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Byline: Don Behm
Jan. 8--For 107 winters, ever since 14-year-old Alexander Wetmore spent his Christmas Day counting birds near North Freedom, hundreds of Wisconsin birders have been heading into the fields and woods to find out just what, exactly, is flying over Wisconsin.
Young Alexander later became known as the dean of American ornithologists and was appointed secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in 1945. At age 13 he had already published an essay on red-headed woodpeckers he had observed in Wisconsin.
This winter, as part of the 107th annual Christmas bird count from Dec. 14 to this past Friday, one group of bird counters covered some of the very land Wetmore did in 1900. And they didn't find a single red-headed woodpecker.
But what they did find there and in more than 100 other areas of the state is evidence that birds appear to be warming to Wisconsin's …