Bird City Wisconsin
2018 has been declared "The Year of the Bird", as it marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, "the most powerful and important bird-protection act ever passed" (National Geographic). People worldwide are joining forces to celebrate birds and take action to ensure they are here for the next 100 years.
Hudson is one of over 100 Wisconsin communities designated "Bird City Wisconsin". Bird City Wisconsin provides public recognition to municipalities that work to make healthy communities for both birds and people. Birds are an important part of any community. Hudson is a wonderful place to see various birds, from bald eagles over Prospect Park to trumpeter swans during the winter on the St. Croix River. Warblers migrate through Hudson each spring and fall and can be seen in many places, including along the Lakefront Park walking trail, at Willow River State Park, and along the Trout Brook Trail.
Hudson hosts a Bird Celebration to recognize International Migratory Bird Day on the second weekend in May each year. This event is sponsored by Tropical Wings, a non-profit organization that supports bird education and conservation. The celebration includes a Friday evening program at the Phipps Center for the Arts and a variety of outdoor activities in the St. Croix Valley on Saturday, including a morning of family-friendly activities at the Wisconsin Campus of Carpenter Nature Center (300 East Cove Road, Hudson).
The websites of the following organizations provide information on birds, bird habitat, their migratory patterns, and issues addressed in information at the links shown on the left side of this page:
- Bird City Wisconsin
- Tropical Wings
- The Audubon Society
- Wisconsin DNR
- National Conservation Resources Service - USDA
Creating Bird Habitat
There are many benefits to creating bird habitat in your yard. Most birds eat insects, including the harmful ones. Many birds have beautiful songs that please the ear and soothe the spirit. It is easy to create an inviting habitat and doesn't have to strain your pocketbook.
Hang bird feeders but be careful to place them at least 15 feet from the house and nearly as far from predator cover. Buy seed that attracts the kinds of birds you want to see in your yard.
Plant native species that provide seeds, nuts or fruit to feed birds and provide shelter.
Supply water. Birdbaths should be cleaned regularly but avoid chemical cleaners. Vinegar and water are great for keeping bird baths sparkling. Special heaters can keep the water flowing during cold winter months.
Put up nesting boxes around the yard. The boxes provide a safe place for birds to build nests during their mating season. Nesting birds in Plymouth include House Wrens, Chickadees, Robins, Cedar Waxwings, Song Sparrows, Finches, and Indigo Buntings.
Keep cats indoors. House cats (even de-clawed) will kill birds. It is a basic instinct that no amount of food or pampering can dampen.
An important part of creating a safe habitat for birds is ensuring the removal of invasive species. There are many non-native plants in our state that without natural controls can overrun native species. There is information available to help citizens identify and remove invasive species at the Wisconsin DNR website. After removing the invasive plants, consider planting native species to attract birds and other pollinators to your yard.
Avoiding Bird Window Strikes
Hudson is located in the Mississippi Flyway, a major migration route used by birds each fall and spring on their journey to and from nesting and wintering grounds. Millions of birds die each year from window strikes, as window glass is highly reflective, showing the birds a mirror image of the outdoors.
Birds then believe they have a safe passage through that area, but instead collide with the glass, causing injury/death. Birds are also attracted to the lights in home at night and may fly into the adjacent window.
The danger of window strikes is not limited to neighborhood birds, as migratory birds are particularly susceptible to night time window strikes.
It is common for one particular window in a home to be a target for strikes, either because of flight paths, tree and shrubbery locations or territorial aggressiveness.
If a bird is nesting near the problem window and it sees its reflection in the glass it may try to attack the window. Since the attack behavior occurs during nesting season treatment noted below may be removed once the season has passed.
Another issue is clear line of sight. If you look through a problem window in your house and you can see a clear path through to another window then it is likely a bird will think it can fly through.
There are several ways to address issues with specific problem windows that may be experiencing bird strikes:
- Installation of window films that mute reflectivity while allowing clear views from inside
- Hanging closely space decals or window clings inside of a window
- Keeping blinds or sheer curtains closed or partially closed
- Avoid hanging houseplants
- Placing bird feeders and bird baths at least 15 feet away from the house
The American Bird Conservancy provides additional information on these issues at their website.