Birds of Wisconsin: Welcome-Resources for Users

Wisconsin bird resources organized for a middle school language class.

Using this Research Guide

This guide is intended to assist middle school language students in research native birds of Wisconsin.  The guide provides links and resources about birds and related subjects sorted into two separate category groupings.  The top row of page tabs has information and resources sorted by type of resource.  The bottom row of page tabs has the information and resources categorized into general bird groups.

Please click on the tabs across the top of this page to go to different collections of resources. Watch the videos, use the interactive sites, read the articles and see what books are available about birds.  The welcome page has a number of sections that can help simplify and improve your information seeking efforts.  Use the Google custom searches will search through only the sites that are part of the research guide to focus on sites that have already been determined to be useful for your research. 

Bird Search: Google Custom Search


This google custom search engine is designed to search websites and resources from this research guide for information you can use. It does not search the entire Internet, forcing you to many extra results.

Key Institutions That Are Essential Resources

Additional Essential Resources

National Geographic Interactive Bird Puzzles

Christmas Bird Count-Helping the Audubon Society Help Birds

Participants in the Christmas Bird Count

Used by permission of the National Audubon Society.  Copyright 2010 by National Audubon Society, Inc.

Bird Identification Basics

Video used by permission of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "Lab of Ornithology Channel"

Effective Searching



Using useful searching methods is important for any research, whether you are gathering information from this research guide, through an Internet search, in a library catalog, or as part of a searcheable database such as Badgerlink.   Using the tips and techniques below when you search for information will help you find useful results and make good use of your time. 

1.     Form your research question.  Decide what your topic is and then question what about the topic you are searching for.

a-topic (the bird you are researching)

b-what you’re looking for (check the project instructions and your teacher to determine   what is expected of you)

c-combine the information from a and b into a question to guide your searches.


2.     Picking keywords to search: Break down your question to determine key terms to use as keywords or subjects for your searches.

a. example- What habitat and foods do mourning doves prefer?

b. Develop your keyword list by thinking of synonyms and alternate terms for the keywords in your research question.

 *habitat-environment, cover, vegetation, ecosystem, region

 *foods-diet, nutrition, food, plants, seeds, insects,

*mourning doves-mourning dove, dove, doves, dove family name-Columbidae, species name-Zenaida Macroura


       3. Beginning your search: Don’t limit yourself to the plan of “I’ll just google it.”  Checkout                  the variety of resources available by using this guide.  Listed below are just a few

            examples of resources to utilize:

Library Catalogs-Search the OPAC catalog for the school library on a computer workstation in the library and the MORE Online catalog that offers books from dozens of libraries that can all be picked up at Plum City’s Public Library.

Searcheable Resources on the Guide:, the Google Custom Search Engine, and a number of the websites (check the Key Resources List on this page) are excellent starting points to find background information to guide your research even further.

Databases:  Badgerlink, ipl2, EBSCO, and other databases offer access to many articles and resources that are not available through Internet search engines such as Google.

Keyword Searches

Picking keywords (see search tips above) is just one part of effective searching.    A Boolean search, where you use descriptor words such as: “and” or “or”… to narrow or combine search results 

“And”-Here are examples of keywords to combine with the bird you are researching by using the word “and”:

environment, vegetation, climate, diet, food, nutrition, size, color, range, nesting, predators, threats, flight, call,

            Example-Search:  robin and food

OR”- If you are not finding a lot of results with one keyword you may combine a search with two keywords using the word “or” to include any results for either one of the search terms.  See the example below:

            Example-Search:  pheasant or game bird

Library Subject Headings

Here are examples of subject headings to search in library catalogs, databases, and even search engines that may provide good results for your research.  As you search look at the other subjects that books and resources are organized under, write them down, and try searching under those subjects to find additional information.

Common names of birds- examples-loon, eagle, chickadee

Scientific names of birds/bird groups: examples-galliformes, falconiformes, piciformes

Common bird group names: examples-shore birds, birds of prey, songbirds

Subject strings: examples-

birds—North America







birds—field guide





US Fish & Wildlife Service Lists Birds of Concern