Forest and wildlife ecology class identifies rare bird on weekend field trip

Forest and Wildlife Ecology 521: Birds of Southern Wisconsin includes a weekend field trip in addition to shorter trips during the regular weekly meetings. On Sunday, April 23, they visited Spring Green Preserve as part of an all-day trip spent along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway. As teaching assistants Ashley Olah and Ryan Buron guided students, they were stunned to see and identify a very rare bird for Wisconsin – a Painted Redstart.

The species is primarily found in Mexico with a breeding range that barely extends into the U.S. Olah and Buron alerted instructor Anna Pidgeon and the other teaching assistants. Pidgeon went out a few hours later and was able to relocate the bird and take photos.

The undergraduate students on the trip had quite the experience learning their birds and seeing firsthand how anything is possible during migration.