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Eagle Day along the Fox River

1000 Islands Environmental Center

Adult Bald Eagle soaring over the Fox River. Photo by Karl Kaufman

EAGLE DAYS at 1000 Islands Environmental Center is an all day event. Join us for the annual celebration of the Bald Eagle on January 26, 2019. Activities will include eagle observations, presentations, hands-on activities and a craft for the kids.

Plan to join us also on January 26, 2019 for an opportunity to see a live Bald Eagle up close. Learn all about eagle biology, ecology, natural history and cultural connections in an engaging and entertaining presentation by a naturalist interpreter from the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota. No admission or advance registration is required. Daily programs are scheduled for 10AM, 1PM and 3PM.

Watch our Facebook page and website for more details.

The 1000 Islands Environmental Center is located at 1000 Beaulieu Court in Kaukauna.

Kaukauna Public Library

The Kaukauna Public Library will also be hosting Eagle Day events on January 26, 2019.

  • Eagle Day Crafts from 9am to 1pm
  • Eagle Day Storytime from 10:30am to 11am
  • Raptor Rehab: The Trials and Tribulations of Protecting American Bald Eagles and other Raptors” from 11:30am to 12:30pm – Wildlife rehabilitators from Wildlife of Wisconsin (WOW) will teach us about some of the common threats to our area raptors, meet. Plan to attend and hear stories about some of WOW’s educational raptors as well as to learn how rehabilitators and even you can protect the magnificent animals yourself.

The Kaukauna Public Library located at 207 Thilmany Road will also be hosting a wide variety of activities that day.

Paper Discovery Center

Wapaha the Golden Eagle with Dianne Moller anxiously getting ready for a take-off during Eagle Day 2018. Photo by Donna VanBuecken

We’ll also be celebrating Bald Eagles on January 26 at the Paper Discovery Center (PDC).

  • Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center will be doing a live raptor show that will include a Golden Eagle, Snowy Owl and a flight demo with an owl.
  • Robert Rosenfield, Professor of Biology at UW Stevens Point, will be presenting his research on Cooper’s hawk and bringing his Great Horned Owl.

In addition to the two speakers, we will have information on Bald Eagles, an owl craft and who could forget the guests of honor: The Bald Eagles on the Fox River. Meet some raptors and learn more about Bald Eagles with us.

Tickets purchased in advance by January 25 are $5 for adults, children and seniors. Each ticket is good for general admission to the PDC from
10:00 AM-4:00 PM, as well as seating at ONE of the live animal shows. Limited seats available. No one will be admitted without a ticket.

Tickets can be purchased at Purchase Tickets.

For more information, go PDC website.  The PDC is located at 425 W Water St, Appleton, Wisconsin.

 

Mid-Winter Eagle Survey

Eagles along the Fox River. Photo by Randy McSorley

Winter is an excellent time to get outdoors and survey the abundance of  wildlife that the Fox River Valley has to offer. On Saturday, January 12th, outdoor enthusiasts and those with an eye for eagles will have opportunity to participate in the eagle monitoring and waterfowl survey. Data collected will be compiled by the WDNR for both the state and federal report. Volunteers are needed to help collect this data. This month’s monitoring session takes place from 6:50 to 8:30AM at various Fox River Valley locations.

Locations

  • Neenah: Jefferson and Kimberly Point Park
  • Menasha: Fritse Park / Trestle Trail
  • Appleton: Lutze Park, Peabody Park, Vulcan Park / Paper Discovery, Lawe Street / Newberry Trail
  • Kimberly: Sunset Park
  • Little Chute: Historical Marker
  • Combined Locks: Doyle Park Overlook from Prospect Street
  • Kaukauna: Riverside Park, Thousand Island near Z, Ahlstrom-Munksjo (Formerly Expera) Parking Area
  • Wrightstown: Bridge and Boat Ramp

See map for directions to sites.

Those wishing to help out at a specific site should contact Cheryl at croot@newalliance.org. Others wishing to visit more than one site should feel free to just drop by and meet monitors and help with observations. No experience necessary. Fun for the whole family.

End of Year Reception

A reception is scheduled to take place at Atlas Waterfront Cafe from 10:00 until 11:30. During this time monitors will share their experiences and a WDNR wildlife specialist will give an update on data collected over the past year. The reception is made possible through financial support of Evergreen Credit Union, Appleton, Wisconsin. Visitors are invited.

Common Goldeneyes

Common Goldeneye ducks floating along the Fox River in Appleton Wisconsin’s Lutz Park. Photo by Donna VanBuecken

There are a number of us who participate in the eagle monitoring program hosted by WDNR. We count the eagles we see along the Fox River for 90 minutes during sunrise, once a month during November through March. We often see other wildlife, especially waterfowl. This past Saturday, December 8, 2019, it was 10 degrees at sunrise; fog was rising from the water’s surface. As the sun rose higher in the sky and before I left my monitoring site, the fog was so dense you could hardly see across to the other side of the river.

Common Goldeneye Ducks

The distinct coloring of the male goldeneye is shown beautifully in the photo below. With their white body and black back and their greenish-black head with a white spot on each side of their face, the males stood out even in the fog.

A pair of Common Goldeneyes (Bucephala clangula). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In the video below I’ve recorded a flock of Common Goldeneye ducks lifting off the water. If you listen closely, you’ll hear the whistling of their wingbeats. They would fly west down the river and then float back. Ah! The life of a duck!!

“Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) is a Special Concern species in Wisconsin. It is a medium-sized diving duck with a chunky body and a large head. The males are white with a black back. The head is greenish-black with a white spot on each side of the face. The females have a light-brown head. They have a white belly, breast and flanks, interfaced with a gray back, wings and tail. Both sexes have a distinctive bright yellow to pale yellow eyes.

The species is an uncommon breeder in Wisconsin that nests in cavities with most individuals seen here (in Wisconsin) during migration or winter. During the breeding season, it is found near ponds, lakes, and rivers in woodland areas. The clutch size varies from 5 to 16 eggs that are incubated by the female for 28 to 32 days. The species is threatened by the impacts of pesticides, deforestation, as well as decreased water quality. The recommended avoidance period for this species is April 10 – July 10.” (WDNR)

Added note: Common Goldeneyes can reach speeds of 40 mph in flight.

June 20, 2018 – American Eagle Day

Photo from the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River in Alaska by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management – Alaska (@mypubliclands).

Today, June 20, 2018 is the day America celebrates its national bird, the bald eagle, for American Eagle Day. On June 20, 1782, the bald eagle was placed at the center of the Great Seal of the United States and remains an inspiring symbol of our country. After a dramatic recovery, following the banning of DDT, bald eagles are now found in every state but Hawaii, soaring high and inspiring the nation.

For more on the fight to get rid of DDT, go to Banning DDT.

Wisconsin’s Eagle License Plate

The following is reprinted from the WDNR Weekly On-Line News, dated April 10, 2018:

Celebrate eagles’ comeback by buying a license plate to fund the next conservation success

Eagle plate - Photo credit: DNR
Wisconsin residents can celebrate the continuing comeback of bald eagles and help fund the next conservation success by buying a bald eagle license plate.

Wisconsin residents can celebrate the continuing comeback of bald eagles and help fund the next conservation success by buying a bald eagle license plate. License plate sales and donations to the Endangered Resources Fund account for 25 percent of funding for work by DNR’s Natural Heritage Conservation staff with endangered species and natural areas.

Learn more about Endangered Resources Fund and the on-the-ground conservation work it supports at dnr.wi.gov, keywords “Endangered Resources Fund.”

Looking for Occupied Bald Eagle Nests in Southeastern Wisconsin

The following is reprinted from the WDNR Weekly On-line News dated April 10, 2018:

Ecologists ask for public’s help in reporting occupied bald eagle nests in southeastern Wisconsin

MADISON – State ecologists conducting aerial surveys for occupied bald eagle nests this spring are asking for the public’s help in locating nests in southeastern Wisconsin.

Bald eagles are on their nests in southern Wisconsin, including this one along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway in the Spring Green Area, and DNR aerial surveys for occupied nests are underway. Photo credit: Michael Balfanz

Bald eagles are on their nests in southern Wisconsin, including this one along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway in the Spring Green Area, and DNR aerial surveys for occupied nests are underway. Photo credit: Michael Balfanz

The discovery last year of a bald eagle nest in Kenosha County leaves Milwaukee and Walworth counties as the only remaining counties with no confirmed active bald eagle nests, though conservation biologists believe it is only a matter of time before the nation’s symbol sets up housekeeping there too.

“We’ve been able to add a number of ‘new’ bald eagle territories in southeastern Wisconsin over the past couple years, thanks in part to crowd-sourcing information from people calling in their observations as well as the ongoing efforts of the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas,” says Sharon Fandel, southeastern district ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Fandel already has completed aerial surveys this spring with DNR pilots to look for occupied bald eagle nests in southeastern Wisconsin and has confirmed seven new nesting locations. About half of them came from citizen reports and the other half resulted from honing in on areas with clusters of reported eagle observations from WBBA and other birding reports.

“Now we’re hoping more people will let us know about possible occupied bald eagle nests to check in southeastern Wisconsin, particularly in Milwaukee and Walworth counties,” says Fandel.

Aerial surveys are underway across the state now to check known eagle nests to see if they are actively being used by breeding adult eagles. Survey data are used both internally and externally to protect these nest sites when various activities are being planned across the state.

If you observe an active bald eagle nest, with adults incubating eggs or exhibiting other breeding behaviors, you are encouraged to report your sightings in one of these ways:

In other good news, the bald eagle pair confirmed in Kenosha County last year is back. They’ve built an alternative nest on an adjacent landowner’s property closer to a couple larger ponds, Fandel says.

Bald eagle populations have gradually recovered in Wisconsin and nationally as a result of the banning of the pesticide DDT nationally in 1972 (and in Wisconsin in 1969), a prohibition on killing of eagles, improved water quality in lakes and rivers, nest protection, and reintroduction of eagles in some areas. Bald eagles were removed from Wisconsin’s endangered species list in 1997 and from the federal list in 2007. In 2017, Wisconsin aerial surveys confirmed a record 1,590 occupied nests.

WCHF Induction Ceremony Rescheduled – May 5, 2018

Good News!

The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame’s (WCHF) 2018 Induction Ceremony for Roy and Charlotte Lukes, George Meyer and Arlie Schorger has been rescheduled for the afternoon of May 5, 2018. Dinner will follow at the Atrium at SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Here are the specifics:

Date: May 5, 2018

Place: The Atrium at SentryWorld, 601 Michigan Ave N, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Schedule (afternoon event):

12:30  pm   Social Reception and Registration (Free) 

2:00 pm      Induction Ceremony (Free)

4:30 pm      Dinner ($25). Please purchase tickets or confirm use of April 14th Tickets.

Are Reservations Needed?    (Public is Invited)

Social Reception: No Reservations needed. Simply attend and enjoy!

Ceremony: No Reservations needed. Simply attend and enjoy!

Dinner: Tickets ($25). Reservations required. 

How to Purchase or Confirm Dinner Tickets (Eventbrite tickets from April 14th can be used for May 5th Dinner; just confirm if you plan to attend):

Order dinner tickets through Eventbrite.

Or confirm use of April 14th luncheon tickets by April 27th by contacting one of the following Event Organizers.

Joe Passineau,  WCHF President:  715-677-4047  jpassine@uwsp.edu 

Wisconsin Wildlife Federation:  608-635-0600  office@wiwf.org

Door County: Charlotte Lukes 920-823-2478, Tim Stone 920-839-2140 or Roy Thilly 920-839-2503

Hope you can join us for the celebration!

See poster.

See also Roy & Charlotte Lukes 2018 WCHF Inductees.

 

Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearings – Neonics

2018 Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearings flyer. (WDNR)

Each second Monday of April, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress holds their spring hearings. There are 54 questions this year concerning a myriad of conservation issues. One of great importance to natural landscaping enthusiasts is advisory question 45 on the use of neonicotinoids:

“Should the Conservation Congress work with the DNR, NRB and Wisconsin Legislature to take up the ‘Saving Wisconsin Pollinators Act,’ and include specific language to ban the use of neonicotinoid insecticides (dinotefuran, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) regardless of application method on all state owned agricultural and forest lands, and establish limited use guidelines for continued use on commercial and private agricultural lands? Yes or No?”

“The question relates to banning the use of neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) on state owned agriculture and forest land. “Neonicotinoids are a widely used class of insecticides. They are neurotoxins that are present throughout all parts of the plant once applied, including the leaves, pollen, and nectar. They can also contaminate water resources and soils as well. Studies show that pollinators are endangered through acute poisonings by coming into contact with these toxins. It has been widely reported that we are currently experiencing a large loss of pollinators.”

Doug Tallamy says a Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) pair brings 390-570 caterpillars to their young per day for 16 days. Photo by Doug Tallamy.

In essence, although neonics are effective against a variety of insect pests, they also kill non-target insects such as pollinators, and can have an equally unhealthy indirect effect on birds, bats and other insect-eating wildlife in the chain of life.

Wisconsin Conservation Hearings

The hearings will be held in each county of Wisconsin on April 9, 2018 at 7:00PM. Everyone attending has a chance to speak on behalf of any of the questions — pro or con. Everyone attending has the opportunity to cast their vote — yes or no — on each question. These citizen advisory ballots are then presented to the Natural Resources Board (NRB) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

If you are not able to attend the hearings personally, your comments should be submitted to the Wisconsin DNR no later than April 9, 2018. Send your comments to:

•Fisheries Rule Coordinator, Scott Loomans, 101 South Webster St. PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, (608) 266-5206, scott.loomans@wisconsin.gov

•Wildlife Rule Coordinator, Scott Karel, 101 South Webster St., PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, (608) 267-2452, scottr.karel@wisconsin.gov

Please send your comments to the WDNR. Let’s get the use of neonics under control here in Wisconsin.

Hearings Questionnaire

Hearings Locations

Background on Neonic Insecticides by Wisconsin Society for Ornithology

New Idea to Save Birds from Tall Objects

As part of research conducted by Auburn University, trainers and a veterinarian are trying to develop radar and visual systems to help stop birds from striking wind turbines. In one experiment, researcher Jason Roadman and veterinarian Seth Oster release a Bald Eagle from a lift to track how it flies toward turbines. The work is being done with U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). Photo: Dennis Schroeder and John de la Rosa/NREL/Flickr CC (BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

According to the USGS, wind turbines collisions kill between a quarter to a half million birds annually. Researchers from the College of William and Mary, however, have built a warning system they call the Acoustic Lighthouse. This invention emits a high-pitched sound which warns birds to look ahead and slow down or stop before they impact with the wind turbine. This device could be used on tall buildings and other towers like those used for storm warnings and cell phones.

Geeese taking off from Horicon pond in spring. Photo by Jack Bartholmai

I for one would be grateful to have these devices placed on the 86 wind turbines that stand just two miles from the 11,091 acres that make up Horicon Marsh here in Wisconsin.

See also Save the Eagles International

WCHF Announces 2018 Inductees

WCHF Announces 2018 Inductees
Roy and Charlotte Lukes, George Meyer and Arlie Schorger

The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame Foundation (WCHF) has announced the selection of four conservation leaders for induction on April 14, 2018 at 10:00a.m. at the Sentry Theater in Stevens Point. The public is invited.

A coffee reception will be held at 9 a.m. prior to the Induction Ceremony on Saturday, April 14th at Sentry Theater in Stevens Point.  Following the ceremony, there will be a luncheon at 12:30 p.m. at the Sentry World Center. The Induction Ceremony and Coffee Reception are free and open to the public. Reservations for lunch ($25 per person) may be made online or by calling Schmeeckle Reserve at 715-346-4992.

Saturday, April 14, 2018
Sentry Theater in Stevens Point
Program: 9 a.m. Coffee Reception (free)
10 a.m. Induction Ceremony (free)
12:30 p.m. Luncheon – ($25/person)

The inductees this year include a couple who have spent their lives as “Partners in Nature” protecting the natural heritage of Door County, a Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) who never retired, and an almost forgotten UW-Madison Wildlife Professor and philanthropist who contributed directly to Leopold’s Conservation Legacy.

Roy (1929-2016) and Charlotte (1944- ) Lukes

Door County naturalists, Roy and Charlotte Lukes, spent their lifetimes protecting the natural beauty of the peninsula and sharing its magic through their teachings, writings, and personal charm. As “Partners in Nature,” they built the Ridges Sanctuary into a center for conservation education, research, and advocacy. They educated and inspired citizens of Door County and the State through their many research efforts, lectures and nature walks, books and newspaper columns. Although Roy has passed on, Charlotte has continued to write the weekly column “Door to Nature” for the Door County Pulse.

Roy and Charlotte were also instrumental in protecting many of the county’s most scenic gems and ecologically valuable habitats. They saw their scientific research on the flora and fauna of Door County as a cornerstone to their work in conservation related education, policy and public leadership.  In recognition of their lifelong collaboration, the couple received nearly thirty awards from numerous educational, literary, civic and environmental organizations.

George Meyer (1947 – )

A highly respected and influential Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), George Meyer was instrumental in creating and advancing major conservation and environmental policies affecting all of the State’s natural resources. During his three decade career with the WDNR, Meyer worked on many of the most challenging, and often controversial, policy issues affecting Wisconsin.

In addition to his years in public service, Meyer spent much of his life promoting citizen participation and the advancement of conservation organizations. Since retiring from the WDNR in 2002, Meyer has led the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, serving as its first Executive Director. With 200 affiliate organizations statewide, the Federation promotes sound resource management through its educational and advocacy programs.

Throughout his career, he has been respected for his integrity, leadership, and unassuming personality. He has received many awards and much recognition for his contributions to conservation.

Arlie (Bill) Schorger (1884 – 1972)

As a man of many talents, Arlie (Bill) Schorger excelled as a chemist, inventor, businessman, and wildlife conservationist. In conservation circles he is most well known for his work as a nature historian and for his books on the life histories of Wisconsin’s Wildlife and man’s impact on them. His 1955 award winning book, The Passenger Pigeon: Its Natural History and Extinction helped advance a global concern for wildlife management, biodiversity and the new field of conservation biology.

He became a Professor of Wildlife Management after retiring from his business career in paper chemistry and devoted the rest of his productive life to advancing conservation through his research and writings. As a personal friend of Aldo Leopold, he also played a pivotal role in launching Leopold’s career and conservation legacy.

He was also known for his public service, philanthropy and leadership in state and national conservation organizations. He served on the Wisconsin State Conservation Commission (now the WDNR Board) and as President of the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Art and Letters.  As a philanthropist, he contributed to many conservation, literary and civic programs.

The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame

The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame and Visitor Center, located at Schmeeckle Reserve in Stevens Point, was established in 1985 to advance the conservation legacy of Wisconsin and now recognizes 88 leaders who have contributed significantly to it. WCHF is a cooperative venture of 32 State-wide conservation organizations. Individuals may be nominated for induction by member organizations or by the public. Based on a set of criteria, nominees are selected for induction by the WCHF Board of Directors and an independent Board of Governors.