A recent report published by the journal Science shared that the number of birds in the United States and Canada has declined by nearly 30% in the last fifty years.

North America’s birds are in crisis, including the birds we love here in Wisconsin.

But we know recovery is possible with a strategic action plan and dedicated support. That is why we established the Bird Protection Fund in 2009 in collaboration with the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Since it was created the fund has raised and distributed over $1 million for critical bird conservation and research through donations made through Field Trips, the annual Great Wisconsin Birdathon, and direct contributions.

The Bird Protection Fund partner organizations recently decided on the 2020 priorities, with more than $60,000 going towards bird conservation projects that range from research to reintroduction efforts.  

Read on to see how we’re supporting Wisconsin birds in 2020!

Kirtland’s Warbler: Photo by Jack Swelstad via Flickr

Endowment for Kirtland’s warbler Protection & Conservation

The Kirtland’s warbler requires a very specific habitat, preferring to nest in stands of young jack pines. With just 11 known individuals in 2007, the population has grown to more than 51 adults and 42 fledglings. The Bird Protection Fund will be used to support nest monitoring, critical research, and habitat management activities that ensure the future for this rare songbird. Learn more here.

Funding will also support the American Bird Conservancy with the establishment of a revenue-generating endowment that will provide permanent support for the Kirtland’s warbler through habitat management, population monitoring, threat reduction, and research. 

 

Piping Plover: Photo by Rita Flores Wiskowski via Flickr

Conservation and Management of Piping Plovers

The piping plover and the whooping crane will also receive direct support. The piping plover is a federally endangered bird whose population has grown from just one plover in 1948, to 26 in 2019.

With support from the Bird Protection Fund, piping plover populations will be monitored, protected, and artificially incubated. This work will create additional breeding and nesting habitats while also protecting current sites.

Whooping Crane: Photo by DZ Johnson via Flickr

Whooping Crane Reintroduction

The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership continuously works to raise and release whooping crane chicks. Captive chicks are raised by interns at the International Crane Foundation until they are ready to be released and adopted by other birds who teach them the migratory route south. The Bird Protection Fund will be used to support these critical and hard-working interns.

Red-Breasted Merganser: Photo by Bill Thompson/USFWS via Flickr

Lake Michigan Waterbird Research

Research is also supported by the Bird Protection Fund. The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory monitors waterbirds migrating over Lake Michigan and its shoreline, an area previously not well studied. The Bird Protection Fund supports their research, which will help inform decisions about offshore wind energy development, harvest quotas for waterfowl, and future management actions.

Scarlet Tanager: Photo by T Schultz via Flickr

Neotropical Flyways Project

The Neotropical Flyways Project will identify critical migratory stopover regions and habitats in both Central America and western Colombia, the results of which will be used to develop conservation plans for the major points of stopover in the region. The identification, mapping, mist-netting, and radio-tracking of birds, actions supported by the Bird Protection Fund, are critical to determining these sites and their usage.

Great Egret: Photo by Deborah Johnson via Flickr

Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II

The second project is a five-year field study documentation of bird breeding in the Wisconsin area, the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II. Bird surveyors across the state will be supported by the fund, enabling their work that helps give a picture of bird populations in the state, influencing conservation and management decisions.

Horicon Marsh: Photo by US FWS via Wisconsin IBA

Important Bird Areas Coordinator

The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative works to evaluate the status and condition of the state’s 93 Important Bird Areas. With support from the Bird Protection Fund, the initiative will be hiring a new coordinator who will continue efforts to identify threats, opportunities, and potential partners for these risk areas, leading to prioritization for habitat restoration and enhancement.

Nesting Bald Eagles: Photo by Deborah Johnson via Flickr

Bird City Wisconsin

Lastly, the fund will be used to support Bird City Wisconsin, an organization that recognizes communities across Wisconsin that excel at putting birds first. These communities install nest boxes, promote green space, grow native plant gardens, and host educational programming and festivals—all serious efforts to address the decline of urban birds and keep cities bird-friendly.

Photo by Barb Barzen via Flickr

The primary source of donations for the Bird Protection Fund comes from the annual Great Wisconsin Birdathon—a walk-a-thon style fundraiser in which participants raise money and venture out to log as many birds as they can in one day.

To learn more or participate in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon visit our website.

Written by Katie Herrick, Communications Assistant

Welcome to the Foundation, Sarah!

As we look forward to the next chapter, we are thrilled to welcome our new Birdathon Coordinator, Sarah Cameron!

How to support your favorite cause without spending a dime

The holidays are a wonderful time of giving and sharing, but sometimes it can be hard to do everything we want within our budgets. The following are seven ways you can support your favorite non-profit cause just by opening your heart (and not your wallet!).

CD Besadny Conservation Fund Awardees 2019

Every year the CD Besadny Conservation Fund awards grants to new and original projects that involve and affect underserved communities, take advantage of local resources and partnerships, and demonstrate real outcomes.

Piping plovers return to Green Bay

I recently had the opportunity to visit one of the projects we support through our Bird Protection Fund: the banding of federally endangered piping plover chicks near Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The Dells: An Upham Woods Perspective on Place and Legacy

Founded in 1941, the Upham Woods Learning Center is an unique “river classroom” located on the Wisconsin River. From summer camps to leadership workshops, it’s a great place to learn and while exploring nature

Wild Alaska

Discover Alaska, a rugged, mysterious, and breathtaking experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. From glaciers that seem to reach the clouds to the big game wildlife that makes Alaska the epic wilderness it is, you will be mesmerized by its untouched landscape.

Bats & Owls & Snakes, Oh My!

In honor of the spookiest season—October—we’re busting some myths surrounding traditionally “scary” creatures that deserve a snuggle just as much as any other cute creature.

Bluffs to Great Lakes Shores Campaign Match Challenge Met

We are thrilled to announce that thanks to the incredible response from our members, along with a generous gift from Foundation board member Michael Williamson and his wife Mary Ann Doll, the $5,000 Campaign challenge issued by Foundation member Robin Buerki and Foundation co-founder Ron Semmann and his wife Ann Semmann, has been met!

The Wonders of Africa

In October 2020, we will be traveling from Zimbabwe to Zambia to Botswana, experiencing their movie-like landscapes and what makes them unique to Africa.

2020 Bird Protection Fund Projects

The Bird Protection Fund has decided upon its 2020 Priority Projects, with more than $60,000 going towards priority bird conservation projects that range from research to reintroduction efforts.