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Field Trips

WSO sponsors numerous field trips throughout the year. Members of WSO and non-members can attend. The trips are led by some of the top birders in Wisconsin, and they provide a good opportunity to see a broad range of Wisconsin birds.

Dual Dates for Dane/Columbia Ponds
Two field trips this year have two dates listed. Our intent here is to try and optimize our birding during these migration periods. The first date listed is the normal scheduled date, but if it is determined that the second date may be better, we will notify participants via the WSO website Wisbirdn Listserv and Wisconsin Birding Facebook page. So please check these services prior to the first date listed.

Upcoming Field Trips

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


Past Field Trips

Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest

Northern Kettle Moraine spans Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, and Washington counties and hosts the largest area of continuous forest in southeastern Wisconsin. This trip often nears 100 species for the day. Potential highlights include Red-shouldered and Broad-winged Hawks, Pileated Woodpecker, Acadian, Alder and Willow Flycatchers, upwards of 14 warbler species including Mourning, Canada, Hooded and Cerulean Warblers, as well as Grasshopper, Henslow’s and possibly Clay-colored Sparrows. Bring a bag lunch.
When: Sat June 1 2013 6:30 AM

Milwaukee - Winter Birding

This popular field trip concentrates on the flocks of waterfowl, gulls and other birds along the Lake Michigan shoreline. After starting at South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee, we work our way north and visit several birding spots along the lakeshore, and eventually end up at the Sheboygan’s Marina and North Point around midday. Dress very warmly for this trip, and bring lots of energy food to eat along the way.
When: Sat January 11 8:00 AM

Snowy Owls at Buena Vista

COST: minimum $25 donation; all proceeds will go towards Project SNOWstorm (

RSVP: Registration is required. If you plan to attend, please contact Kim Kreitinger at by Thursday, January 16. Participation will be limited to 40 people.

This is a joint field trip between the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and Project SNOWstorm. We will meet at the CITGO gas station on the west side of Bancroft along CTH W in Portage County. This station is located just east of the intersection of I-39. We would like to encourage carpooling, and request a minimum of 4 people/car during the event.

Gene Jacobs of UW-Stevens Point will discuss Snowy Owl biology, the background of Project SNOWstorm, and the movements of “Buena Vista,” the WSO-sponsored Snowy Owl that was fitted with a Project SNOWstorm transmitter. WSO field trip leaders Jeff Baughman and Tom Schultz will lead us in a search for local Snowy Owls, including “Buena Vista.” Hope to see you there!
When: Sat January 18 10:00 AM

Buena Vista Marsh & Necedah NWR - Eagles

We’ll spend a good portion of the morning here at Buena Vista looking for wintering raptors, Prairie-Chickens, and other grassland birds. Later in the morning we’ll depart for Necedah NWR in search of Bald Eagles, diving ducks and possibly wintering Golden Eagles. Bring a bag lunch to eat in the car.
When: Sat January 25 8:00 AM

Sheboygan - Lakefront Birding

The Lake Michigan shoreline is home to large concentrations of waterfowl and unusual gulls. Potential highlights include Harlequin Duck, Surf Scoter, Great Black-backed and Thayer’s Gulls. Depending on current birding information, our travels may take us north to Manitowoc and Two Rivers harbors or south to Harrington Beach State Park and Port Washington areas. Bring a bag lunch.
When: Sun March 9 8:00 AM

Dane & Columbia County Ponds

Postponed to March 30 due to thick ice on Goose Pond!
We will tour by auto to several ponds and flooded fields in this very productive area. A wide variety of waterbirds, shorebirds, migrant passerines and others are possible. Potential highlights include swans, Greater White-fronted and Ross’s Geese, American Pipit, and Lapland Longspur. Our trip typically ends after birding the causeway (CTH V) on Lake Wisconsin. Bring a bag lunch.
When: Sun March 30 8:00 AM

Mead Wildlife Area

The George W. Mead Wildlife Area spans Marathon, Portage, and Wood counties and is home to a diversity of habitats and bird species. Mead Wildlife Area is second only to Horicon Marsh in the total number of bird species recorded. Potential highlights include Greater Prairie-Chicken, Trumpeter Swan, and Short-eared and Long-eared Owls.
When: Sat April 12 7:30 AM

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 until at least 8 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

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

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


Field Trip Details

Click Here for a PDF of the 2014 WSO Field Trips.

Weather Cancellation Policy

In the event of poor or dangerous weather conditions, any given field trip may be cancelled. Participants will be notified via the Wisbirdn Listserv and Wisconsin Birding Facebook page. Please realize, under some circumstances there may be insufficient time to post a cancellation. So please exercise your good judgment when deciding to attend.


Field Trip Co-Chairs

  • Jeff Baughman; W2640 Middle Road, Campbellsport, WI 53010; Cell: (920) 960-4732;
  • Tom Schultz; N6104 Honeysuckle Lane, Green Lake, WI 54941; Home: (920) 294-3021 Cell: (920) 960-1796;