Thu. Feb 29th, 2024
Bobo-what?  - Parks Blog

When Bobolinks are mentioned in mixed audiences, there are invariably heard chuckles, quizzical glances, and finally the question: “A bobo-what?”

Bobolinks are small songbirds in the same family as grackles and larks. The breeding male is most recognizable by its black body and white back with a beige spot on the nape of the neck.

They like tall grasses, uncut grasses and overgrown fields, making Bronte Creek Provincial Park the perfect habitat for bobolink as it is located on 684 hectares of protected area, most of which is agricultural fields.

Agricultural fences and cedar trees in the foreground shot of an agricultural field with round hay bales on a bright summer day

Bobolinks spend much of their time out of sight, on the ground feeding on insects and seeds. They seem to appear out of nowhere and can be seen flying in the sky or over vegetation singing a bubbly, musical song.

an endangered species

Unfortunately, Bobolinks were added to the Species at risk in Ontario Listed in September 2010; its current status is threatened.

Yellowish-brown songbird perched on a wild grape plantfemale bobolink

being youthreatened This means that while the Bobolink is not in danger, it is likely that it will be if measures are not taken to mitigate the harmful factors affecting its population.

Prairie landscape with some coniferous and deciduous trees, as well as young milk grass, young sumac, goldenrod and other grasses.

Between 1997 and 2007, the Bobolink population in Ontario is estimated to have decreased by 33%. If the population continues to decline at this rate, the Bobolink will be extinct in just over 90 years.

See also  7 reasons why your family will fall in love with Bonnechere Provincial Park!

Causes of the decline of Bobolink

As a wide-ranging species that migrates in and out of Ontario, this decline is likely due to several causes. Some of the threats to Bobolink in this province include:

  • cutting hay during the breeding period. This could destroy or disturb nesting adults, young birds, eggs and nests.
  • cut hay from early to mid-July. This coincides with the time that the young birds are in the nest and cannot fly.
  • Nest abandonment by adult Bobolinks
  • enhanced predation

Green field with blue sky, with tree branches entering the scene and the moon barely visible.

The main threat to Bobolink populations is believed to be the tendency to cut hay fields earlier. Climate change and rising temperatures have impacted this and this cutback tends to occur today about two weeks earlier than in the 1950s.

Black songbird with white nape, perched on a stem of Queen Anne's lace. Clover and daisy bloom out of focus in the background. Bobolink male

So what are we doing?

Ontario Parks Actions:

  • increase public awareness about species and habitat
  • improve nesting productivity and habitat quality
  • Maintain existing habitat in Ontario parks.

Meadow with farm fences, some trees and patches of Queen Anne's Lace on a summer day.

What can you do?

Help save Bobolink:

  • Considering the Bobolink when you mow, mow or rake hay
  • Share this article with hay farmers in your community
  • Spread the word by sharing the link to this post on Twitter or Facebook

Male Bobolink (black with white back of head) perched in the fall on dead Queen Anne's Lace with green in the background. Bobolink male

Review Ontario’s recovery strategy for Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark.