River and Wisconsin River drainage.

NWR Fox River

Information

Satellite View

Fox River National Wildlife Refuge is managed by staff at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, it encompasses 1,054 acres (4.27 km2) of wetland and upland habitat along the Fox River

NWR Gravel Island

Information

Satellite View

Founded in 1913, the refuge consists of two Lake Michigan islands that act as nesting grounds for native bird species. The refuge is part of the Wisconsin Islands Wilderness Area, and as such it is off-limits to the public to preserve the habitat of the islands. It is inhabited by large colonies of shore birds and waterfowl in addition to hosting a pair of great black-backed gulls, one of farthest westward breeding sites of the species.

NWR Green Bay

Information

Satellite View

Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge of the United States located in the state of Wisconsin. It includes three islands in Lake Michigan: Hog Island, Plum Island, and Pilot Island. The islands are near Washington Island off the tip of the Door Peninsula of Wisconsin.

NWR Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area

Website

Satellite View

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.

NWR Necedah

Information

Satellite View

Necedah National Wildlife Refuge is located within the 7,800-square-mile (20,000 km2) Great Central Wisconsin Swamp, the largest wetland bog in the state. It includes extensive forest habitat (pine, oak, aspen) and large tracts of rare oak barrens habitat.

Wisconsin State Parks

Website

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.

WS Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary

Information

Satellite View

The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary is a 600-acre municipal urban wildlife refuge. It is the largest park in the Green Bay, Wisconsin Park system and home to the second largest wildlife rehabilitation program in Wisconsin. Facilities include a nature education center, observation building, hiking trails, woodland building and numerous animal habitats.

Forums & Mailing Lists

ABA's Birding News - Wisconsin

Bird news

Part of ABA

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Horicon Marsh Boat Tours

Tour Operator

Come journey with us to the very heart of the marsh on our two hour narrated Birding Adventure. Both casual birdwatchers and experienced birders will enjoy seeking out the over 305 species of birds Horicon Marsh has to offer. Bring your bird book, binoculars and let’s go birding!

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

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

Report PDF

…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

PDF Report

...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

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Country Comforts B&B

Accommodation

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

Accommodation

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

Accommodation

The Great River B&B offers a unique lodging experience: one "room" which is really the entire house. Our cottage offers a private and intimate alternative to accommodations available at other area B&B's, inns, or hotels.

Lindsay House B&B

Accommodation

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.

Festivals

Horicon Marsh Bird Festival

Website

Horicon Marsh Bird Club invites birders of all skill levels – as well as anyone who enjoys the great outdoors – to the 22nd annual Horicon Marsh Bird Festival (May 2019). This weekend-long event provides family-friendly activities and educational experiences designed to showcase Horicon Marsh’s role as an important habitat for birds and wildlife.

Blogs

Bird It Up

BLOG

Last update August 2016 - 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…

Joseph Devereaux - Birdstud's Birdchat

BLOG

Last update october 2017 - I'm a simple guy with very definite opinions about lots of stuff. I cling to the old-fashioned ideas of personal responsibility and hard work. I love capitalism and can celebrate anyone's successes. Having said that; I love watching birds and enjoying nature, however I don't hug trees and curse hunters. I believe in the great circle of life and survival of the fittest. I want to be a blessing while on this earth...that can mean all kinds of things.

Laura Erikson's For The Birds

BLOG

LAURA ERICKSON, 2014 recipient of the American Birding Association’s prestigious Roger Tory Peterson Award, has been a scientist, teacher, writer, wildlife rehabilitator, professional blogger, public speaker, photographer, American Robin and Whooping Crane Expert for the popular Journey North educational website, and Science Editor at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She’s written eleven books about bird

Mike McDowell - The Digiscoper

BLOG

Wisconsin Birding and Digiscoping…

Other Links

CD - Bird Song Ear Training Guide - Who Cooks for Poor Sam Peabody?

Website

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.

Great Wisconsin Birding Trail

Website

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

Website

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

Website

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 Birds

Website

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

Website

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

Gallery

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.