In light of continuing habitat loss for migrating birds, the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative (WISI) held workshops this week to encourage land managers to offer traveling birds better places to rest and refuel.
WISI, an eight-year old public-private partnership, spreads the word about which birds migrate through Wisconsin, and how to provide a stopover habitat. Kim Grveles, of the Department of Natural Resources, says in general, landowners can help by removing invasive plants like buckthorn, and putting in native species like oak trees and certain shrubs that help provide healthy food for birds. Grveles says there may be money available from various sources to fund such projects.
"Most of them are federal sources, but there are a few private sources available, where they can apply for grants to get money to do restoration work — planting of native plants and removal of invasive species."
David Ewert of the Nature Conservancy is a specialist in bird stopover ecology, and despite development and urban sprawl contributing to habitat loss and fragmentation, he remains optimistic. He says that people like birds, and reducing habitat-harming actions like lawn mowing can save money for corporations and park systems.
"Everybody benefits. It's good for the corporations, it's good for the birds, and the public, I think, appreciates seeing actions like that."
WISI says about 125 public and private land managers attended three workshops this week near the western shore of Lake Michigan — a key migratory area for birds.