Benjamin F. Goss Bird Club
Waukesha, WI

The Benjamin F. Goss Bird Club was founded to increase knowledge and appreciation of birds through education, research, preservation and conservation, and to provide public awareness of birds and their role in the environment - all of which remains our goal and purpose to this day.


All events are open to the general public.

Unless otherwise noted, events are held Retzer Nature Center, S14 W28167 Madison Street, Waukesha
(Retzer Nature Center is located about 4 miles west of Waukesha, near the end of Madison Street)

March 18, 2018


Program: Bio Blitz - A 24 Hour Nature Party
Speaker: Ellen Censky - Milwaukee Public Museum
Senior Vice President, Academic Dean

Birds are just part of the natural equation that makes up an ecosystem. Plants, insects, fish, mammals and other organisms are also present, and they all interact. To survey an area to find out all of the organisms that are present could take years of study and research. But not if you gather experts from every biological field in one place for one day and no one sleeps! You might think that's a crazy idea, but that's exactly the what happens during a BioBlitz.

The first bioblitz was held in the 1990s in Washington DC, and since then many organizations, including the Milwaukee Public Museum have begun hosting bioblitzes around the world. In June 2017 the Goss Bird Club was graciously invited to take part in the 24-hour nature party that was the MPM BioBlitz at Fox River Park ( Organized and sponsored by the MPM, we surveyed the birds of Fox River Park, while other professional biologists surveyed the fish, frogs, flora, and fauna of the park. In total ,1022 species were documented including many rarities that were not expected in the area.

Dr. Ellen Censky is the Senior VP and academic dean at the Milwaukee Public Museum where she overseas research, collections, exhibits, registration, conservation, library, and exhibit maintenance. She has 40 years of museum experience, has been involved in biological research throughout the US and internationally, and has authored more than 50 scientific papers and three books. As a champion of sustainability, she heads MPM’s Green Team, which was instrumental in developing the Museum’s Green Policy and Plan, green roof, solar panels, and several upgrades to lighting in the Museum. She was a founding developer of the bioblitz which has now been conducted by organizations around the world. Since she returned to Milwaukee in 2008, has organized several bioblitzes in Wisconsin including last year's in Waukesha.

April 15, 2018


Program: Getting to Know Wood Warblers
Speaker: Bill Volkert

North American wood warblers are a very diverse and colorful group of birds. Commonly referred to as the "jewels of the bird world", the warblers comprise more than 35 different species that can be found in Wisconsin. Their small size, restless activity, and their brief stay during migration make them a challenge to learn and an annual phenomenon to anticipate. Come visit and learn some great tips and tricks for identifying these little jewels!

Bill Volkert was the naturalist and wildlife educator for the DNR at Horicon Marsh for 27 years, where his audiences included 66 delegations of scientists from 43 countries who came for professional training. Outside of his work for the DNR he has traveled widely in search of the world's birds and the wild places they inhabit, having sighted over 3600 species (that’s 1/3 of the world’s birds!). His travels have taken him throughout Central and South America, across the Canadian Arctic, to Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Borneo, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and Mongolia.

Bill and his wife Connie make their home in the northern Kettle Moraine area where they work to restore and manage a series of native habitats on which they have identified more than 600 species of plants and animals, including 203 species of birds.

May 12, 2018

Special Event: MAY COUNT

Our May Count is conducted within the same circle as our CBC. The count is conducted as a 24 hour event, from midnight to midnight, finding as many species as possible. To join the count, check in with Spence to see which sections need help.