Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory

Headquarters at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve

American Kestrel Partnership Project 2019 Update

American kestrel02

American Kestrel by Joel Trick

We work with The Peregrine Fund on its nation-wide American Kestrel Partnership, and WGLBBO is the “Wisconsin node” for partner activities and data management.

This winter, we will be working with Dr. Neal O’Reilly of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Conservation and Environmental Science program, and a group of his students, to develop a Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) with the kestrel nestbox data from our WI partners, incorporating landcover data and the variables within this growing dataset (approaching 200 nestboxes).

William Mueller recently met with Bill Stout, a well-known local researcher who has worked on Cooper’s Hawks for many years. Bill will connect with our project in several ways: (a) banding young kestrels, and contributing samples to the AKP Genoscape Project; and (b) managing/monitoring additional nestboxes with a group of new participants near his location.

Events To Put On Your 2019 Calendar

Sunday, May 19, 2019: World Migratory Bird Day and Native Plant Sale

Bring your binoculars and join Observatory experts on bird hikes through Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, enjoy a live raptor show, and shop for native plants that benefit birds, Monarchs, and other pollinators.

Saturday, June 15, 2019: Treasures of Oz 

Learn how to raise a Monarch from egg to adult butterfly at the Observatory's Monarch Workshop. Attendees who have a good supply of milkweed, the only plant Monarch caterpillars can eat, will be able to adopt Monarch caterpillars.

Saturday, August 24, 2019: Monarch Tag and Release Celebration

Tour the prairie in full bloom, and watch as we tag and release Monarch butterflies for their long trip to Mexico. Fun for all ages!

Friday and Saturday, November 1-2, 2019: Southeastern Wisconsin Conservation Summit

Meet and learn from the naturalists and community scientists who are conducting vital research and monitoring on a wide range of topics in southeastern Wisconsin.

October-November, 2019

Become a member of our Raptor Watch team. Send an email to to sign up for training sessions that begin in September. Field work will begin when the raptors start their fall migration.

All events are held at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve

An Update On Wisconsin's Bats

Bat update

Despite the terrible toll taken on bats by white-nose syndrome, Wisconsin DNR is reporting findings that provide at least a ray of hope. DNR researchers report that they have recaptured bats banded several years ago, and that some summer colonies appear to be persisting in larger numbers. To read about these positive discoveries and learn about the amazing effort put forth by roost monitors and what they found over the summer, read the Wisconsin Bat Program’s 2018 Roost Monitoring report. 

Gearing Up For The Final Season Of The Atlas

RWBFNOCA nest 

Red-winged Blackbird fledgling (left) and Northern Cardinal hatchlings (right) by Kate Redmond

Season 5 Kickoff 

April 5-7, 2019

Holiday Inn and Convention Center, 1001 Amber Ave., Stevens Point

2019 will be the final year of field work for the second Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas, and the organizers need a lot of help to complete this monumental effort by fall. About 15 percent of Atlas survey blocks have seen little to no survey effort, while an additional 25 percent still need some work to be marked complete. Attend the Season 5 Kickoff to learn where and how you can help.  Register at https://wsobirds.org/atlas.

You won’t want to miss:

Keynote address by Ian Davies, eBird Project Coordinator at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Birds and Beers in the Tap Room of Central Waters Brewing Co. 

Morning field trips to find Greater Prairie-Chickens, Snowy Owls, and other birds 

Nighttime field trips to complete blocks and learn techniques

Who should attend?

Prospective and seasoned atlasers

Atlas county coordinators

Bird researchers and academics

Bird conservationists

All Wisconsin bird lovers!

Key meeting topics:

Overview of results to date

Introduction to atlasing for newcomers

Strategies for completing field work 

Plans for an Atlas II book and other end products

Recognition for both our donors and top atlasers

To register, go to the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology’s Atlas webpage

Upcoming Events

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