Bird conservation gets a boost from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Nine bird conservation projects across the state received funding from the Natural Resources Foundation’s Bird Protection Fund in January


For immediate release
February 9, 2016

In January, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin disbursed more than $47,500 through its Bird Protection Fund to projects that protect Wisconsin’s birds throughout the course of their life cycle. Since the Bird Protection Fund was established in 2007, it has contributed more than $223,200 to bird conservation efforts in Wisconsin.

“The Bird Protection Fund embodies the notion that we are stronger together than we are alone,” said Barb Barzen, the Natural Resources Foundation’s development associate for programs. “From the teams that plan and manage the Bird Protection Fund to the projects it supports, this is a partnership-focused effort to build a much-needed base of financial support for bird conservation in Wisconsin. It is rewarding to build support for birds in a way that engages donors and bird conservation professionals in fun, meaningful ways.”

The Bird Protection Fund supports nine projects that are priorities of the state’s leading bird conservation organizations. Several projects engage volunteers to monitor bird populations. Birds serve as indicators of ecological health, so tracking changes in their populations informs researchers about other changes in the environment. Other projects aim to create or restore the habitats in which certain bird populations thrive. Still others work directly to reintroduce declining bird populations or educate Wisconsin residents about birds and bird conservation.

Projects and programs receiving funding this year are:

Wisconsin Bird Monitoring Program
Bird City Wisconsin
Wisconsin Stopover Habitat Initiative
Kirtland’s warblers monitoring and management
Whooping crane reintroduction
Important Bird Areas Program
Osa Peninsula Reforestation and Wintering Bird Habitat
Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II
Chequamegon Bay Bird Festival

“With support from the Bird Protection Fund, we are strengthening partnerships and planning new stewardship and outreach initiatives at the Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area, along with other projects,” said Yoyi Steele, Wisconsin Important Bird Area coordinator. “The Bird Protection Fund helps keep these and other priority bird conservation projects going strong in Wisconsin.”

More than 260 bird species breed in Wisconsin, and even more migrate through or overwinter in the state. Overall, more than 400 species of birds have been recorded in Wisconsin. Not only do these birds perform important ecological services such as pest management, but Wisconsin’s birders of all levels enjoy getting outdoors to see them. A 2011 survey showed that more than 1.7 million Wisconsin residents engage in bird-watching.

Many of Wisconsin’s bird species face pressure from agriculture, development, exotic species, environmental pollutants and climate change. Thirty percent of Wisconsin’s bird species have low or declining populations, including 11 endangered species and 13 threatened species.

“Without the ongoing, significant support that the Natural Resources Foundation has so generously provided, the success story that Bird City Wisconsin has become might never have been written,” said Bryan Lenz, director of Bird City Wisconsin. “Over 2.5 million Wisconsin residents live in Bird City communities, places that have become better habitats for birds and people.”

This year, Bird Protection Fund awards ranged from $1,000 to $11,000. The Natural Resources Foundation raises money for the fund through its annual Birdathon event, grants, individual donations and fundraiser field trips.

# # #

Photo: The Bird Protection Fund helps support the ongoing monitoring of Kirtland’s warblers by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. (Photo by Lindsay Renick Mayer)

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin provides sustainable funding for Wisconsin’s most imperiled species and public lands, while helping citizens connect with our state’s unique natural places. This year marks the Foundation’s 30th year of boosting private sector support for Wisconsin’s public lands, waters and wildlife. Learn more at

Lindsay Renick Mayer
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
[email protected]
608-266-3138 (office)
202-422-4671 (cell)