Backyard Bird Walk Exhibit Unveiled

Posted Date

August 2, 2023


Education, In The News

A unique new exhibit at the Zoo has been more than four years in the making — and after pandemic-related delays, it’s now open for guests to enjoy. The Backyard Bird Walk exhibit, located in the Northwestern Mutual Family Farm behind the Dairy Barn, serves as an oasis for Zoo guests, while educating them on how they can support native species at home.

The space features a looping walking path with numerous “stations” that guests can explore, built by a team of contributors:

  • A display of different types of nesting boxes, including boxes for bats, purple martin birds, and more —because different species prefer different houses.
  • A pergola with a variety of feeders — because different types of feeders attract different birds. Some birds may choose to eat seeds, and some may choose suet, for example.
  • Fruit trees, including plum and cherry, that were freshly-planted by the Zoo’s Horticulture department to help attract pollinators.
  • A “bug house” — a place for native insects to live, nest, and eat, while supplying native birds with a nutritious meal. A nearby brush pile also serves the same purpose.
  • Native flowers and plants, including goldenrod and bee balm — ideal for pollinators. These lush new additions were recently planted by interns from the Zoological Society of Milwaukee and a master gardener.
  • Window treatment options to help prevent bird strikes. Window collisions are a leading cause of bird deaths, and simple products like screens, stripe patterns, hanging parachute cords, and more help make your windows bird-safe.
  • Newly-crafted picnic tables.


In 2019, the Zoo’s curator of birds, Alex Waier, launched the efforts to build the new exhibit, and several troops from the local Three Harbors Council of the Boy Scouts of America participated and left their mark on the project over the years as well. To prepare the Backyard Bird Walk, Scouts also helped create the trail throughout, as well as remove several ash trees. In fact, nearly every aspect of the exhibit was part of a Scout’s service project.

An unused space that’s now been reclaimed and is publicly accessible, the Backyard Bird Walk invites Zoo guests to be inspired to become conservationists in their own backyards. Guests can discover easy ways to support migratory birds and native pollinators, help prevent bird strikes, and more, all at home.

Native plants — native insects — native birds: They’re all connected!

For faster entry: Members and pre-ticketed guests, park at West End (enter at 106th St).