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Horicon Marsh NWR

Horicon Marsh is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the U.S. and supports large concentrations of waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds. We expect to find a variety of shorebirds and waterbirds, as well as resident and early migrant passerines. Potential highlights include Least Bittern, Black Tern, Black-necked Stilt, Snowy Egret, and King Rail.
When: Sun August 17 8:00 AM

Green Bay - Fall Warblers

Come learn the tricks to fall warbler ID. We will bird the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, and possibly travel to Ken Euers Natural Area, Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve, and Sensiba Wildlife Management Area near Suamico. There is potential to see more than 20 warbler species, including Cape May, Bay-breasted, Black-throated Blue, Canada, and Wilson’s. Wear good walking shoes because there will be some hiking, though leisurely. Bring a bag lunch.
When: Sat September 6 8:00 AM

Wisconsin Point - Jaegerfest

The 16th annual Jaegerfest will be one of the highlights of the birding year! Pomarine, Parasitic, and Long-tailed Jaegers have been seen on this trip. Other potential highlights include Sabine’s Gull, Arctic Tern, Pacific Loon, and Harris’s Sparrow. Bring layers of clothing, rain gear, and plenty of snacks. Participants also may want to bring old bread, popcorn, beef suet, etc. to “chum” for gulls. If you are staying in a motel, make sure you book your reservation early!
When: Fri September 19 7:00 AM

Harrington Beach - Hawk Watch

Harrington Beach State Park in Ozaukee County has more than a mile of beach habitat along Lake Michigan. It is here that we will watch for hawks migrating along the lakeshore corridor. Potential highlights include Swainson’s Hawk, Golden Eagle, and numerous migrating waterfowl. Please note there is a state park entrance fee. Bring a bag lunch or cooler. As it has done previously, this trip may also visit the Big Sit event at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve during which the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust will be dedicating a small grove of climate change appropriate trees that were purchased for the observatory by its founder, Noel Cutright, before his death last fall. See for details on the Big Sit and the dedication closer to that date.
When: Sun October 12 8:00 AM

Linwood Springs - Stevens Point - Saw-whet Owls

Meet at 7:30 p.m.
Join WSO for an evening at the Linwood Springs Research Station in Stevens Point and have a close encounter with Wisconsin's smallest owl, the adorable Northern Saw-whet! You'll learn about and observe the owls capture through infrared video surveillance, then enjoy a walk out to the nets. You'll get to see the owls up-close while we make notes and band them. You might even see a Long-eared Owl, too! There will also be a presentation on Project SNOWstorm that highlights the Wisconsin owls. The field trip will be led by WSO Field Trip co-chairs Jeff Baughman and Tom Schultz, and raptor biologist Gene Jacobs. A $15 registration fee is required for this trip and registration is limited to 28 people.
When: Sat October 25 7:30 PM

Passenger Pigeon Monument is one of WSO’s enduring accomplishments

As part of the re-dedication ceremony for the monument commemorating the extinction of Passenger Pigeon, Carl Schwartz, then WSO president,  made the following remarks, on May 17, 2014, at Wyalusing State Park.

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Do we yet understand the lessons of the Passenger Pigeon’s extinction?

As part of the re-dedication ceremony for the monument commemorating the extinction of Passenger Pigeon, Dr. Stanley Temple made the following remarks, on May 17, 2014, at Wyalusing State Park.

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WSO silent auction is a big success, raising $4,054 for conservation

Janet Speth, who chaired this year’s 75th WSO Convention Silent Auction, had this to say when it was all done:

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WSO Convention celebrates its 75th anniversary

The Wisconsin Society for Ornithology’s 2014 convention marked two significant milestones: the Society’s 75th anniversary and the centenary of the demise of the Passenger Pigeon. And it did so in stirring and memorable ways.

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Schurch-Thomson Prairie Field Trip, June 8

Grasshopper Sparrow by Eric Preston

Grasshopper Sparrow by Eric Preston

Roughly 30 hardy birders turned out for a great field trip at the Schurch-Thomson prairie on Saturday, June 8 led by Eric Preston ​ of The Prairie Enthusiasts and Pete Blank, WSO Conservation Chair​.

The day started out strong with a couple of Upland Sandpipers flying over the parking lot. Also from the parking lot we could hear and see Bobo​link, Eastern Meadowlark, Brown Thrasher, and Dickcissel.

We then headed out for a beautiful walk ​that​ wound through open grasslands interspersed with small thickets and riparian forests. Not far down the trail we were treated to several Henslow’s Sparrows making their unusually short ​,​ yet distinctive​,​ song. At one of the thickets we heard a Bell’s Vireo, a bird not common for even the most seasoned birders.

As we continued our walk we were treated to stories from Rich Henderson of The Prairie Enthusiasts about how the grasslands are being carefully managed to restore native plant diversity. Some stragglers in the back of the group spent almost as much time botanizing as birding. It was a diverse group of birders and several people on the trip added about 10 species to their life lists. One person commented on how amazing it was to be able to see such open country in all directions and how the grassland soundscape is so unique. Towards the end of the walk we located a few Clay-colored Sparrows, Eastern Kingbirds, Yellow Warblers, and a very cooperative Dickcissel.

All in all it was a great trip and we appreciate The Prairie Enthusiast for sharing their property with us and for the great restoration work they are doing.