Exceptional May birding trips in Sauk County
Announcing exceptional May birding trips in Sauk County:
- Badger Ammunition Plant and Baraboo Hills with Mike Mossman and Todd Persche – May 10
- Leopold Reserve-Pine Island Important Bird Area with Mike Mossman, Yoyi Steele, and Steve Swenson – May 19
The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative are offering these two very special Sauk County field trips as part of our Great Wisconsin Birdathon, which is raising support for statewide bird conservation programs.
Each group will strive to see or hear as many bird species as possible during the course of the day and will submit their species list to the Great Wisconsin Birdathon.
Both trips offer a unique, small group experience with top notch birders who have vast knowledge of these birding hotspots and their birdlife. The Baraboo Hills, Badger Ammunition Plant, and Leopold Reserve-Pine Island have each been designated Important Bird Areas, an international distinction for sites that are critically important to large numbers of breeding, migratory, and/or wintering birds. Wisconsin has 92 Important Bird Areas.
Both field trips will run from 6:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Participants are each asked to pay a $15 registration fee and provide a $100 donation to the Bird Protection Fund. Donations will support the following statewide bird conservation programs:
- Bird City Wisconsin – delivering bird conservation tools and recognition to the state’s urban areas
- Wisconsin Stopover Initiative for Migratory Birds – working with landowners to identify and manage migratory stopover areas
- Important Bird Areas Program – developing and implementing conservation strategies for Wisconsin’s Important Bird Areas
- Citizen Science for Birds – monitoring select bird groups and species that are in decline to provide data that will guide conservation strategies
- Reforesting and preserving Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula – an ecological gem of global importance, 55 species that breed in Wisconsin winter there
- Monitoring and managing federally endangered whooping cranes and Kirtland’s warblers in Wisconsin
The Badger Ammunition Plant and Baraboo Hills (Friday, May 10) field trip will begin at the extensive wetlands of the Fairfield Marsh near Baraboo, then head to Baxter’s Hollow and other warbler hotspots in the Baraboo Hills, and finish by searching grasslands of the 7,000+ acre Badger Plant for upland sandpipers and other rare finds. Ornithologists Mike Mossman (DNR researcher) and Todd Persche (artist, avid birder and volunteer) have studied birds of the Baraboo Hills for decades and worked hard to educate the public about Sauk County’s birdlife.
The Leopold Reserve-Pine Island Important Bird Area (Sunday, May 19) field trip will explore this 17,000-acre complex that straddles the Wisconsin River in northeast Sauk and northwest Columbia counties. It includes river sandbars, wetlands, floodplain forest, savanna and barrens, prairie, and much more. Leaders will be Mike Mossman (DNR), Yoyi Steele (DNR, coordinator of Wisconsin’s Important Bird Areas Program) and Steve Swenson (Aldo Leopold Foundation ecologist). They will discuss the bird conservation strategy for this IBA, which hosts some 120 breeding species and well over 3,000 migrating sandhill cranes in October and November.
Register for these Big Day field trips online at www.wibirdathon.org. Specific field trip details will be sent to participants after they register.
If you are not able to attend these trips, please consider pledging to a Great Wisconsin Birdathon team to support the programs listed above and enjoy following the adventures and results from birdathon teams all across the state. We need birds and birds need our support — now more than ever. Thank you!
The Great Wisconsin Birdathon Planning Team:
Andy Paulios (Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative)
Karen Etter Hale (Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative)
Sumner Matteson (Wisconsin DNR)
Jim Shurts (Madison Audubon Society)
Barb Barzen (Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin)
Maria Sadowski (Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin)
Paul Senner (Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin)