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volunteer programs in your area!
the Citizen Monitoring Network of Wisconsin.
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How To Get Involved
For information on volunteering with Loons, contact:
Erica LeMoine
Program Coordinator
Northland College
For information on volunteering with Birds, contact:
Ryan Brady
Research Scientist
Wildlife Management


From water birds to birds of prey, opportunities abound for citizens to assist with monitoring bird populations across Wisconsin. Check out the opportunities below!

Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II

WBBA II logo

To properly conserve bird populations, we need a current understanding of the birds that rely on Wisconsin as a breeding ground and a place to raise their young. Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II mobilizes citizens across the state to accomplish this and we need your help to document which birds are breeding in your area. Learn more!


Pair of loons.
Common loons

LoonWatch promotes the preservation, understanding and enjoyment of common loons and their aquatic habitats in the Lake Superior region. LoonWatch distributes information to lake residents, users, managers and the general public about loons, aquatic ecosystems and environmental threats. Sign up for a LoonWatch workshop! Get Involved (exit DNR).

Western Great Lakes Owl Survey

Long-eared Owl.
Long-eared Owls are one of the uncommon species you can help monitor.

Five owl species regularly breed in Wisconsin, but their habits and distribution make them difficult to monitor using existing surveys. Volunteers have been conducting these roadside surveys since 2005 to help provide information critical for the management and conservation of these birds. Volunteers sign up for established routes in March and are asked to conduct at least one night-time survey along that route in early April. Online training is provided and a brief certification test to ensure accurate data collection must be passed prior to the survey. Get Involved (exit DNR).

Wisconsin Marshbird Survey

The booming "pump-er-lunk" of the American Bittern can be heard throughout the state's larger sedge meadows.

Secretive marshbirds such as rails, bitterns, coots and grebes are among the most poorly monitored bird groups in North America. This survey is part of a national effort to fill in the gaps of our knowledge about the abundance, population trends and habitat associations of this bird group. Volunteers sign up for established routes in the spring and are asked to conduct two to three surveys in May and June. Surveys are conducted in the early morning or late evening and take place in wetlands, so some hiking can be expected. This survey requires some advanced skills, obtained from a detailed training workshop prior to the survey season. Get Involved(exit DNR).

Wisconsin Nightjar Survey

The familiar call of the Whip-poor-will has become less common over the past decade.

Nighthawks and whip-poor-wills are nocturnal birds that are poorly monitored by typical bird survey programs. This effort joins nationwide partners in trying to better determine population trends and distributions of these two species. Volunteers sign up for an established road-based route and are asked to complete one to two evening surveys per year during specific time frames in the late spring/early summer. The only experience necessary is a familiarity with the characteristic songs of the whip-poor-will, common nighthawk and Chuck-will's-widows; and the ability to accurately follow the survey protocol.Get Involved (exit DNR).

Wisconsin Red-shouldered Hawk Survey

Red-shouldered Hawk.
Red-shouldered Hawks inhabit large stands of wet, mature forests, often in bottomlands and riparian areas.

The red-shouldered hawk is a Threatened species in Wisconsin, yet the distribution, abundance and population trends of this woodland raptor remain unclear due to inadequate monitoring. The goal of this survey is to generate more information about this species in order to better manage its population and the habitat it relies upon. Volunteers sign up to run an established route during two mornings between late March and early May. Routes can be either road- or river-based, and for the latter, surveys can be conducted by canoe or boat. This is a single-species survey, so volunteers of all skill levels are welcome. Get Involved (exit DNR).

Last Revised: Wednesday November 21 2018