Which bird's song is a burst of tweets and twitters that sound like R2D2 from "Star Wars" movie fame? It is the bobolink and after wintering in Argentina, these small, songful birds have returned to nest in Vermont's high grasses.
In this month's episode of Outdoor Radio, biologists Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra visit a farm in South Woodstock which serves as the bobolink's breeding grounds.
Bobolinks are mostly black in color with yellow skull caps. They rely on our state's many prairie-like pastures and hay fields to bear and fledge their young.
Luckily, these birds are still plentiful across the country but their numbers are declining. Factors like increased planting and harvesting and more frequent mowing of hay fields disrupts their habitat.
Also in this podcast, learn about a program from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies which works with and compensates some local farmers and landowners. The program encourages more flexible field-mowing so the boblinks can nest in the high grasses.
Find more about similar nesting birds in this VPR story from last year and at these sites:
- View a live map of all the bobolink sightings this summer in Vermont - a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life.
- See results of Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas here.
- Learn more about bobolinks from All About Birds guide.
- Learn more about grassland bird research and conservation at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.
- Watch the PBS special, "Plight of Grassland Birds" with Willem Lange.
- Find a brochure of grassland bird conservation in New England.
Outdoor Radio is produced in collaboration with the Vermont Center For Ecostudies.