Early Studies of Birds in the Preserve
At the University of Wisconsin, the study of birds began in 1903, focusing on bird behavior. Ornithology classes began in 1907. In 1909 groups met near Muir Knoll for weekly spring bird study walks, using opera glasses to see the birds. Bird banding began in 1925. By 1930 over 10,000 birds, mostly migrating Chimney Swifts, Juncos, and White-throated Sparrows, had been banded (C. Brown, 1930, Birds of the Campus).
An early experiment in Reintroduction: Yellow-headed Blackbird. Not all bird reintroductions efforts succeed. Between 1947 and 1949 Robert McCabe and James Hale tried to reintroduce Yellow-headed Blackbirds by placing transplanted Yellow-headed Blackbird eggs (40) and young (123) in the nests of 60 Red-winged Blackbirds at University Bay. Although 100 Yellow-headed Blackbirds fledged, only four juvenile males and no females returned. Although reintroduction efforts were unsuccessful, in the 1970s and early 1980s Yellow-headed Blackbirds spontaneously nested in the newly restored Class of 1918 Marsh, delighting bird watchers.