Migrating Birds Visit Wingra

Lake Wingra Monitoring Volunteers Update – April 17, 2019

Figure 1. Bonaparte Gull catching a fish.

Birds migrating north are beginning to stop over in Lake Wingra.  We recently had the fun of watching a flock of migrating Bonparte’s Gulls diving into the lake to catch fish (Figure 1). Most of the time they were feeding in the pool below the dam and before the bridge (Figure 2 and 3).  

Figure 2. Bonaparte Gulls flying over pool below dam.
Figure 3. Bonaparte Gulls flying over pool below dam

It is one of the smallest gulls in North America.  They spend the winter in coastal areas and head north to breed in the taiga and boreal forest of Alaska and Canada.  It is the only gull that nests in trees (Figure 4).  We hope their stop over in Lake Wingra helps fuel their journey north. 

To learn more click on the links below. We want to thank Stephanie Peterson with the Arboretum and Carolyn Byers with the Audubon Society for helping with the identification of the gull.

During our walk along the lake we also saw our first migrating Loon and we think we saw a couple of Pied-billed Grebes.  We encourage you to enrich your experiences this spring by spending some time observing the variety of wildlife on our lake.

Figure 4. Bonaparte resting in a tree.

Bonaparte’s Gull.   https://ebird.org/wi/species/bongul/US-WI-02

Figures 1-3 by Roger Bannerman