What it Means to be Migratory
Birds of all shapes and sizes migrate, flying between the habitats they use for nesting and raising young in the summer and habitats with rich and abundant food in the winter.
When the snow and ice thaw in the spring and foods like fish, insects, fruits and seeds become available, birds fly north again to take advantage of the abundant foods and raise their young.
In Wisconsin, birds flock to their preferred habitat during nesting season in the summer, and a variety of habitats during migration season in the spring and autumn. By providing the basics of food, water and shelter and making your home safer for birds, you can help birds thrive throughout the year.
In 1916, the United States and Canada signed the Migratory Bird Treaty, making history for bird conservation.
Since the signing of the treaty, birders, hunters and nature enthusiasts of all feathers have joined forces to protect millions of acres of important bird habitat, monitor bird populations and raise awareness of the importance of birds and bird conservation.
Now, 100 years later, the nation is celebrating the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial, the remarkable diversity of North American birds, milestones we have accomplished in protecting them and the ways we can continue to positively impact birds across their ranges for years to come.
We couldn’t do it without YOU!Citizens just like you sparked the first bird conservation initiatives over 100 years ago, and people all over the country continue to value the songs, color, grace and natural benefits that birds provide.
It’s easy to celebrate bird conservation and the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial at events around Wisconsin or simply in your own backyard. Experience hands-on bird conservation by volunteering to monitor birds
(dnr.wi.gov, keyword “volunteer”) or restore habitat (keyword “habitat”). Improve your birding skills (keyword “birding”) or prepare for the fall hunting seasons (keyword “waterfowl”). Or,
simply get outside to enjoy the birds and introduce someone else to the wonders of birds!
Learn more about the centennial and ways you can participate at dnr.wi.gov, keywords “bird treaty.”
Helping Migratory Birds Thrive
For decades, wildlife biologists have monitored populations of birds by banding, surveying and, more recently, using satellite transmitters and geolocators to track regional and even hemispheric movements of certain bird species. Here, a biologist bands a duck at Crex Meadows in 1964. Monitoring helps ensure that bird populations remain stable for current and future generations to enjoy.
Some birds, such as Eastern Bluebirds, migrate short distances, spending the winter in states south of Wisconsin.
Others, like the Bobolink, fly thousands of miles to overwinter in tropical South America.
Non-migratory resident birds like the Northern Cardinal weather Wisconsin’s winters, but still benefit from the same habitat as migratory birds.
Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial
Go Au Naturel Natural landscapes fulfill more basic needs of migrating birds than bird feeders alone. They provide resting areas, nesting niches and seasonal variety in foods like insects, seeds and fruit.
Providing bird-friendly habitat in urban areas is especially important to migrating birds. These stopover sites offer a place for birds to rest and feed during their long journeys.
Leaving a portion of your yard unmowed, and minimizing the use of pesticides and other chemicals in gardening, benefits birds and other wildlife.
Keep bird feeders clean and stocked.
Place appropriately sized nest boxes at correct heights and use predator guards.
Refresh bird baths daily.
Plant native trees, shrubs and flowers to attract migratory birds.
Provide a variety of foods: suet, black-oil sunflower seeds, peanuts and thistle are bird favorites.
Protect Birds from Window Collisions
Up to 1 billion birds are killed each year in North America from hitting glass windows. Help prevent window strikes around your home:
Reduce reflectivity of windows with netting or tape.
Apply window decals to make windows more visible to birds.
Place bird feeders closer than 3 feet or more than 30 feet from windows.
Create Bird-Friendly Yards
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources provides equal opportunity in its employment, programs, services, and functions under an Affirmative Action Plan. If you have any questions, please write to Equal Opportunity Office, Department of Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240. This publication can be made available in alternative formats (large print, Braille, audio tape, etc.) upon request. Please call 608-865-3744 for more information.
WisconsinDepartment of Natural ResourcesP.O. Box 7921Madison, WI 537071-888-936-7463
dnr.wi.govkeyword: bird treaty
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