[CT Birds] bobolink project

Chris Elphick elphick at sbcglobal.net
Mon Mar 23 20:01:54 EDT 2015

Hi everyone,
Some of you might have heard about the Bobolink Project, run by UConn environmental economist Steve Swallow.  I've posted about it before, and Steve had a booth at the COA meeting this past weekend.  The project is exploring innovative ways to fund conservation of grassland birds and as a result is both creating suitable nesting habitat and trying to understand how we can find new ways to fund conservation - something that is desperately needed as current mechanisms are not coming close to achieving what is needed to prevent continued declines.  If you're intrigued to learn more, or to help out, please read the note from Steve below, or visit the web site: http://www.bobolinkproject.com/
Note, although I work with Steve, I am not directly involved with this project myself.
Chris   Chris Elphick @ssts
Storrs, CT
elphick at sbcglobal.net
  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 decline 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 project is a collaboration between University of Connecticut and University of Vermont. 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 several 10-acre hayfields in Addison and Chittenden Counties for bobolinks and other wildlife. The amount of acreage depends on the value of pledges received by the end of April. Your support can create safe habitat for birds nesting in Vermont's working hayfields.  100% of the money pledged goes directly to Vermont farmers.

Last year Bobolink Project supporters warmly welcomed our birds to over 340 acres of hay fields (up from 200 acres in 2013!!) from over 950 acres that farmland owners had offered in Vermont, helping farmers provide safe nesting habitat. While our success grew, we were unable to include 610 available acres of quality habit, because farmers just cannot do this alone.
The birds are heading North soon, and we 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 pledge can be found at www.bobolinkproject.com/participate.php. Feel free to contact Prof. Stephen Swallow (at stephen.swallow at uconn.edu) if you have any questions.


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