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Search
for a great birding site on the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail.
Report
a sick or dead bird.
Donate
to the Bird Protection Fund or form your own Birdathon team.
Contact information
For information on birding and bird conservation, contact:
Ryan Brady
Conservation Biologist
Natural Heritage Conservation
715-685-2933

Birding and bird conservation

Evening Grosbeak

Wisconsin ranks 2nd in the nation in percentage of residents who birdwatch, and it’s easy to see why as evening grosbeaks and hundreds of other species put on a show. Photo by Ryan Brady.

Wisconsin is home to over 300 species of birds and has thousands of people who enjoy birds. Explore the links below for information on birds, bird identification, birding locations and how to get involved in bird conservation efforts.

Birding report

Statewide Birding Report as of December 12, 2019

Weekly birding report

Blue jays are one of few species showing particularly well across the north woods this season, likely due to good acorn crops in many areas. Photo by Ryan Brady.

The 120th year of Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count gets underway on December 14 and runs through January 5, 2020. Participants scour predefined count circles to tally bird species and provide a scientific snapshot of early winter bird populations. All ages and skill levels are welcome! Find a count circle near you and contact information for its coordinator at https://gis.audubon.org/CBCExplorer/ [exit DNR], and learn more about joining at https://www.audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird-count [exit DNR].

As we have been warning over the last month or so, counts will likely be fairly quiet this year. Winter finches largely remain north of Wisconsin. Open water continues to decline, causing ducks, swans, and other waterfowl to move out. Many ground-feeding species have left snow-covered counties, especially up north. Most backyard birders are reporting fewer birds at feeders. Snowy owls are more scarce than some recent years, though several dozen have been spotted in various open habitats. Nonetheless, the great part of participating in one or more Christmas Bird Counts is that there are always some surprises to be found out there!

The week’s best finds were summer tanager and Nashville warbler in Milwaukee County, laughing gull in Sheboygan, at least three Townsend’s solitaires at Gibraltar Rock SNA in Columbia, northern mockingbird in Calumet, and Wisconsin’s second latest wood thrush photographed in Door. Find out what others are seeing and report your finds to www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding!

– Ryan Brady, DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Program biologist

Find birds

Explore the information below to learn more about great birding places in Wisconsin.

Report a bird

Amateur birders have always been leaders in the field of citizen science. The links below provide a number of web-based tools that allow you to report and track your daily bird sightings. These data are used by DNR and conservation partners across the hemisphere to monitor migratory bird populations.

Bird ID and info

The links below provide useful tips in identifying birds as well as information on their biology, status and conservation in Wisconsin.

Get involved

See the links below for ways to get involved in birding and bird conservation efforts around the state.

Birdfeeder tips

Ten tips for winter bird feeding

Winter is a great time to feed the birds, as higher energy demands and fewer natural foods give us opportunity to bring some species closer to home.

  1. The single best seed to provide is black oil sunflower, which has high fat content and attracts the most species.
  2. Also offer nyjer (thistle) for finches, white millet for sparrows, doves, and other ground-feeding species both suet and peanut chunks for woodpeckers, chickadees nuthatches.
  3. Avoid generic seed mixes as these tend to have more waste and attract less desired bird and mammal species.
  4. Deter squirrels with cone- or dome-shaped baffles above hanging feeders or below pole-mounted feeders.
  5. Place feeders closer than 3 feet or farther than 30 feet from your home to avoid the deadliest window collision zone.
  6. Minimize disease by cleaning your feeders at least once every two weeks using soapy water and a 10% bleach solution.
  7. Provide cover such as brush piles or dense shrubs for roosting and escape from predators.
  8. Offer water to attract a wider variety of species, using a heating element when temperatures dip below freezing.
  9. “Birdscape” your property with native plants such as fruit-bearing shrubs and evergreen trees. Check out these birdscaping resources on the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative website [exit DNR].
  10. Contribute to bird science and management by reporting birds you see at your feeder. The Great Backyard Bird Count [exit DNR] every February is an easy, fun way to get started: for at least 15 minutes on one or more days you simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see. Project Feederwatch [exit DNR] spans the entire winter.
Last revised: Thursday December 12 2019