Birds of Greatest Conservation Need
Schlitz Audubon has a rich history in bird conservation. We have a treasure trove of gathered bird data that is unprecedented in this region. Our Conservation Plan prioritizes creating habitat for birds of greatest conservation need based on eBird records going back to 1974, as well as data from ten breeding bird surveys that were conducted at the Center over a 33-year period from 1980-2013.
Our location along Lake Michigan, within the Mississippi Migratory Flyway, makes Schlitz Audubon a desirable habitat for breeding birds. The variety and quality of our ecosystems provide excellent stopover habitat for 260 species of birds. Of those 260, approximately 125 species breed at the Center.
Conserving Breeding Birds
The Conservation Plan includes a list of 20 bird species for which we work to improve breeding habitat. Each bird is listed as Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern in Wisconsin. This list was created by comparing species we are likely to see here alongside those in dire need of habitat. 17 of our 20 priority birds nest either on the ground or in low branches of shrubs and saplings. We are working to control Common Buckthorn and other invasive species. We are restoring native ground-layer and shrub-layer vegetation, providing the necessary habitat for these birds.
The Red-headed Woodpecker is an example of one of these 20 birds of greatest conservation need that we hope will begin breeding here. Oak Savannas are their optimum habitat, and we are gradually converting areas of the Center into Oak Savanna. Another example is the Field Sparrow, which breeds in grassy or shrubby areas that are managed frequently by fire. With effective conservation, we will support the possible nesting and reproduction of our 20 priority species. In creating this habitat, other birds that share their resource requirements will benefit.