Re: Bobolink question

Peter Doherty

Greetings. Please my tardy reply, Naomi. My farm in Sharon, Schoharie County hosts a large breeding population of Bobolinks. Some of the farm is enrolled in the LIP Grassland Bird Program administered by NYSDEC. The farm is on the rim of the Mohawk Valley (~1500') nearly to the Montgomery County line.
BOBO arrive historically at the farm on the Sunday after The Kentucky Derby--which is the 1st Saturday in May. This year a single male arrived on April 30th, the earliest observed arrival in 30+ years. Courtship flights and nest-building begin quickly thereafter. I have found nests with partial clutches during the last week in May, but I do not make a point of looking for them. They are difficult to find and easy to trample.
To answer your question, as of May 17th, I doubt that the mowing destroyed any nests with eggs in them. The interesting question is whether or not your BOBO will move to "suitable" habitat elsewhere to nest.
Under the LIP program, mowing is not allowed until after 15 August each year. Some fields are only mowed every other year. Hedgerows are also removed to eliminate predator edge use and to create grasslands of larger contiguous acreage. This spring much of the BOBO acreage was burned.
Should you like to view and hear hundreds of breeding BOBO you may drive to and park along some of my fields on Staleyville Road. The best views of BOBO can be had ~one mile after turning east on Staleyville off Route 10 just south of Sunnycrest Orchards in the Town of Sharon, Schoharie County. Staleyville makes a 90 degree turn at this point and there is a perfect spot to pull over at this spot. Bring a spotting scope along with your binoculars. Please do not walk into the fields nor let your dog off the leash.
It is a spectacle to behold. But, BOBO are on a tight annual schedule; Argentina beckons and they need to breed, raise their chicks and undergo a complete body and wing molt before their fall migration. Visit this month or very early in June.
Best, Peter

Peter Doherty

CC: naomi_kestrel@...; hmbirds@...
To: alanmapes@...
From: birderjory@...
Date: Fri, 17 May 2013 07:29:00 -0400
Subject: Re: [HMBirds] Bobolink question

Audubon is in alignment with Al.

Nonetheless If you google "Audubon mowing" there are some suggestions for farmers to lessen the impact of mowing.

Jory Langner

Sent from my iPhone

On May 17, 2013, at 6:49 AM, Alan Mapes <alanmapes@...> wrote:

My guess - they are paired, have built nests, and might even have some eggs
layed - but no young hatched yet. Unfortunately, getting the best nutrition
value from hay is not compatible with the nesting of most hay field birds.

Alan Mapes
New Scotland

On Fri, May 17, 2013 at 5:11 AM, Naomi Lloyd <naomi_kestrel@...>wrote:


Does any one know if Bobolinks are nesting already, or if they're still
forming pairs and setting up territory? I've been seeing them in my
neighbor's hayfield for a week or so, and he mowed the fields yesterday.
I'd hate to think the nests were lost. I know there's a suggested schedule
for haying to avoid disturbing nests, but unfortunately he's not very

Naomi Lloyd
West Sand Lake


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