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Rare flycatcher, aging gyrfalcon seen

The tropical kingbird, a flycatcher that is extremely common in the American tropics but barely reaches the United States in Texas and Arizona, was reported by birders for the first time in Wisconsin in 2016. (Photo by Ryan Brady)

Wisconsin birders identified and reported more birds through eBird, an internationally popular online bird observation website, than birders from most other states and nations in 2016, according to the state's Department of Natural Resources.

In 2016, eBird gathered 1,406,422 observations in Wisconsin from 4,111 birders who submitted 110,807 checklists. The Wisconsin eBird site contains photos, interactive maps and write-ups sharing the highlights from the year.

eBird users recorded the first ever tropical kingbird in Wisconsin and documented a gyrfalcon in the Superior area that has set a longevity record for the species at 15 years and 8 months. Site submissions also helped bring hundreds of people to Trempealeau County in early 2016 to see a rare pinkish, greenish woodpecker more commonly found in western states.

"Wisconsin's citizens are some of the leading users of eBird and that's something to celebrate. I strongly encourage other recreational birders to give it a try and record their own sightings to help bird conservation," says Ryan Brady, Department of Natural Resources bird monitoring coordinator. "eBirding is fun, user friendly and the most simple form of avian citizen science you can participate in.You don't have to be an expert to do it."

eBird was launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society to maximize the utility and accessibility of the vast numbers of bird observations made each year by recreational and professional bird watchers.