MADISON, Wis. — The month of May marks the return of many migratory birds to Wisconsin, and events throughout Wisconsin will give attendees an opportunity to learn more about conservation, bird-related recreation, and 100 years of Migratory Bird Treaty protection.
Common throughout much of the United States in the early 1800s, extensive market and sport hunting, along with habitat loss, led to a steep decline in populations of the upland sandpiper. While implementation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act eventually curbed hunting pressure, loss and degradation of breeding habitat continues to adversely impact this grassland specialist.
Photo Credit: Ryan Brady
In 1916, the United States and Canada signed the Migratory Bird Treaty to protect birds across state and international borders. Through this treaty, states, nations and other partners work together to help conserve birds and encourage people to get involved in the outdoors through volunteering, recreation and education.
Several bird-themed festivals will occur in May – these free events will offer birding trips, guest speakers and hands-on activities for the entire family:
- Horicon Marsh Bird Festival (exit DNR), May6-9 – this festival will feature guided tours, bird walks, scavengerhunts, banding demonstrations, interactive displays and more to get toknow some of the 300+ birds that spend time in the marsh.
- Oshkosh BirdFest (exit DNR), May 7 -head to Oshkosh in May and see live birds of prey up close, purchasenative plants to create bird habitat, build a bluebird house, tour agallery of bird-themed art, and more.
- Chequamegon Bay Birding and Nature Festival (exit DNR), May 19-21 – this festival willshowcase over 100 nature-themed activities to help attendees learn moreabout northern Wisconsin.
Great Wisconsin Birdathon
Birders of all ages and skills can search for species while supporting bird conservation during the Great Wisconsin Birdathon (exit DNR), organized by the Natural Resources Foundation and Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative. The Birdathon is active through June 15. This fundraiser supports local environmental initiatives and key bird conservation projects around the state.
Bird City Wisconsin and International Migratory Bird Days
Bird City Wisconsin (exit DNR), encourages communities to make urban habitats more bird-friendly, become involved in conservation, and educate people about birds. Many Bird Cities also celebrate www.birdcitywisconsin.org/Calendar (exit DNR).
Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II and other volunteer opportunities
The second year of Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II (exit DNR) is in full swing, and anyone can sign up to count birds, observe breeding bird behavior, and submit data online to the Atlas. More experienced birders can sign up and intensively survey one of many open blocks.
The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative offers youth art contest to commemorate the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial. Youth in grades K-12 are encouraged to submit original, hand-drawn artwork of a favorite Midwest migratory bird species by May 31.
Celebrating the centennial is as easy as spending time outside in search of birds, attending one of Wisconsin’s bird-related events or teaching someone new about birds, birding or bird hunting. To learn more about Treaty impacts and how you can participate in the centennial, visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword “bird treaty.”