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

WISBIRDN is an electronic discussion list originally created by Tom Sykes and now operated by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology which is principally focused on Wisconsin birds and birding. Topics may include the timely reporting of rare bird sightings, trip reports, requests for information, activities of the WSO, and other birding-related organizations and research. In order to participate you must be subscribed.

Posted on this page you will find the latest messages from the discussion list (under Latest Messages), Frequently Asked Questions covering many aspects about how WISBIRDN functions (under FAQs), a copy of the automated "Welcome Message" email every subscriber receives when they join (under Welcome Message) and instructions to use the online portal for subscribing to WISBIRDN (under Subscription Portal).

Please bookmark this site for further reference. Feel free to share this site with other birders who may be interested in birds and birding in Wisconsin.


The following are the latest messages sent to WISBIRDN in the last three days. A full searchable archive going back to 2008 is available at freelists.


Coming Soon: Logged in WSO members will be able to interact directly with the mailing list from this page.

Ross's goose seen on Lake Winnebago to the west of Roosevelt Park,
Winnebago Drive, Fond du Lac, Tuesday 11/29 late afternoon. With flock of
Canada geese and mallards.
Kerry Sehloff
Fond du Lac County

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I forgot to mention that we saw the largest iceberg in the world. It is 80mi long by 20mi wide and about 300' thick. Thousands of other smaller icebergs. Also, all the penguin landings have nice mammals....southern fur seals and huge elephant seals.

Greg Seegert
Beaver Dam

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Now on my last leg back from 3 weeks in and near Antarctica. First some general observations. First, you spend a lot of time at sea. We were on the ship for 19 days but 10 of those were spent sailing from one location to another. We started by going to the Falkland Islands. Here we saw 2 species of penguins and long tailed meadowlark. Next stop was S Georgia. Here we saw Macaroni penguins and S Georgia pipit, the most southerly breeding passerine in the world. We spent 4 days in Antarctica and the nearby islands. Best bird here was emperor penguin (most had already dispersed to sea) followed by Antarctica petrel. While at sea we saw 12 spp of waterfowl including stunning kelp geese and both flightless and flighted steamer ducks, 3 gulls, 3 terns, 3 skuas, 8 penguins including several spp that had huge (200,000) nesting colonies, 3 storm petrels, 5 albatross, 12 petrels, 3 prions, 1 diving petrel, and 5 shags (cormorants). The nesting colonies of the various penguins are s
pectacular. All have snowy sheatbills by them.

Some of the better land birds were dark-faced ground tyrant, striated and white-chinned caracara, white-bridled finch, and magellanic snipe.

I knew Antarctica had mountains but I didn't know how many. The scenery was spectacular. However, be prepared for days with no new birds. I didn't see a new bird for the last 7-8 days of the cruise.

For the cruise I had 41 lifers. In comparison we did a one day trip to a national park just N of Ushuaia and I added 38 spp that day. The best ones were 2 oystercatchers, tufted tit tyrant, great grebe, and magellanic woodpecker.

Overall I enjoyed it but after having spent 42 of the last 45 days overseas I'm looking forward to getting back to WI.

Greg Seegert
Beaver Dam
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Last updated: 9/22/2021


  • Is WISBIRDN real email, or web-based?


    A little of both. WISBIRDN is an email-based discussion list. The bulk of your interactions with WISBIRDN will be through your email program. But the ability to directly change and control your subscription settings is available through the WISBIRDN Info Web Page located at:


  • How do I subscribe?


    This is easily accomplished by again using the WISBIRDN Info Web Page at:

    Type in the email address you wish to have subscribed (the email address you will use to receive and send WISBIRDN email). ”Subscribe” is already the default option in the pull-down menu list so simply click on the “Go!” button.

    You will receive a confirmation email that your subscription request has been sent to the WISBIRDN list administrator who must manually approve your subscription request. Approval usually occurs within 24 hours, often less. Or longer if the administrator is on vacation so be patient. You should not submit multiple requests. One is sufficient. Once it has been approved you will receive a confirmation email and an important automated "Welcome" email containing WISBIRDN guidelines and rules.

    NOTE : Some subscribers will subscribe one email address and then setup an automatic forward of Wisbirdn mail to a second email address (one that is not subscribed to Wisbirdn). Be aware that forwarded email may inadvertently be flagged as spam. This will result in a number of error messages to accumulate in a subscriber's Wisbirdn account and ultimately cause a legitimately subscribed email address to be deleted from the Wisbirdn subscription database. For this reason, the practice of forwarding of email in this fashion is to be discouraged.


  • How many WISBIRDN subscriptions may I have?


    You may subscribe as many email addresses as you wish. Some people find this useful if they are using more than one email account from different devices (like a smartphone)


  • How do I change my subscription settings?


    Use the WISBIRDN Info Web Page at: (You will probably want to bookmark this page in your web browser for making future changes)

    Login using your subscription email address, then use the pull-down menu to select a subscription option you wish to change (turn Digest mode on and off, turn Vacation mode on and off, Unsubscribe, and Subscribe, etc.).


  • Are there any other subscription settings I can use?


    Yes, a few more. But before you can review and make changes to them, you are first required to setup a free login account using your existing WISBIRDN email subscription address at: (Reminder: You may wish to bookmark this web page in your web browser for making future changes easier)

    Follow the instructions in the “FreeLists Web Login” section. If you are logging in for the first time, YOU MUST enter your subscription email address or the address you plan to use for your subscription and leave the PASSWORD box BLANK (do not enter anything); then click on the “Login” button. An authorization string will be emailed to the email address you entered. To authenticate your identity, enter the authorization string that was emailed to you (using copy/paste is wise since the authorization string is rather lengthy) into the “Auth String” box in the web page screen that appeared after the previous login step. The authorization string has a short shelf life so you need to retrieve and submit the code as soon as possible or you will have to repeat the process. Once access is completed, you will be taken to the “Main Menu” screen, but before going any further you will be VERY WISE indeed to create your own password (write it down and keep it somewhere handy!) to avoid having to repeat entering a new authorization string everytime you need to login.

    After you changed your password, scroll and select “wisbirdn” from the list on the left. With wisbirdn selected, click on the “Select List” button to continue on to your account’s “List: wisbirdn” web page. Once there, use the “View Settings” button to view your current subscription settings and the “Change Settings” button to access a menu where the changes are made.


  • How do I post to WISBIRDN?


    It’s easy. To post use your email program and send an email to the list’s posting address: Only subscribed members may post.

    NOTE: You MUST send email to Wisbirdn from the email address you used to subscribe. Using another email address will not work.


  • How do I reply to a message I read on WISBIRDN?


    To respond to a message posted on WISBIRDN use your email program's "Reply" function. Your response will go directly to the sender of the original post. This is done to help prevent personal responses (possibly embarrassing ones) from accidentally going to the entire list. To include the entire list in your response (which most people replying intend to do), use your email program’s “Reply All” function which will include both the original sender and the entire list.


  • How do I know if my post wound up on the list?


    When you were subscribed, your account default setting included ECHOPOST so that you should receive copies of messages you post to WISBIRDN. NOTE: If you are not receiving a copy you may check the Wisbirdn archives. All messages from the last three days are available under the LATEST MESSAGES tab. The rest are searchable at :


  • How can I sort my incoming WISBIRDN email?


    The Subject Line of each email you receive from WISBIRDN is prefaced with "[wisb]". You may create a separate folder in your email program, and along with an email program filter or rule, direct all incoming emails with [wisb] in the Subject Line to a designated folder. Consult you email program's help file for details.


  • Is there a DIGEST mode?


    Yes. Digest mode is a compilation of many posts rolled into one email and is sent daily. To implement this function go to: Type in your subscription email address, select the option to enable or disable Digest mode, then click the “Go!” button. Digests are sent out once daily, usually after midnight.


  • Is there a “VACATION” mode?


    Yes. Vacation mode allows you to remain subscribed to the list (and still post) but not receive posts. Like other settings, it can be enabled at the WISBIRDN Info Web Page at: Vacation mode is important when you won't be able to check your mail for a while to prevent your inbox from being filled up with unexpected list messages.

    NOTE: You must turn Vacation mode off to receive messages again.


  • Are there WISBIRDN archives?


    Yes, the messages from the last three days are under the LATEST MESSAGES tab. A searchable WISBIRDN archive is found at: The archive provides a means for reviewing old posts. Post are divided by year and then by month.


  • How do I unsubscribe (leave) WISBIRDN?


    Use the WISBIRDN Info Web Page, located at: Enter the email address you subscribed with and wish to have removed, select “Unsubscribe” from the pull-down menu, click on the “Go!” button. You will receive a response email asking you to reply to complete the process. When you reply - you need not add anything to the reply message - you’ll be removed without any further action by you or the list administrator.


  • How do I change my subscription email address?


    You can accomplish this by first unsubscribing your old address and then subscribing your new one. Use the WISBIRDN Info Web Page at: NOTE: If you created a login/password for your old address, you will have to create a new password for your new address as outlined in the “Are there any other subscription settings I can control?" Section in this F.A.Q.


  • Does wisbirdn have a webpage somewhere?


    Yes, it is located at: Here you will find valuable and timely information about WISBIRDN, a copy of the WISBIRDN Welcome email you received when you joined, and a F.A.Q.


  • Bounced emails – what’s going on?


    Malfunctions may occur somewhere between the WISBIRDN mail server and your mail server, or, scheduled or unscheduled server maintenance downtime may cause messages sent via WISBIRDN to your email address to bounce back. Typically these bounces are temporary and subscribers are not even aware they have occurred. The WISBIRDN hosting service is set to monitor such bounces and unsubscribe users once a certain number of bounces accumulate within a specified time frame (thirty bounces within seven to ten days).

    If your account should reach the bounce counter limit, your account will be switched automatically to Vacation mode. You will still be subscribed but will not receive list mail. To correct this you will need to turn the Vacation mode off (see the section “How do I change my subscription settings”) in order to continue receiving posts again. Typically an account will rarely reach the bounce counter limit and the the bounce counter will reset itself. For the most part this will be transparent to you.


  • What’s appropriate for wisbirdn?


    When you subscribed, you received an automated “Welcome” email explaining how WISBIRDN works. Most everything you need to know about how WISBIRDN functions is contained in this helpful file. It can also be accessed by selecting the Welcome button at the top of this page. In general:

    1. Don’t post any graphic content.
    2. Avoid using harsh language; be respectful of other list members. Pretend your mother is reading your posts.
    3. Keep your posts on-topic.
    4. When in doubt about message content, check with a list owner/administrator before posting.


  • Help? Where can I turn to?


    The list is owned and operated by the WSO. You can reach the list owner my emailing

     The list is administered by Steve Holzman on a volunteer basis. You can reach the administrator at with your questions. He/she will get back to you as soon as possible.



Last updated: 9/22/2021


This is a copy of the email Welcome Message all subscribers receive when they join the list.


Welcome to the Wisconsin Birding Network (WISBIRDN), a discussion list owned and operated by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology comprised of persons interested in Wisconsin birds and birding.


A wealth of information about birding in Wisconsin may be found at the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology web site located at:


You received this email because you requested to be added to this discussion list. Receipt of this email indicates that your subscription has begun. If you believe you have received this email in error and did not request to be added to WISBIRDN, contact the administrator at


Please take a few minutes to review this email containing WISBIRDN guidelines and rules. It will help you understand just how the list functions and make your stay more enjoyable. WISBIRDN rules and guidelines cannot possibly cover all foreseeable situations and may be amended from time to time as warranted.


Bear in mind that membership on this list is a privilege, not a right. Membership can and will be withdrawn for any violation of list rules or behavior deemed as unacceptable by the list owners. All opinions expressed are those of the subscribers sending email via the list.


Your thoughtful discretion when posting to the list is requested and appreciated. Disagreements and differing opinions are unavoidable, however, please be polite and considerate. Use gentle language. Pretend that all of your posts will be read by your mother. If you find you have a strong disagreement with another subscriber please do so back-channel (directly to the subscriber and not to the entire list). This also applies to discussions that do not benefit the list as a whole. The list owner or list administrator will end ANY discussions they feel are inappropriate.


Posting Rules:


All persons must identify themselves in each post sent to WISBIRDN. A Wisconsin resident subscriber signature block must include their first and last name, and their community and county of residence. For example:


'Mary Smith, Appleton, Outagamie County'


Members living outside of Wisconsin must list their first and last name and their state of residence. For example:


'Mary Smith, Illinois'


Many email programs have preference settings to create a custom signature block for making post signing an automatic process.


Using an alias, or any other means to disguise your identity, is absolutely forbidden.


List Topics:


All traffic on WISBIRDN should focus principally on (but not be strictly limited to) Wisconsin birds and birding. General topics for discussion dealing with wild birds, birders, and birding are acceptable topics.


Unacceptable topics include hunting, feral cats, photography, chain letters, pet/caged/domestic birds, falconry, commercial advertising and political views.


No Attachments:


Absolutely NO ATTACHMENTS! Do not attach ANY text or photo files. There are no exceptions to this rule. If you care to share photos, place your photo files on a web site (of your own making or a free photo hosting site) and provide a link to the web site in the body of your email.


Plain Text, Please:
Using HTML, or Microsoft Rich Text Format to format your email message so that it has fancy fonts, colors, etc. must be avoided. Some mail servers cannot handle messages in these formats. Your message may appear as utter gibberish to some readers rendering it useless. Set your email program to send all messages to the list in PLAIN TEXT and non-MIME format. For more background on configuring your email program refer to:


No Commercial Advertising:


Commercial messages are absolutely prohibited. A commercial message is one in which a business, individual, or service is advertising with the intent of soliciting customers. If you are in doubt as to whether or not your post will be considered commercial, contact the list owners, privately, back-channel, before posting your message to the list. Be fully aware that the list owners do not adhere to the old adage: it is easier to beg forgiveness than permission.


Members Only, But...


Occasionally you may find the need to forward an informative email on behalf of a non-subscriber. In this instance the list member doing the forwarding must provide a brief reason about why the forward is necessary, along with identifying the origin of the post.




The usual cautions and limitations presented by the laws of libel and slander apply. Pay attention to copyright laws. Do not distribute other people's words or works without permission. This includes news articles posted on news wires, e-magazines, and other web sites.


Instead of posting the entire content of an article, supply a link to the article in your email. Do not forward links to any online articles using a web site 'E-mail to a friend' form and then send it to the WISBIRDN list address.


How does WISBIRDN work?
WISBIRDN functions like regular e-mail. Messages posted to WISBIRDN via your email program are simultaneously received by all members. Subscribers may also communicate with individual list members 'back channel' one-on-one by using individual e-mail addresses.


Save yourself some embarrassment - get into the habit of regularly checking the TO: line of your outgoing email to ensure posts are in fact going to the intended address.


To send a message to the Wisbirdn list use this address: (email posts using your email program)


You MUST send using the same email account address you submitted when you subscribed to WISBIRDN.


Be sure to correctly identify the topic of your post in the SUBJECT LINE and to sign your post as per list rules.




In an effort to keep spammers and mischief-makers off of WISBIRDN, all subscription requests are handled manually via the list administrator.




Go to // and type in the email address you wish to have subscribed (this will be the email address you will be using to post to WISBIRDN through your email program). Select 'Subscriber' from the pull-down menu (it is the default choice) and then hit the 'Go!' button. Approval usually will occur within 24 hours if not sooner, however, if the list owner is on vacation it may take days so please be patient. Once your request has been approved you will receive a confirmation email and a welcome email containing WISBIRDN guidelines and rules (just like the one you are presently reading).




Go to // and type in the email address you wish to have unsubscribed (it should be the exact same email address you used to join WISBIRDN) Then select 'Unsubscribe' from the pull-down menu (are you sure? pause and reflect for a moment) and hit the 'Go!' button. You will receive an automated email reply signifying that your subscription has ended. If you do not receive an automated response or are otherwise unable to manually unsubscribe, contact the administrator at


Additional Guidelines and Tips:


A copy of these guidelines and a WISBIRDN FAQ may be found at:


A searchable archive of messages posted to WISBIRDN is located at:


All new members of WISBIRDN are encouraged to make an initial introductory post. Explain whom you are, where you live, where you bird, and anything else you consider pertinent.


If you are unfamiliar with birding discussion groups or how lists function in general, it is strongly encouraged, as a new member, to 'lurk' and 'listen' for a few days before posting.


Please share your bird sightings. Assume that everyone else wants to know what it is you are seeing, particularly unusual sightings. Be sure to include species, location information, and date of your observation.


SUBJECT LINE attention-getting prefaces to help clearly state your topic:


Unusual sightings or RBAs (Rare Bird Alerts) are typically prefaced with the word 'ALERT:' followed by the species of bird and county location (all in caps). For example:




Requests for information are usually prefaced with 'RFI:' For example:


RFI: Birding Horicon Information


An off-topic subject typically not related to birds but information nevertheless that might be of interest to the rest of the list (provided it does not extend into a lengthy off-topic discussion) use 'OFF-TOPIC:' For example:


OFF-TOPIC: Unusual butterfly identification


WISBIRDN is comprised of birders of all levels. Novice birders need encouragement and thoughtful consideration so that they may learn from their mistakes. Expert birders will be wise to remember that they were once novices and that they do not know everything.


You certainly need not limit your contributions to only reports of unusual bird finds. Success of this list will depend on constant and varied conversations about birds and birding in general.


Be prepared to share directions to interesting bird sightings. BUT PLEASE: If the bird you mention is being seen on private property, DO NOT share directions until after you have permission from the landowner to do so! Sharing sightings of rare or endangered species: please use discretion in giving precise directions to a bird location (specially a nesting site) if unwarranted human intrusion is a concern.


This list functions within the guidelines found in the WSO Code of Ethics found at:


Consider sharing reports of bird trips you take, in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Much of the traffic on the list will consist of questions and comments about Wisconsin birds and birding, places to bird, places to stay, places to eat, birding books, bird ID's, birding equipment, etc. Please be as helpful as you can. The list is about sharing information!


Remember: The nature or topic (or 'thread') of your post should be made clear in the SUBJECT LINE of your post. Subsequent posts that deal with the same topic, need to remain clear in the SUBJECT LINE of your email. If a topic changes the SUBJECT LINE must reflect that change. Otherwise it becomes difficult for subscribers to know where one thread begins and another leaves off.


The WSO is the list owner and the admin will field technical and non-technical questions, suggestions, notions, and ideas, about WISBIRDN. Please be mindful that the list is run on a volunteer basis so if an answer is not immediately forthcoming (we do not have operators standing by 24/7) please be patient.


Thank you for reading these guidelines (which you have already safely copied and saved, right?). Welcome and good birding!


Sunil Gopalan - WSO Admin/List Owner Middleton, WI (Dane County)


Go to:


In the “Enter email” field, type in the email address you wish to subscribe (this email address will be used to receive and send Wisbirdn email). ”Subscribe” is already the default option. Click on the “I’m not a robot” checkbox then click on the “Go!” button.


You will receive an email confirmation that your request was sent to a WISBIRDN List Administrator who will manually approve your subscription. Approval usually occurs within 24 hours, often less. Please do not send multiple requests! This will only clog the Administrator’s inbox. One will suffice. If the administrator happens to be away (possibly birding?) please be patient. Once approved, you will receive an automated email with a Welcome Message containing WISBIRDN guidelines and rules which you are strongly urged to read. A copy of the welcome email can be accessed by clicking the Welcome button at the top of this page.


NOTE: Every member who posts to WISBIRDN is REQUIRED to sign each and every post with a signature block containing first and last name. Pseudonyms or false names are not permitted. Wisconsin residents must also include their city and county of residence; out of state subscribers need only include their state of residence.