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Honey Creek Spring Work Party

We plan to do the annual big clean-up of the nature center in preparation for the Birdathon/Bandathon and will be hanging new signage on the interior walls. Some folks will also be needed to do some trail maintenance. If interested in this, please bring along some pruners, loppers, or chain saw if you have it. We have not visited the trail since last fall, so are not sure what shape it is in. Snacks will be provided.
For more information, contact Kim Kreitinger
Hope to see you there!
When: Sun April 27 1:00 PM

White River Marsh

White River Marsh in Green Lake County hosts extensive sedge meadows, as well as wet prairie and open bog habitats. Potential highlights include displaying American Woodcocks, Wilson’s Snipe, and Sandhill Cranes. Participants wishing to see displaying woodcocks must arrive at 5 am. For those not wishing to arrive early, join the group along White River Road at 9 am.
When: Sat May 3 5:00 AM

Honey Creek - Birdathon/Bandathon

Sunday May 11
This annual event takes place at Honey Creek Natural Area in the Baraboo Hills of Sauk County. This is a fundraiser for the preserve; proceeds go the management and upkeep of this unique natural area. Potential highlights include Cerulean Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, and Red-shouldered Hawk. Events include bird banding and walking tours of the preserve.
When: Sun May 11 8:00 AM

WSO Convention 2014 !

When: Thu May 15 12:00 AM
Where: Prairie du Chien

Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest

When: Sun June 1 6:00 AM

Bird Walk at Schurch-Thomson Prairie, Iowa Co

This is a joint trip of The Prairie Enthusiasts (TPE) and WSO. Come for a morning hike to learn about prairie and savanna birds and the prairie restoration efforts at this site. This TPE preserve has an excellent variety of grassland birds, such as Upland Sandpipers, Eastern Meadowlarks, Henslow's Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Bobolinks. But there is also habitat for savanna/woodland birds such as bluebirds, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, flickers, and Red-headed Woodpeckers. Bring binoculars, hat, and boots for dew-covered grass.
When: Sat June 7 8:00 AM

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

Dual Dates: October 5 or October 12 depending on migration!
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.
When: Sun October 5 8:00 AM

Wisconsin Society for Ornithology Act 168 Comments

Big change is coming to Wisconsin’s state parks, a significant increase in hunting and trapping. Until recently, state parks were closed to hunting and trapping unless the Natural Resources Board (NRB) opened up particular parks. This was turned upside down earlier this year with Wisconsin Act 168. Under Act 168 all parks are open to hunting and trapping unless specifically closed by the Board. The DNR has circulated drafts of what’s being considered, a major expansion of that currently allowed. The NRB intends to establish during its December 11th Board meeting the rules that would take effect January 1st. WSO submitted the following comments on the draft:

Dear Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Members,

The Wisconsin Society for Ornithology (WSO) would like to comment on the hunting rules proposed by the Natural Resources Board to implement Wisconsin Act 168, which authorized expansion to hunting and trapping in Wisconsin’s state parks.

WSO was organized in 1939 to encourage the study of Wisconsin birds. The aims have since expanded to emphasize all of the many enjoyable 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.

WSO’s 1000+ members include those who enjoy birds attracted to their homes by feeders and bird houses, those who pursue field study or bird banding as a hobby, and those who engage in ornithology professionally.

Wisconsin statute 27.01 states that the purpose of state parks is “to provide areas for public recreation and for public education in conservation and nature study. An area may qualify as a state park by reason of its scenery, its plants and wildlife, or its historical, archaeological or geological interest.” WSO’s members, along with many other birdwatchers, both residents and non-residents, spend significant amount of time birding in our state parks. The parks natural resource base make them extremely attractive bird habitat, which in turn attracts many birders.

WSO has a serious concern with the time periods proposed by the Natural Resource Board for hunting/trapping closures in the parks. Specifically, the proposal that hunting only be allowed on state park properties from either October, 15th or November, 15th through the Thursday prior to Memorial Day.

The proposed closure period would essentially allow hunting in April and most of May. The months of April and May are the peak of the spring bird migration. They are also the peak of when birders are out in the field, attracted by the large number of migrating birds.

We understand that part of the reasoning behind the proposed hunting period is to avoid periods of high parks uses during summer and during the fall color season, to enhance the safety of the large number of people who visit the parks during those times. The large number of people birding in state parks during spring migration, along with others enjoying the colorful spring flower season, also deserve similar consideration for their safety.

Thank you for considering our serious concerns.

Michael John Jaeger
Conservation Committee Chair
Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, Inc.
jaegermj@charter.net