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Promoting the enjoyment, study, and conservation of Wisconsin's birds.

Latest Conservation News: A Big Win for the Birds!

Happy October!  It’s been an eventful month so far, with both big wins and some new challenges for the birds.  Let’s start with the big win!


Photo by Shan Arora

In 2022, Madison’s Bird-Safe Glass Ordinance – which requires buildings that are more than 10,000 square feet to incorporate a pattern, such as dots or lines, to prevent birds from colliding with the glass – was challenged by a group of developers who argued that the ordinance undermined the uniform commercial building code. 

In response, WSO joined with American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and Badgerland Bird Alliance in filing an amicus brief in support of the city, the ordinance, and the birds. 

 Last week, the appellate court ruled for the city because it’s for the birdsThe judges noted that the ordinance does not affect building integrity, nor does it address human safety.  Therefore, it does not qualify as a building code.

We’re hopeful that this decision will pave the way for other municipalities across Wisconsin to adopt bird-safe glass ordinances of their own.  A special thanks to our counsel, Peter McKeever, for putting the coalition together and representing us!


Photo courtesy of The Raptor Center, St. Paul, MN

Hunting season is here.  The Conservation Committee has made educating hunters and anglers about the devastating effects of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on wild birds – and to oppose the use of either on national or state wildlife refuges – one of our priority issues. 

To that end, we urge all hunters to make the switch to nontoxic ammunition today.  Click here to read Tom Roster’s comprehensive guide to the best options for nontoxic shot.   Do your part – get the lead out. 


Sue Knaack, Jennifer Lazewski, and Daryl Cristensen tour Grand River Marsh State Wildlife Area

On Wednesday, October 11, members of the Conservation Committee traveled to Grand River Marsh State Wildlife Area to meet with Daryl Christensen, conservationist, past vice-president of the WSO, and recipient of WSO’s Bronze Passenger Pigeon Award.  The committee wanted to see first-hand how WSO might promote the preservation, restoration, and potential expansion of this Important Bird Area.

The information we gathered will be integral to our response to the Department of Natural Resource’s call for public comments on its Central Sand Hills Regional Master Plan.  Stay tuned for a full story about our trip in next month’s Badger Birder newsletter! 


Do you want to learn about ways you can help the birds?  Join us on November 11 at the UW-Madison Arboretum for WSO’s first-ever Unconvention: People in Wisconsin Talking About Bird Stuff.  Learn about conservation efforts from around the state, community science projects, and how you can share your love of birdwatching with others. 

Registration is now open.  Find the full schedule here.  We hope to see you there!


Finally, October is National Estate Planning Awareness Month.  In order to help us continue to advocate for our beloved birds, please consider a legacy gift to WSO in your estate planning.  And help us help the birds today by making a tax-deductible contribution to our Fall fundraising drive here

Thank you to all of our members for your continued support!

Yours in bird conservation,

Rebecca Gilman

WSO Secretary and Conservation Committee Co-Chair