As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 28 June 2018

Maine farm under fire after nesting fields for declining bird species gets mowed over

Abigail Curtis
This time of year, two familiar sounds seem to signal the arrival of summer.
One is the reassuring thrum of a tractor’s engine as farmers mow their sweet-smelling hayfields. The other is the bubbling, lyrical song of the bobolink, a small grassland bird with a shrinking population that is known for its cheerful plumage and captivating voice.
But put them too close together, and the bobolink and the tractor sound more like disaster. Just ask scores of ardent bird lovers who have registered their dismay that a farmer last weekend mowed large open fields at the Hart Farm in Holden, a historical dairy farm that was purchased last year by the Holden Land Trust.
Bobolinks are known to nest there, and a few of the birders had asked land trust officials if the mowing could be delayed so that the chicks would have a better chance of survival. But the farmer leasing the land needed to make sure that the hay he cut had sufficient nutrients to feed his herd of dairy cows and couldn’t wait, according to Betty Jamison, a board member of the land trust.
“We did not go out to kill off the bobolinks — it’s just a hard balance,” she said this week. “The farmer knew the bobolinks were an issue, but there’s not much you can do about it. These have been hayed fields for years. There are other wildlife that can be damaged in mowing a field. It’s a balancing act between trying to keep habitats and to preserve farming in this area.”

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