WGLBBO Director’s and Chief Scientist’s Report – April 2017
W. Mueller and B. Lenz
Many projects are underway as of early April, with continuing progress through late winter:
“Conservation Center” meetings, with M. Tomter, J. Torinus, WGLBBO Board members, OWLT Director and staff, Andrew Struck
Planning and outreach is underway for our fall 2017 “Southeastern Wisconsin Conservation Summit”.
WBBAII – Wi Breeding Bird Atlas II Training/Regional Kickoff workshops in
Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative Steering Committee – Strategic Planning is underway, for this largest bird conservation umbrella organization – the largest in the Midwest.
Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative Issues Committee “Issues Papers” – more are currently in preparation, with edits/updates to the existing Lead Poisoning and Birds paper
Meetings with Governance, Finance, and Science Committees “re-organization”
Kestrel Nestbox Workshop, in partnership with Ozaukee County Planning and Parks, March 22
Data management for the deployment of new AMKE nestboxes w/ our Madison Audubon partnership
Planning for IMBD
Calvin Brennan started a new 2017 Spring Season of the Waterbird Watch on March 1. Calvin lived at the UW-Milw Field Station house until April 1. This worked well.
Our banding crew is setting up for an early start to the 2017 spring season.
Meeting with OWLT staff to coordinate breeding bird surveys, and a new migration point count project. We hope to eventually coordinate with Ozaukee Co. Planning & Parks on this also.
Ongoing participation in Great Lakes Commission pelagic bird survey data analysis.
Added a part-time data management consultant, Jesse Peterson, to our staff – Jesse is helping us coordinate and organize data for the next paper on the 2016 Waterbird Watch results, work on the Clausen dataset, and more potential projects to come.
Jean Clausen lived on the banks of the Wisconsin River west of Madison, and lived into her mid-nineties. She kept daily records of her bird observations, 365 days per year, for multiple decades. We are examining these records to consider possible analyses.
Another potential dataset is that of long-term banding records and sight observations from Tom Erdman, Curator of the Richter Museum of Natural History at UW Green Bay. To work with these data would require funding. Seeking funding is under consideration.
Addition of Jill Kunsmann to Board of Directors – welcome Jill!
Social media: WGLBBO Facebook page has weekly additions: https://www.facebook.com/wglbbo
Aerial Insectivore Facebook Discussion Group is increasingly active, with 52 current members from across the Midwest Region; recent posts on swallow decline, Golondrinas Network, Purple Martin research
I participated as reviewer for a PLOS-One journal article on bird collision research, at the request of editor Dr. C. Lepczyk.
I participated as corresponding reviewer for a bird climate change assessment for GLIFWC, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission: http://www.glifwc.org/
Ongoing good news re: bird collisions work in southeastern WI, and our involvement:
A group of us attended an excellent event at UW-Madison on bird collisions on Fri. moderated by Dr. Stan Temple. I had this news to share from our southeast WI activities/progress:
We hope to have much more exciting news to share in the near future on several other related fronts.
Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II update
Regional Urban Chimney Swift Monitoring
We are working with Tom Will of USFWS. Katie Koch of USFWS and I co-chaired the Midwest Aerial Insectivore Working Group until July 2016. The Working Group has disbanded, but its various projects continue. We are at work – with help from our Science Committee, in planning a Midwest, 8-state, region-wide urban monitoring effort for swifts, hopefully to be rolled out in 2018.
Waterbird Watch update
Calvin was here until November 20th. The peak numbers of birds really only start to appear during late October.
Recent details include:
Total for all migrants - 179,449
Highlighted species include:
Letter of Support for Greg Septon
Letter of Support for Greg Septon nomination to the WI Conservation Hall of Fame: Another deserving nomination – we submitted a letter of support. Many of you know of Greg’s decades-long work to restore the Peregrine Falcon in Wisconsin.
WBCI Conference update
This year’s Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative/Bird City Wisconsin was a great success. We partnered with the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum of Art, which proved to be a fortunate choice in every way.
Website and Facebook update
Website and Facebook updates: with help from Mike Schlotfeldt, our excellent Outreach Committee, and webmaster Dave Bishop, we’ve continually made updates since the previous board meeting. We have 2 Facebook pages:
William P. Mueller
Dr. Amber Roth of Michigan Technological University has been Coordinator of the Midwest Landbird Migration Monitoring Network (MLMMN) since 2014, in partnership with WGLBBO. Dr. Roth shepherded the development of the Network's Strategic Plan (see http://wglbbo.org/what-we-do/midwest-landbird-migration-monitoring-network), which was completed and published in February of 2015. Dr. Roth and WGLBBO Director Bill Mueller, Chief Scientist Bryan Lenz, and Katie Koch of the USFWS – of the MLMMN, are hosting one of the three workshop tracks in the State of Stopover Symposium to be held in Milwaukee from October 5-7. More information can be found at: https://stopover2016.wordpress.com/
Calvin Brennan completed his spring 2016 Waterbird Watch season on May 20th. He tallied over 189,000 birds of 171 species. The individuals count was a new high count. A report of last year’s results was submitted for publication, and can be found in the fall 2015 issue of The Passenger Pigeon, quarterly journal of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.
Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II
I have again traveled over 1,500 miles in 2016 giving breeding bird atlas workshops/presentations all around WI with Mike Reese, Director of Volunteers for WBBAII. Since fall of 2014, we have given some form of this presentation over 50 times. Current atlas results:
Our spring banding season has gone extremely well. Master Bander Al Sherkow and Vicki Piaskowski are conducting the project with help from Robin Squier, Jana Viel, Lora Loke, Judy Kistler, Corrine Palmer, and Mary Mirasola, with help from while Stephanie Beilke has moved but is still participating on a less frequent basis. Al conducted a training class in spring, which not only trained new staff for the station, but grew the number of qualified participants. Fall banding begins again in late August.
Jana took us into a special summer season gathering data for her PhD research, with Dave Sikorski and some of the above team assisting.
Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative
I serve on the Steering Committee of WBCI, and as co-chair of WBCI's Issues Committee. Our work products include the publications linked here: http://www.wisconsinbirds.org/issuespapers.htm.
The Issues Committee meets at the end of this month, with plans to expand our efforts in several key areas, and to continue progress on the Issues Papers.
In other WI Bird Conservation news, we are part of the planning team for the WBCI/Bird City annual meeting, and you can access information at http://www.wisconsinbirds.org/annualmeeting2016.htm