7 Birds to Watch for in Wisconsin

Thinking of taking up bird watching? Here are a few to watch for in our area.

RECOMMENDATIONS BY CHARLES HAGNER, director of Bird City Wisconsin and author of American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin (Scott & Nix, November 2019).

Black Tern  

Nests in colonies in shallow marshes and ponds. Spot them in Vernon Marsh, Waukesha County.

Photograph of Black Tern by Robert Pruner



Bank Swallow 

Nests in burrows in steep bluffs and river banks. Colonies in Cudahy’s Warnimont and Sheridan parks are home to more than 100.

Photograph of Black Swallow by Julio Mulero

Eastern Meadowlark 

A beautiful singer, perches on fence posts, found in grasslands. Visit Mequon Nature Preserve, Havenwoods State Forest and Forest Beach Migratory Preserve.

Photograph of Eastern Meadowlark by Doug Greenberg

Baltimore Oriole 

Bright orange songbirds with distinctive hanging nests. Look for them in tall deciduous trees in Kletzsch, Lincoln, Riverside, Lake, Whitnall, Warnimont and Grant parks.

Photograph of Baltimore Oriole by Kevin Revolinski

Purple Martin 

Seasonal residents from South America that nest in specially made houses. See a colony at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve.

Photograph of Purple Martin by Andre Reding

Great Blue Heron 

North America’s largest heron, common along rivers. See them hunt along the Milwaukee and Menomonee rivers and in Washington Park.

Photograph Great Blue Heron by Andy Morfew


39 species of these colorful and varied birds have been recorded in Milwaukee County. Check Whitnall Park, Wehr Nature Center and Fox River Sanctuary.

Photograph of Warbler by Kevin Revolinski

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s June/July issue

Find it on newsstands or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop

Be the first to get every new issue. Subscribe.