E-Birding at Three NWLT Property Hot Spots

By Frank Schroyer, Conservation Associate

Beaver Creek Hemlocks Conservation AreaHolmboe Conifer Forest, and Marshall Wildlife Conservation Area are three great locations to go birding out of the all of the properties that the Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) owns and manages. NWLT has designated these three locations as official eBird ‘hotspots,’ or areas that are particularly rich with bird life.  As a result, more people can enjoy these natural areas and help NWLT build its knowledge and inform management decisions through growing species lists.

Citizen science has blossomed in recent years partly thanks to some incredible advancements made to technology. Arguably, the most popular advancement has been eBird. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the developer of eBird, “Our goal is to gather information in the form of checklists of birds, archive it, and freely share it to power new data-driven approaches to science, conservation and education.”

Fortunately for bird nerds, eBird is free, and is an excellent way for one to track their sightings. All checklists then become pieces of data within eBird that is available for scientists across the globe to utilize and advance our knowledge of birds. Data is used to maintain range maps for species, update taxonomy, inform conservation efforts, and much more.

An eBird ‘hotspot’ is a geographic location that can be found on the eBird website, and each pin on the map varies in color based on how many species of bird have been documented there. If there is a place that has many species that isn’t on the map you can request it be added to eBird as a hotspot. For a land trust, adding properties to eBird as hotspots can help to increase the visibility of certain properties. It will also serve as a tool to better understand how our region is changing as our climate warms and development increases, affecting the timing of bird migrations and availability of suitable habitat.

As it stands today, Beaver Creek Hemlocks has the most documented species at 112 (36 checklists). Holmboe Conifer Forest comes in a close second with 102 species (83 checklists), and Marshall Wildlife Area a distant third with only 21 (3 checklists). All three locations have hiking trails that are open to the public. If you decide to visit any of these three conservation areas, consider downloading eBird to your phone beforehand and keep a list of the birds you find! By recording what you see you’re assisting NWLT by helping us better document the avifauna at our properties.


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