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WGLBBO IMBD 4THE BIRDS team records 89 species -- and remember there is still time to donate!

The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory’s Great Wisconsin Birdathon IMBD Big Day took place as part of our International Migratory Bird Day celebration on May 20. We conducted four birding tours of Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, which were led by Joel Trick, Calvin Brennan, and Bill Mueller; and one “off-site” field trip to nearby Harrington Beach State Park, led by WDNR ecologists Rich and Amy Staffen.

Despite wind and rain, more than 130 people attended. We found the following 89 species at an event that also featured a raptor show, bug hotels, a pesticide discussion, native plant sale and an ecological rummage sale:

American Crow
American Goldfinch
American Kestrel
American Redstart
American Robin
Baltimore Oriole
Barn Swallow
Black-and-white Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Black-capped Chickadee
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blue Jay
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-headed Vireo
Blue-winged Teal
Brown Creeper
Brown-headed Cowbird
Canada Goose
Canada Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Caspian Tern
Cedar Waxwing
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Chimney Swift
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Cliff Swallow
Common Grackle
Common Yellowthroat
Double-crested Cormorant
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Towhee
Eastern Wood-Pewee
European Starling
Field Sparrow
Gray Catbird
Great Blue Heron
Great Crested Flycatcher
Green Heron
Hairy Woodpecker
Herring Gull
Hooded Merganser
Horned Lark
House Finch
House Sparrow
House Wren
Least Flycatcher
Lincoln's Sparrow
Magnolia Warbler
Mourning Dove
Nashville Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Northern Flicker
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Northern Waterthrush
Orchard Oriole
Palm Warbler
Purple Martin
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-breasted Merganser
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-winged Blackbird
Ring-billed Gull
Sandhill Crane
Scarlet Tanager
Song Sparrow
Spotted Sandpiper
Swainson's Thrush
Tennessee Warbler
Tree Swallow
Turkey Vulture
Warbling Vireo
White-breasted Nuthatch
White-crowned Sparrow
Wilson's Warbler
Wood Duck
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow Warbler

For 2017, International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) celebrates the importance of local stopover sites and encourages everyone to get involved in protecting them. And what site could be more appropriate than Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, just north of Port Washington at 4970 Country Club Rd.

The WGLBBO IMBD 4THEBIRDS birdathon team consisted of everyone who showed up on Saturday May 20. 

What is a Birdathon? Think of it as a walk-a-thon with birds! Volunteers  collected pledges and donations for the birds seen with our team of experts at this free event. Proceeds will benefit both the Observatory and the Bird Protection Fund of the Natural Resources Foundation.

We  offered special IMBD prizes (caps, shirts, posters, pins, bird bands) to all those who pledged or donate to the Great Wisconsin Birdathon on site, although anyone is welcome to donate right here and now through this web site.

May 20 highlights:

All-day, Native Plant Sale -- Choose from hundreds of Wisconsin natives to beautify your yard and support the pollinators and insects that birds need to survive.

All-day, “Ecological” rummage sale -- New and used bird houses, bird feeders, nature books, outdoor and gardening gear.

10 a.m., Live Raptor Exhibit & Talk -- Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center admits birds of prey, reptiles, and predatory mammals. Jeannie Lord, executive director, will thrill you with live birds during her introduction to these amazing animals and the threats they face.

11 a.m., Nature Photography --Naturalist Kate Redmond publishes weekly essays on insects and other invertebrates, complete with her photos. Join Kate for this beginner-level presentation aimed at helping you get the wildlife picture you want. Bring your camera and put your new skills to the test.

Noon, Pesticide Dangers – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ecotoxicologist Sarah Warner on the impact of pesticides on birds, butterflies, and moths, conservation issues that were brought to the public’s attention by Rachel Carson in the 1950s.

12:45 p.m., Dragonfly Walk -- Forest Beach was established as a migratory hot spot for birds, but it has turned out to be much more. Freda Van Den Broek will show how Forest Beach has turned out to be a dragonfly hot spot as well.

1:30 p.m., Bug Hotels -- Tom Kroeger, manager of Lakeshore State Park, will demonstrate the concept behind “bug hotels” and explain why you want one for your property (Hint: They are good for birds and help abate worldwide insect declines!).

2 p.m.,Bird Identification -- Join retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Joel Trick and Observatory Director Bill Mueller for tips on identifying the birds of spring as well as those who spend their whole year here.


When is IMBD? Because birds do not migrate on the same day, IMBD is celebrated on different dates across the Western Hemisphere. Events take place year-round, though many in Wisconsin occur in mid-May, or in October in Latin America and the Caribbean.

IMBD is the brainchild of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, dedicated to greater understanding, appreciation and protection of the grand phenomenon of bird migration. The first celebration was hosted at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in 1993. Coordination was turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 1995.

The program grew rapidly, and Environment for the Americas, a non-profit that works throughout the Western Hemisphere to share information about birds and their conservation, has been coordinating IMBD since 2007. It celebrates the migration of nearly 350 species of birds between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Our fundraising goal: $1,000

$413 raised so far   $587 to go!