The Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II is a project which has documented the location and breeding activity of more than 1.7 million individuals of 229 species of birds in Wisconsin in 2015. This survey is the follow-up to a first Atlas conducted from 1995-2000, information from which is still used in species conservation and land management planning today. Changes in habitat and seeming shifts in bird populations make it important to get a current picture of Wisconsin’s breeding bird population. Large scale citizen science projects such a the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas and Oregon 2020 are important benchmarks of avian population status and change through time.
The WBBA survey will continue for the next four years, after which the data will be published in a hard-copy book and online. The dataset will be available for use by researchers, land managers, and others working to conserve birds and their habitats.
Survey participants collect data by observing birds, noting the date and location, and entering their sightings online into an eBird database specially developed for the project by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The records are then checked by Anich and volunteer ornithologists. So far, they have analyzed the information from 24,000 checklists.
This year 8 species were found that were not confirmed during the six years of Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas I (1995–2000):
Bufflehead (1 confirmation)
Whooping Crane (Multiple confirmations)
Eurasian Collared-Dove (4 confirmations)
White-eyed Vireo (1 confirmation)
Great Tit (2 confirmations)
Kirtland’s Warbler (Multiple confirmations)
Yellow-throated Warbler (1 confirmation)
European Goldfinch (4 confirmations)
“A lot of people are getting outside and having fun finding birds, and the project is generating a dataset that is really going to help inform management and conservation of birds and their habitats for the next generation,” Anich says.
Though this project has a special eBird database for entering checklists, this data is included in the eBird dataset that is free to the public and updated quarterly so anyone can make use of it. eBird is also one of the sources used for data collection by Oregon 2020.
Check out a graphic of the project’s results below!