Birds are an essential part of Wisconsin’s culture and ecology. Yet many species face grave threats from habitat loss, climate change, and other human-caused pressures and nearly one-third are imperiled or will be without intervention. To conserve them, we need a current understanding of birds that rely on Wisconsin to breed and raise their young. Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II mobilizes volunteers across the state to accomplish this — we need your help to document which birds are breeding in your area!
What is the Atlas?
The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II is a comprehensive field survey that documents the distribution and abundance of birds breeding in an area. The information will allow us to see changes in bird populations since the last survey and to measure future changes. These insights help us identify the conservation needs of breeding birds and try to meet those needs.
Volunteering is easy and fun!
Put your love of birds to work and learn to birdwatch in a new way by closely observing bird behavior and reporting the data online. It’s easy! Sign up to observe birds near your home, your favorite birding spots, and in atlas priority blocks. Report your observations of bird behavior online using a state-of-the-art system developed by eBird. The Atlas is a volunteer effort, with birdwatchers, nature centers, nonprofit organizations and government agencies coming together in a project coordinated jointly by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory.
Building on and updating the first Atlas
The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II will run from 2015 to 2019 and will update and expand on the findings of the first atlas — and provide critical data for conservation of birds for years to come. The first Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas, conducted from 1995 to 2000, represented the largest coordinated field effort in the history of Wisconsin ornithology. Volunteer field observers documented 237 bird species, 235 of which were listed as at least probable breeders in the state. Results from that first survey (available online and as a printed book) provided many insights into Wisconsin’s bird community that DNR and others use to make decisions regarding how to manage state lands and how to conserve birds.