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May 8, 2012

Hundreds of birds forecast to give a good show

MADISON - "Opening day" for Wisconsin's birdwatchers is May 12, state bird ecologists say.

"For birdwatchers, this is the day we've been waiting for all year," says Andy Paulios, a Department of Natural Resources biologist who coordinates the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (exit DNR). "It's our opening day."

Paulios says that people bird watch any day in Wisconsin and see birds and have fun, "but International Migratory Bird Day is the best time to see the biggest number and variety of these flashy and colorful birds either returning to nest in Wisconsin or stopping to refuel as they make their way to points north."

Many bird conservation groups, state parks and communities are sponsoring events for their fine-feathered friends, Paulios says. A list of community festivals is found at Wisconsin Bird City; listings for the 15th Annual Horicon Marsh Bird Festival May 11-14 are found at Horicon Marsh Bird Club, and a list of park events are found below.

More than 350 bird species documented in Wisconsin in May

Records dating back to the 1900s show that more than 350 different species of birds have been reported sighted in Wisconsin in May, a reflection of the state's importance as a nesting or refueling station for migratory birds that spend part of their life cycle elsewhere, Paulios says.

International Migratory Bird Day highlights these travelers, and this year, more than 50 communities and scores of birding groups, nature centers, state parks and others will host festivals or birdwatching events to help celebrate the return of migratory birds.

Paulios says the day is a focal point for birders in Wisconsin -- and that's a lot of people. More than 40 percent of the adult population is involved with bird watching, according to the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, which surveyed Wisconsinites on 74 different outdoors activities between 2004 and 2009.

That's the same number as in 2001, when another national survey ranked Wisconsin third in the percentage of residents who participate in bird watching.

Paulios says that International Migratory Bird Day also is a great time to learn more about these birds and all that Wisconsin citizens are doing to help them.

State park events for the May 12 International Migratory Bird Day

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Wisconsin State Park admission sticker is required for entry to state parks, but events are free unless otherwise noted.

Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Grantsburg, Spring Birding Tour. Join expert birders Jim Hoefler, John Menge and Dick Sandve as they explore the wetlands and prairies for spring migrants and returning resident birds. All tours depart from the Education Center and carpool to the various sites in the wildlife areas. $5/person. Registration required by calling the visitor center at 715-463-2739. The first 10 people may reserve space in the van. Dress for hiking and outdoor weather. 8-10 a.m.

Havenwoods State Forest, Milwaukee, Drop in on Birds. All birds have feathers, beaks, wings, and feet. But they come in an amazing variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Through activities and crafts, you can discover the lives of birds. Then borrow some binoculars to search for birds at Havenwoods. Families, friends, and youth groups are invited to "drop in" anytime from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Interstate Park, St. Croix Falls, Morning Bird Walk. Join Robin Maercklein of the National Park Service for a 2-hour Morning Bird Walk on the Silverbrook Trail from 7-9 a.m. Meet at the Pines Group Camp. Bring binoculars and a bird field guide if you have them.

Kohler-Andrae State Park, Sheboygan, Birds of Wisconsin. Well-known wildlife photographer Myron LaPean shares a narrated slide presentation of Birds of Wisconsin, including those that reside year-round, those that migrate through our area, and those that just spend their summers here. No pets allowed. Sanderling Nature Center. 1:30 p.m.

Richard Bong State Recreation Area, Kansasville, Bird Migration Hike. Experience the miracle of migration. Bring your binoculars and we'll look and listen for newly-arrived birds, especially warblers. Meet at the vista picnic area. 7 - 9 a.m.

Wisconsin Birding Fast Facts

Sources: 2011-2016 Wisconsin Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan;

State of Wisconsin Birds, 2011; Birding in the U.S.: A Demographic and Economic analysis - [PDF; exit DNR]

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Andy Paulios - 608-264-6137 or Lisa Gaumnitz - DNR Office of Communications - 608-264-8942

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 08, 2012

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