Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory

Ozaukee County International Migratory Bird Day celebration May 20 at Forest Beach

Ozaukee County International Migratory Bird Day celebration May 20 at Forest Beach features bird hikes, rummage and native plant sale, raptor show, photography tips

Saturday, May 20, 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, 4970 Country Club Rd., Port Washington, WI

Featuring: Live Birds, Bird Banding, Native Plant Sale, Wildlife Experts, & More!
FREE and Open to the Public!

Rain or Shine – Food Available

2017 imbd scheduleGreat Wisconsin Birdathon
Just by showing up you become part of the Observatory’s birdathon team to raise money to support the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s Bird Protection Fund. What is a Birdathon? Think of a walk-athon with birds! We will collect pledges and donations for the birds seen with our team of experts at this free event, so don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

All Day: Native Plant Sale
Choose from hundreds of Wisconsin natives to beautify your yard and support the pollinators and insects that our favorite birds need to survive. There will also be free consultations with local experts, including “Prairie Doc” Mark Feider.

All Day: Ecological Rummage Sale
New and used bird houses, bird feeders, nature books, outdoor and gardening gear, and much more. All priced to move!

7:00 - 10:30 am – Bird Banding (weather permitting)
Master bander Al Sherkow and his team will have mist nets set up at Forest Beach to band as many birds as possible. This is a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with the birds that make spring our favorite season. Don’t miss it!

7:00, 7:45, 8:30, 9:15 am – The Birds of Forest Beach
Guided bird hikes from the Clubhouse led by retired Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Joel Trick and the Observatory’s Waterbird Watch ornithologist Calvin Brennan. The Observatory’s director, Bill Mueller, will be at the clubhouse to answer bird-related questions and share the success of Forest Beach’s Purple Martin colony. (DURATION: 60-75 minutes each. DIFFICULTY: Easy)

7:00 - 8:30 am – OFF-SITE Birding Hike at Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve
Start your morning with Dan Panetti of Wild Birds Unlimited and Tina Kroening and Andrew Struck from the Milwaukee Audubon Society as they lead a guided bird hike at one of the last stretches of undeveloped bluff land along the Lake Michigan Shoreline. Stick around to help erect an American Kestrel nest box - Wisconsin’s smallest falcon needs our help to counter a population decline.

9:00 – 11:00 am – Hot Spot Field Trip
This carpool trip will be led by Wisconsin DNR biologists Rich and Amy Staffen and will depart from the Forest Beach parking lot. Stops include Harrington Beach State Park, the Ozaukee grasslands, and other area birding destinations.

10:00 – 11:00 am – Live Raptor Exhibit & Talk
Pine View Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center admits birds of prey, reptiles, and predatory mammals. Jeannie Lord, executive director, will thrill you with live birds during her introduction to these amazing animals and the threats they face.

11:00 – 11:45 am – Nature Photography
Naturalist Kate Redmond is a founding member of the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog, wrote the online field guide to the Mequon Nature Preserve and, as the Bug Lady, publishes weekly essays on insects and other invertebrates, complete with her photos. Join Kate for this beginner-level presentation aimed at helping you get the wildlife picture you want. Bring your camera and put your new skills to the test at beautiful Forest Beach!

12:00 – 12:45 pm – Pesticide Dangers
US Fish and Wildlife Service ecotoxicologist Sarah Warner will bring us up to date on the impact of pesticides on birds, butterflies, and moths, conservation issues that were brought to the public’s attention by Rachel Carson in the 1950s. The Fish and Wildlife Service, which was instrumental in establishing Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, maintains Carson’s legacy through its continuing research into the effects of chemicals on wildlife.

12:45 – 1:30 pm – Dragonfly Walk
Forest Beach was established as a migratory hot spot for birds, but it has turned out to be much more! Freda Van Den Broek will lead a walk to show you how Forest Beach has turned out to be a dragonfly hot spot as well.

1:30 – 2:00 pm – Bug Hotels
Tom Kroeger, manager of Lakeshore State Park, will demonstrate the concept behind “bug hotels” and explain why you want one for your property (Hint: They are good for birds and help abate worldwide insect declines!).

2:00 – 3:00 pm – Bird Identification
Join retired US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Joel Trick and the Observatory’s director Bill Mueller for tips on identifying the birds of spring as well as those who spend their whole year here.

pdf2017 IMBD Schedule620.25 KB


Bird City Wisconsin Director Dr. Bryan Lenz, 414-533-5398,

WGLBBO Director Bill Mueller, 414-698-9108,                                 

Carl Schwartz, 414-416-3272,

Port Washington -- For 2017, International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) celebrates the importance of local stopover sites and encourages everyone to get involved in protecting them. And what site could be more appropriate for a local celebration than Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, just north of Port Washington.

On Saturday May 20, the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory and the American Bird Conservancy will host a countywide collection of activities celebrating IMBD and offering tips on how individual backyards can serve as stopover sites by offering the food, water, and shelter birds need, along with safety from free-roaming cats and pane glass.

Events on May 20 will include bird banding demonstrations, a native-plant sale, “ecological” rummage, and guided bird hikes at 7, 7:45, 8:30 and 9:15 a.m. at Forest Beach, as well as a 7 a.m. birding hike at Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve south of Port Washington and a 9 a.m. Hot Spot Field Trip to other birding sites in the county.

It can be a long journey for many of spring’s most colorful songbirds between their winter homes in Central and South America and their breeding sites in Wisconsin and other areas of the United States and Canada. Bobolinks will fly 12,500 miles roundtrip between rice fields in Argentina and grassland nesting areas in Ozaukee County. Along the way, birds need spots to rest and refuel, and the health and safety of these sites is critical to their survival.

Located along Lake Michigan, Forest Beach contains a 5-acre hardwood forest, wetland ponds, open grasslands and prairie. The site had been a failing golf course, but the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust purchased the land in 2008 because its location and attributes lend itself to supporting migratory birds along the Lake Michigan Flyway. Today, thanks to the help of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the preserve hosts a "patchwork quilt" of habitats that support all kinds of migratory birds, dragonflies, reptiles and mammals. Interpretive trails invite visitors to learn about the restoration.

Participating in the celebration there are all of the local Bird City Wisconsin communities: Ozaukee County, Port Washington, the Town of Grafton, Mequon and Newburg, as well as the Milwaukee Audubon Society, Mequon Nature Preserve and the Riveredge Nature Center.

Just by showing up, attendees will become part of the Observatory’s birdathon team to raise money to support the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s Bird Protection Fund. What is a Birdathon? Think of it as a walk-a-thon with birds! Volunteers will collect pledges and donations (and hand out IMBD souvenirs) for the birds seen with our team of experts at this free event, so bring your binoculars.


When is IMBD? Because birds do not migrate on the same day, IMBD is celebrated on different dates across the Western Hemisphere. Events take place year-round, though many in Wisconsin occur in mid-May, or in October in Latin America and the Caribbean.

IMBD is the brainchild of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, dedicated to greater understanding, appreciation and protection of the grand phenomenon of bird migration.  The first celebration was hosted at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in 1993. Coordination was turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 1995.

The program grew rapidly, and Environment for the Americas, a non-profit that works throughout the Western Hemisphere to share information about birds and their conservation, has been coordinating IMBD since 2007.  It celebrates the migration of nearly 350 species of birds between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

pdf2017 IMBD Schedule620.25 KB