These adorable little bobolink nestlings were brought in to Avian Haven Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center this morning after being found in a field that was being mowed.
Landowners please take note: This week is a critical week for our bobolink nestlings! It is very likely that many young bobolinks will be fledging from their ground nests in fields by the end of this week, so for people managing hayfields, if it is possible to leave as yet un-mowed fields standing for the rest of the week, it could make all the difference for bobolink nestling survival!
Bobolinks are an iconic sight and sound each spring in the fields and meadows of Maine. They are known for their joyous, bubbling song. Unfortunately, the population of these beautiful and beneficial birds has been in a steady and precipitous decline for decades. The bobolink appears on the State of the Birds 2014 Watchlist of bird species most in need of conservation action. Here in Maine, the reason there is habitat for these birds at all is because of our farms and agricultural landscape. However, to optimize forage quality, most hayfields are cut at least once during the nesting timeframe (June – mid July), which results in total nest failure, a pattern that plays out across the northeast each summer. This year a wonderful group of farmers across central Maine has been working with The Somerset County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Ag Allies project to delay mowing on some productive bobolink fields from Starks to Damariscotta. For these farmers to make room in their already complex forage management programs is nothing short of inspirational. We as a society need to recognize and support these local farmers who are not only providing us with quality food and fiber, but also with conservation and maintenance of critical habitat for our birds and other wildlife.
Stay tuned for more information on our farmers and landowners that were part of the Ag Allies program this year. Meantime, you can learn more about the program at our Ag Allies tab of the web page.