Bird-watching, bird-listening and local bird migration will be the subject of the first spring 2023 Love of Learning lecture on the UW-Platteville Richland campus. On Monday, March 13, at 7 p.m., bird enthusiast and lifelong birder Barbara Duerksen will speak of “Birds on the Move” in a free public presentation in the campus’ Pippin Conference Center.
Since moving to Wisconsin in 1974, Duerksen has been active in the local and statewide birding communities – participating in bird surveys for the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas, building and maintaining habitats on her farm, leading a team in the annual Great Wisconsin Birdathon, and – for over 35 years – coordinating the Annual Midwest Crane Count for Richland County. In 2018, in she was awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The talk will include pictures and song samples and will focus on local, observable migration through the cold months, as well as what to watch for as the weather warms.
“We’ll cover birds that are migrating, especially the water fowl and others passing through, and also some, like Juncos, little grey topped birds, that actually spend the winter in our area,” said Duerksen.
Duerksen will also discuss good local spots, away from our own backyards, for anyone to watch for and listen to birds, both native and migrating, and the many different ways people can get involved in the broader birding community. She also hopes her work can help people understand the challenges from habitat destruction, pollution and climate change birds are facing.
“We’ve lost 3 billion birds in North America since 1970,” said Duerksen, citing a 2019 report from the journal Science that calculated a 29% decrease in bird population. “That’s affecting all of us.”