Bobolink nestlings Maeve McGowan

Kennebec Estuary Land Trust and Ag Allies have announced a partnership to protect Maine’s grassland birds.

Through funding from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, next spring the land trust and Ag Allies will provide technical and financial support to farmers and landowners interested in protecting Bobolinks and other grassland birds.

According to the trust, the collaboration provides resources and guidance for preserving nesting habitat in hayed and grazed fields, improving soil and field quality and managing invasive species.

“Given the conservation needs of our grassland birds, owners and managers of fields with even one or two nesting pairs can make a significant difference by preserving some habitat through the nesting season,” Ag Allies Program Manager Laura Lecker said in a news release. “This new partnership between KELT and Ag Allies aims to help farmers do just that.”

According to the trust, the migratory Bobolink and other grassland species are in danger due to habitat loss and intensified agriculture. Since 1966, Bobolinks have faced a cumulative decline of 65%. To stabilize and reverse this trend, protecting Bobolinks and their habitat during breeding season is particularly important.

Grassland birds nest in active agricultural fields. Disruption by farming equipment, grazing livestock or humans during the breeding season results in nests being destroyed, contributing to population decline, according to the trust. The trust states that managing hayfields for both commercial harvesting and for grassland bird conservation can be both practical and productive, benefitting birds and farmers.

Those who own or manage property that supports grassland birds and those who want to learn more about Ag Allies may contact email [email protected] or [email protected]

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