Superior named Bird CityMADISON — The city of Superior’s waters and woodlands, and a commitment to preserving them, helped it earn Bird City status last week from the Department of Natural Resources.
By: Kevin Murphy/For the Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
MADISON — The city of Superior’s waters and woodlands, and a commitment to preserving them, helped it earn Bird City status last week from the Department of Natural Resources.
For two decades, the city has protected its 4,428-acre Municipal Forest and the 229-acre Wisconsin Point from development. Combining habitat with educational programs qualified Superior as one of the state’s 73 bird-friendly communities.
Jan Conley, a former Superior teacher who helped prepare the Bird City application, noted the Lake Superior shoreline, the St. Louis River estuary, and the city’s forests, nearby Pattison State Park and open areas as prime bird habitat.
You’ll find rare species of gulls that stay at Wisconsin Point beach for weeks, thousands of ducks on the Superior Bay in April, and we have lots of water that attracts bird and open space as well,” she said.
Conley credited recently deceased City Councilor Bob Browne for coming up with idea and advancing the application. She said he was “really invested and helpful,” in the process.
Birds can have an economic impact on a community beyond their aesthetic value said Conley.
“Birdwatchers outnumber golfers, and they spend millions (of dollars) on equipment, travel and accommodations as they pursue birds,” she said.
Being named a Bird City would be helpful in getting the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology to hold an annual conference in Superior.
The WSO already holds Jaegerfest annually on Wisconsin Point in September and invites members to make reservations for the event.
A Superior Rotary club has expressed interest in assisting with the International Migratory Bird Day next May, she said.
Conley called herself a “serious birder,” and was watching a hummingbird at her Lake Nebagamon residence while speaking with a reporter.
Superior City Forester Mary Morgan wasn’t a “birder” but said she became more appreciative of the hobby after completing the Bird City application and taking part in a bird count for the Audubon Society last December.
“I found that finding birds during the Christmas Bird Count to be riveting. It’s helpful to go with someone knowledgeable…but it’s really fun to find out how many bird actually are around at Christmas,” she said.
Conley said bird watching can be an intellectual experience with detective aspects as you look for identifying head, tail or wing markings to determine which bird you are observing.
“You can appreciate flowers but they don’t move. Birds have behavior, which makes them very interesting,” she said.
The city has information on its website to decrease bird predation by feral cats and how to prevent birds from flying into windows, phenomena that kills millions of birds annually, said Conley.
The Bird City signs will be installed near the entrances to the city probably near the Tree City signs that have been up since 1999, said Morgan.
She hopes the Bird City status enhances appreciation not only for birds, but the habitat they need.