The Village of Ephraim and Peninsula State Park have partnered to gain Bird City recognition. Bird City (www.birdcitywisconsin.org) promotes avian conservation.
This new Wisconsin initiative challenges municipalities and their neighbors to protect bird habitat, manage for invasive species that degrade nesting sites, engage citizens in International Migratory Bird Day in May, and educate the public about dangers posed by feral cats.
Bird City status recognizes the importance of Peninsula and Ephraim as a migration corridor, as Wisconsin Great Birding Trail destinations, and as places attractive to eco-tourists. Watch for future announcements about special bird-themed programs planned in 2012.
“The people who fought to establish Peninsula knew it was an irreplaceable landscape,” said Peninsula Naturalist Kathleen Harris, who worked on the Bird City application with the Ephraim Business Council’s Tourism Administrator Rachel Willems and Ephraim Trustee Steve Sauter. “Some of those people were Ephraim residents and along the way they set aside wonderful gems in their own village.”
Though Peninsula State Park safeguards 3,775 acres, Ephraim’s smaller holdings are just as compelling. The Ephraim Preserve at Anderson Pond is a 27-acre Door County Land Trust property. Ephraim resident Susan Peterson has documented 31 nesting species along the site’s ancient beach ridge and wooded bluffs. Another interesting area is the Ephraim Wetlands Preserve located south of the village. A quiet hike through this site’s maze of boardwalks delivers sightings of migrating song sparrows in May, the “teacher-teacher-teacher” sound of the red-eyed vireo, and (if you’re very, very lucky) a glimpse of a different kind of flying jewel, the endangered Hines emerald dragonfly documented here several years ago. This site was saved from development nearly two decades ago. Stumps of slashed cedar trees are still visible.
Of course, it’s the shoreline that residents and visitors can’t get enough of; nor can the birds. It’s a cinch to spot mallards and ring-billed gulls. Bring along binoculars and you’ll see much more. Until Green Bay freezes over, you can also catch a glimpse of buffleheads and goldeneye ducks paddle offshore. Come summer, Bonaparte gulls may stopover in the water across from Wilson’s Restaurant. Killdeer stick around all summer while other shorebirds, such as the least sandpiper, skitter across the sand flats, poking longish bills in search of snails before journeying further north.
“The Ephraim Business Council thanks the Village of Ephraim, Peninsula State Park and community members for their partnership in gaining Bird City designation for Ephraim,” said Willems. “The park is an asset to our community. This designation compliments the diverse offerings of the village and we hope it opens doors to future collaboration.”
To find out more about best places to bird in Peninsula State Park call the Nature Center at 920-854-5976. For directions to birding areas in Ephraim, contact the Ephraim Visitor Information Center at 920-854-4989 or visit www.Ephraim-DoorCounty.com. Bird sightings are routinely posted at the Friends of Peninsula State Park facebook site, too.