“More Birders Than Ever”: County Parks Earn Status as Important Bird Area

Rita Flores Wiskowski, Brian Russart and Emilie Burmeister in front of an acre of prairie planted to provide additional habitat for birds and other creatures. (WPR photo)

Check out this story from WUWM on the Milwaukee County Parks earning status as a Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative Important Bird Area — and what that means for Grant Park. From it …

Milwaukee County Parks joins 92 other IBA sites in Wisconsin. There are 2,832 around the United States and 12,000 around the world.

His team of four, including Russart, manages 10,000 acres of natural park areas. Russart says without the help of volunteers their work would be impossible. Rita Flores Wiskowski, of South Milwaukee, is one of those volunteers. She’s kept track of a lot of birds in Grant Park.

“This spring I spent a lot of time at the tennis court pond, and it had the prothonotary warbler, the hooded warbler … so it ended up being this great little spot that nobody else was flocking to,” Wiskowski says.

IBA isn’t simply for the birds. It’s about engaging the public in the conservation effort. Volunteer Rita Flores Wiskowski says she takes a people-centric approach.

“When I’ve come here this spring, there were more birders in this park than I’ve ever seen in the spring from all over Wisconsin. So, that’s a really cool thing to have in our county to bring people in to enjoy our parks. I think people are as important as nature,” Wiskowski says.

Of course, Rita has also led efforts to have South Milwaukee declared a Bird City the past couple of years. Thanks, Rita, for helping get our city recognized as a birder’s paradise. Let’s tell the world!


Filed under South Milwaukee

3 responses to ““More Birders Than Ever”: County Parks Earn Status as Important Bird Area

  1. SM Guy

    Great job Rita! I really love watching the wild bird come through the neighborhood.

    It is such a disappointment that so many of our fellow citizens are actively working against it though. If you go on any of the local social media pages, you’ll see posts about someone finding a stray dog. People immediately try to catch the dog, the SMPD comes and pick it up, and Animal Control tries to find the owner. Unfortunately, for stray predators of birds, people just put out milk for them and post a pic, all the while allowing Bird City to be hunted. And don’t get me started about those that think that their own predators should be allowed to roam the neighborhood because “they don’t like to be locked in the house or in the yard”.

  2. Cory

    What ever happened with South Milwaukee developing a city park by the lakefront?

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