Town of Rome “Sustains Flight” as a Bird City

Photograph by Catherine Minter: Oriole on Lake Sherwood

Photograph by Catherine Minter: Oriole on Lake Sherwood

Rome — Visit Rome, WI is excited to announce that the Town of Rome has once again achieved “Sustained Flight” status in the Bird City Wisconsin Program. In 2016, the Town of Rome became the 96th community in the state to officially be recognized as a Bird City. Since 2016, Rome has annually submitted applications and received acceptance for Bird City Renewal. With this 2019 Membership Renewal, Rome joins more than 100 Bird City Wisconsin communities.  

Bird City Wisconsin was established in 2009. The program recognizes municipalities for the conservation and education activities that they undertake to make their communities healthier for birds and people. To receive a Bird City title, a community must meet criteria spread across six categories: habitat creation and protection, community forest management, limiting threats to birds, education, energy and sustainability, and the official recognition and celebration of World Migratory Bird Day.

The Town of Rome boasts one of the most distinctive habitats for birding in Wisconsin. Once the bed of a glacial lake, Rome’s landscape is made up of sand barrens and rolling pines. “Pine barrens are a globally rare type of savanna that support many other rare or declining plant and animal species, including the state endangered sand violet and the federally endangered Karner Blue Butterfly” (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2018). Due to this unique topography, Rome is the home of many bird species including the endangered Kirtland Warblers, Whooping Cranes, Bald Eagles, Clay Colored Sparrows, and many more.

In Rome, Sand Valley is committed to conserving the land around them. One of their focuses is to restore native plant communities on property that existed prior to European contact. At Sand Valley, the Songbird Trail (a 1.2 mile hiking trail) has 20 nesting boxes, the Ridge Trail (a 3 mile hiking trail) has 13 nesting boxes, and 7 nesting boxes are located in one of the restoration areas. In 2018, the 40 bluebird boxes were monitored weekly and produced a total of 189 songbirds (98 Tree Swallows, 75 Eastern Bluebirds, 11 House Wrens, and 5 Black-capped Chickadees).

Sand Valley’s Field and Operations Manager, Chelsea Sorbo, shares: “The data collected by our volunteers is turned into the Bluebird Restoration of Wisconsin (BRAW) and then combined with statewide data that provides value statistics on the health of the birds on a large scale. This program provides a wonderful opportunity to see the entire life cycle of these songbirds while also helping to increase the production of the Eastern Bluebird and other native cavity-nesting birds in Rome, Wisconsin.”

For more information about birding opportunities in Rome, visit the Visit Rome Bird City Landing Page (https://www.visitromewi.com/bird-watching) or the Town of Rome’s Bird Information Page (https://townofrome.com/community/bird-information/).

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