Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory

Headquarters at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve


 Red t. Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk by Joel Trick

Would you be willing to take an hour or two on select days this fall to help us watch for southbound hawks and other birds of prey at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve? If so, please contact us at .

If you would like to volunteer, but consider yourself a beginning-to-intermediate birder and "not yet ready," we will have several training sessions this autumn. Over the course of the autumn season, you can learn raptor identification and counting methods.

We start seeing fair to good numbers of raptors in mid-September, on days with the best weather conditions. We’ll send out a notice on days when it looks like good conditions are expected/predicted. The best conditions include west to northwest winds (sometimes southwest winds are also good), especially on days after the passage of a cold front. These conditions cause raptors to collect near the eastern edge of the state, in a band sometimes a quarter mile to a mile inland. Our raptor watch platform is perfectly positioned to afford a view of this zone. HMANA (the Hawk Migration Association of America) has a protocol we use; we supply a data sheet and clipboard.


A fundraising event on Sept. 8

WSO, Bird City Wisconsin and the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory have all participated in the lengthy fight by the Friends of the Black River Forest (FBRF) to block plans by the Kohler Co to build a new high-end golf course that would decimate an important bird area and migratory habitat along Lake Michigan just south of Sheboygan. Plans would include the state's sale of several acres of Kohler Andrae State Park to facilitate the development plan. The legal challenges ahead will require major funding.

Knowing that thousands of Wisconsin residents care about birds and wildlife protection, FBRF decided to highlight the impact on birds for this  Save Our Songbirds event and is soliciting artists of all media to donate an item featuring a bird or other wildlife for our auction. Their work would be featured on the FBRF website, Facebook page and newsletter. Donors can call 708-567-7419 to arrange for the delivery of their art.

This promises to be a evening of camaraderie for fellow birders and nature lovers. Music, food, and wine are complimentary with a $10 suggested donation.

 songbird poster 8.5x11 resize


Please “Save the Date” for the Second Annual Southeastern Wisconsin Conservation Summit on November 2nd and 3rd, 2018 at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve located just north of Port Washington, Wisconsin.

Our first Summit was a great success with 47 presenters,  31 posters and 184 attendees.  Presentation topics ranged from insects, mussels, biodiversity, birds, and a variety of land management and restoration activities.   View the abstracts from 2017 here:  https://wglbbo.org/swcs

We anticipate that this year will be even better!  We’ll have additional breaks to allow for more networking.  We’ll continue to encourage students to submit posters and give presentations.  And you’ll have the opportunity to see the continued restoration of a former golf course to a migratory bird stopover habitat.

Consider submitting a presentation or poster.  We will shortly begin accepting abstract submittals and will send out another email at that time with additional details about the Summit. If you participated last year, think about providing an abstract on a different topic for 2019; if you have significantly updated results on a project you presented on last year please consider submitting again.

Enjoy your summer!


Bird City Wisconsin has announced the hiring of Charles Hagner as its new director.

Hagner, a Wisconsin native, is a writer and editor specializing in birds, birding, and conservation and is the Board Chair of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, Inc. He was the editor-in-chief of nationally distributed BirdWatching magazine from 2001 to 2017.

He succeeds Dr. Bryan Lenz, who served as the Bird City’s director since 2014. Lenz is leaving to become the Bird Collisions Campaign Manager with the American Bird Conservancy, a non-profit organization that works to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.

“Editing a magazine devoted to wild birds and birding presented ample opportunities to study not only the myriad challenges faced by birds but also the many innovative, effective ways we all can help them. Bird City is one of the best,” says Hagner. “I’m excited to get to work for Wisconsin’s birds.”

Bird City was created in 2009. A program of the Milwaukee Audubon Society, it recognizes Wisconsin municipalities for the conservation and education activities that they undertake to make their communities healthy for birds... and people.

To be recognized as a Bird City, a community must meet criteria spread across six categories: habitat creation and protection, community forest management, limiting threats to birds, education, energy and sustainability, and the official recognition and celebration of World Migratory Bird Day (formerly International Migratory Bird Day).

Bird City also offers High Flyer recognition for communities that go above and beyond in their conservation and education programs. To become a High Flyer, a community must meet additional, and more involved, criteria.

To date, 109 Wisconsin communities have been recognized as a Bird City, while 23 communities have qualified for High Flyer status.

Upcoming Events

No events found