Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory

Director Updates


by William Mueller

*** Waterbird Technician Calvin Brennan has staffed the Watch again this spring since March 1st.  New funding proposals are in process.

*** Work progresses on our 2018 comparative Waterbird Watch scientific paper, with planning and coordination with Bryan Lenz and Jesse Peterson.

*** A lengthy list of various Midwest Migration Network (MMN) meetings, plus organizational, and MMN Communications Subcommittee meetings, activities, website planning and setup have taken place in the past 6 weeks, with many more to come throughout 2018. 

*** The Peregrine Fund and WGLBBO organized and conducted the first Wisconsin statewide American Kestrel Partnership meeting in Arlington WI on March 19th, with partners from 12 different WI groups participating. Our role in this regional network has expanded, and also shifted, as data management for the Partnership has developed new protocols and new standards. Mike and I manage the project meeting follow-up with these statewide partners and will continue to do so.  

*** The Wisconsin Stopover Initiative subcommittee on habitat had a recent group project, involving a stopover site search via mapping, and data gathering for shorebird locations around the western Great Lakes.

*** The Southern Wisconsin “Cats and Birds Working Group” met recently, and we at WGLBBO continue our involvement in discussions, the excellent ongoing work on Bryan’s draft ordinance, and ongoing literature search and correspondence.

*** Outreach, via the WGLBBO website and Facebook updates, posting and coordination continues. Recent additions on the website include a kestrel webcam from the Peregrine Fund.

  • Recent Facebook outreach included a “Purple Martin Emergency” post which reached more than 62,000 people in three day - and was shared more than 900 times across multiple platforms in many Midwestern states.

*** Our Midwest Aerial Insectivore Discussion Group continues to host and share an array of insectivore information  in multiple states - it has grown to 107 members.

April report 1

*** The WGLBBO office at FBMP re-opened for spring hours during the second week of March.

*** The WBBAII (the 2nd Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas) training is underway for spring 2018, with several workshops and training events having taken place, others yet to come, plus both nocturnal and diurnal field trips planned in several atlas blocks

Eastern Region Atlas 2018 Kickoff Workshop: Help us get the 2018 Atlas season off to a dynamic start by joining us at one of our FREE Atlas Regional Kickoff workshops. These events are for everyone, whether you’re a newer member of the Atlas team, a seasoned veteran, or just want to learn more about how to join us in 2018.

Learn more and register by visiting our Atlas Regional Kickoff webpage.

Regional Kickoff Workshop Locations & Dates

  • Eastern Region - April 21, 12–4:30 p.m.: Sturgeon Bay Library, Sturgeon Bay, WI
  • Western Region - May 5, 10 a.m.–2:00 p.m.: National Eagle Center, Wabasha, MN*

Each workshop will include: Atlas results to date, focus areas and goals for 2018, introduction and basic training for new atlasers, advanced training for returning atlasers, data-entry instruction, tips from your region’s top atlasers, the chance to meet county coordinators, Atlas planners, and other atlasers from your area, and field trips to local hotspot.

*Rescheduled from April 14 due to a major storm.

  • Right now, our biggest need is for people to bird in atlas blocks that are not otherwise covered by someone. We really need YOU to take on a block, and bird that block until it nears the completion criteria.

 To help clarify where these blocks are, here’s a map showing 2 types of blocks:

      1. The red blocks have little to no atlas effort, and need someone to take them on as a principal atlaser

     2. The yellow blocks are already half done, and they just need someone to take them on and finish them off.

April report 2

April report 3

*** With our board member Dr. Glen Fredlund, and SARUP’s Dr. Filip Tejchman (both at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), we continue our involvement with the SE WI Bird Collisions working group. This will continue to be a major focus for Dr. Bryan Lenz in his new position with the American Bird Conservancy.

*** Motus project coordination and communication: a letter to partners is being sent, seeking cooperation on this ongoing project (itself a part of the MMN).

*** Work is already underway by WGLBBO staff, Executive Committee members, and the Science Committee on this year’s Southeastern Wisconsin CONSERVATION SUMMIT, including proposals for grant funding. More will be forthcoming on this WGLBBO signature event.

  • Attendance at the 2017 Southeastern Conservation Summit demonstrated the level of interest from presenters, other regional scientists, agency and conservation organization staff, nature center staff, consultants, academic faculty, students, and the general public:
  • 47 regional scientists and conservation organization staff provided oral presentations.
  • 31 regional scientists and conservation organization staff provided poster presentations.
  • 183 total attendees included 20 undergraduate students included 8 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 6 from Carroll University, 3 from UW-Whitewater, 2 from UW Madison, and 1 from Marquette University.
  • 177 people were from Wisconsin, 4 were from Illinois, and 2 were from Michigan.
  • Of the total of 183 attendees, 149 had pre-registered, and 34 were walk-in registrations on the days of the conference.

Our goals for the 2108 conference include:

  • Additional undergraduate student and agency participation at the presenter and attendee level.
  • Additional attendance overall.
  • Enriching/improving content areas and organization of presentations/posters.
  • Promotion enhancements (local news outlets, Chamber of Commerce notification, Facebook, Instagram, other social media and website messaging.

*** Bryan and I and the Observatory have a 2018 Urban Birds grant from USFWS. This has several moving parts, two of which h are:

  • Native Plants in the City Workshop at Milwaukee’s Urban Ecology Center.
  • Aerial insectivore urban monitoring project: including survey planning for Chimney Swifts & Common Nighthawks.

*** Related to the last item mentioned above, we have multiple roles in the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative Annual Meeting, this year focused on aerial insectivores: http://www.wisconsinbirds.org/