WPT's "In Wisconsin" Explores Wisconsin and Latin American Connections Formed to Save Migratory Birds

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March 2, 2011


For More Information:
Lynn Brockmeyer, WPT publicist, 608-263-3364, lynn.brockmeyer@wpt.org
Jo Garrett, WPT producer, 608-263-8586, joanne.garrett@wpt.org

Every spring and fall more than 240 species of birds travel to and through Wisconsin as they migrate between summer breeding grounds in the north and wintering grounds in Latin America.

Our Birds, An In Wisconsin Special, premiering 7 p.m. Thursday, March 17 on Wisconsin Public Television (WPT), explores the pressures these birds face during their migrations. Neotropical migratory birds, neo-trops, can fly more than 3,000 miles one way, and often arrive at their destination exhausted and in need of proper habitat. Find out how people in Wisconsin, Costa Rica and Panama are working to save these tiny travellers.

Craig Thompson, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources regional land program supervisor based in La Crosse, is pioneering a new model of bird conservation. In his free time, Thompson leads Wisconsinites on guided bird-watching trips in Costa Rica. The trips are offered at cost with the stipulation that each participant must donate $500 to a nonprofit organization to save winter bird habitat in Latin America.

Providing funds for bird habitat outside of Wisconsin to curb declining numbers of migratory birds is not an entirely new idea. For decades, Wisconsin game bird hunters have purchased waterfowl stamps. Funds from these stamp sales are used to purchase habitat for waterfowl in their northern breeding grounds in Canada.

Our Birds also explores how the work of researcher Amber Roth in Vilas County is addressing environmental concerns that may help provide a new market for Wisconsin’s loggers, a bio-fuel source for energy, and habitat for migratory bird species like the threatened Golden-winged Warbler.

Viewers will meet Wisconsin Humane Society Wildlife Manager Scott Diehl who manages the largest wildlife rehabilitation center in the state. Discover what he and his team are doing in Milwaukee to save the millions of migratory birds that die or sustain injuries in collisions with windows.

Funding for Our Birds, An In Wisconsin Special is provided by Alliant Energy, and Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery Specialists LLC of Milwaukee, Oshkosh and Minneapolis. Additional funding is provided by the Paul E. Stry Foundation of La Crosse and Friends of Wisconsin Public Television.

WPT is a service of the Educational Communications Board and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Wisconsin Public Television is a place to grow through learning on WHA-TV, Madison; WPNE-TV, Green Bay; WHRM-TV, Wausau; WLEF-TV, Park Falls; WHLA-TV, La Crosse; and WHWC-TV, Menomonie-Eau Claire.

Editor's note: An image is available by e-mailing Lynn Brockmeyer at lynn.brockmeyer@wpt.org.