Marquette County received the official designation of Bird City at last week’s county board meeting. The award was presented to County Board Chair Paul Wade and Muirland Bird Club President Daryl Christensen by Carl Schwartz, coordinator of Bird City Wisconsin and vice president of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. Counties may apply for the Bird City designation if they can show county wide efforts to meet the criteria. Marquette County joins Taylor and Brown as Wisconsin counties to earn this award among a total of 50 Bird City communities around the state. (Photo by Kathleen McGwin).
Marquette County designated Bird City
Marquette County designated Bird City
By Kathleen McGwin
Marquette County received the official designation of Bird City at last week’s county board meeting. The award was presented by Carl Schwartz, coordinator of Bird City Wisconsin and vice president of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. Counties may apply for the Bird City designation if they can show county wide efforts to meet the criteria. Marquette County joins Taylor and Brown as Wisconsin counties to earn this award among a total of 50 Bird City communities around the state.
Schwartz congratulated Marquette County for exceeding requirements by meeting 10 out of 22 criteria in their application. Only seven are required to meet the Bird City standards. Among the criteria met by the county that Schwartz noted were the presence of Muirland Bird Club, citizen participation in multiple bird counts, activities during International Migratory Bird Celebration, and education on reducing window strike bird deaths. He also praised the work of Marquette County resident Daryl Christensen who has lead restoration efforts for Forster’s Terns, among other bird preservation activities over many years.
The presentation at the county board meeting also included the Marquette County Libraries and Calico Capers Quilt Guild. In a collaboration of efforts, these organizations contributed to achieving the Bird City designation and making this year’s International Migratory Bird Celebration special. Library directors Marie Boleman from Westfield, Candy Covington from Packwaukee, and Roxie Novak from Endeavor represented all six county libraries and handed out origami cranes to each county board member and citizens present at the meeting. The cranes were folded by numerous library visitors and other citizens during the month of May to achieve over a 1,000 paper crane count.
Calico Capers Quilt Guild chose the creation of a Marquette County bird quilt for one of their projects this year. Quilting members of the guild made 15 pieced bird quilt blocks that were sewn together to make the special quilt. They created a bald eagle, belted kingfisher, Canada goose, blue jay, wren, chickadee, cardinal, red headed woodpecker, great horned owl, loon, goldfinch, mallard and hummingbird to adorn the quilt. The quilt will be hung, along with the frame Bird City certificate, in the Marquette County courthouse hall outside of the Register of Deeds and County Clerk.
With its designation came two outdoor signs and a flag with the Bird City insignia. The signs hang on the Marquette County sign on the courthouse lawn and at the John Muir wayside on Highway 22 south of Montello. The flag flies at Krakow Park in Montello. Marquette County can purchase more signs and Towns, Villages, and businesses can contact Pat Kilbey, Land and Water Conservationist who leads the Rural Planning and Parks Committee of the county board, if they wish to purchase a sign for their location. His number is 608-296-2815.
Bird City Wisconsin is coordinated by a coalition led by the Milwaukee Audubon Society, the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative and the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology that wishes to ensure that Wisconsin citizens can enjoy healthy populations of birds and grow an appreciation for them, according to their website at www.birdcitywisconsin.org. The site says, “Bird City stresses the economic incentive for communities to practice conservation. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than half of all U.S. adults hunt, fish, bird watch or photograph wildlife, spending a total of $59.5 billion annually.
Birds also are unheralded assistants to backyard gardeners, flower fanciers, private and municipal landscapers, farmers and foresters. Without birds, communities would have to spend far more money keeping natural systems in balance. Insect-eating birds reduce the need for chemical pest control. Birds also are voracious eaters of weed seeds and rodents.”
Marquette County is included in the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail, which can be viewed at www.wisconsinbirds.org/trail. There are also birding locations described by Daryl Christensen on a map included in the book Muir is Still Here, written during the Year of John Muir in Marquette County and available at www.kathleenmcgwin.com or at the Marquette County Historical Society in Westfield. The Bird City designation is recognition of the great habitat available in Marquette County, all of the birding opportunities here as well as the efforts residents and organizations take to preserve bird populations and teach others about birds.