Dear VT Birders,
We are pleased to announce that as a result of our success over the past 3 years, The Bobolink Project is moving to become a regional effort with Audubon Vermont joining Mass Audubon and Audubon Connecticut in scaling up this conservation model to all three states.
As many of you know, grassland songbirds like Bobolinks, Upland Sandpipers, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Eastern Meadowlarks have all been showing steep, long-term population declines. In the Northeast, much of the population loss is a result of the decline of the agricultural industry, but the increased management intensity on remaining farm fields has also contributed. Because of changes in the structure of some of the federal conservation programs, it is getting harder and harder to provide incentives to farmers to use "bird-friendly" management practices.
These circumstances led to the creation of the Bobolink Project. The idea is that grassland bird habitat is something that we all value and who knows...might even pay for. We are working with farmers willing to delay mowing of hayfields until after the nesting season. We are hoping to protect hayfields in the Champlain Valley for bobolinks and other wildlife. The amount of acreage depends on the value of pledges received by 22 April. Your support can create safe habitat for birds nesting in Vermont's working hayfields.
Last year Bobolink Project supporters warmly welcomed our birds to over 530 acres of hay fields (up from 340 acres in 2014!!). These fields supported nearly 200 pairs of Bobolinks and fledged about 550 baby Bobolinks. We also had Eastern Meadowlarks on 3 fields, and a Northern Harrier nesting on one of our sites. Bobolinks will be heading north soon, and they hope we can cover even more acres this year - please help us avoid leaving available acres out of the pool of safe habitat. We can only increase our acreage if you join our mission or help spread the word or both. Information about the project and how to donate can be found at http://www.bobolinkproject.com/
You can also follow along with news from all three states on Facebook:
Feel free to contact me or Mark LaBarr [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> if you have any questions.