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Photo: Zoé Lebrun-Southcott

Project description

Background: Bobolink, a threatened species in Ontario and Canada, breed in hay fields, pastures, and other land cover types that provide grassland-like environments. Many songbird nests fail to fledge young and the frequency of fledging typically varies across land cover types and uses. Additionally, characteristics of fields (e.g., size), field surroundings (e.g., field edges), and landscape characteristics (e.g., percent of nearby forest cover) may influence nest survival because these characteristics can be associated with nest predators, food availability, and other reasons for nest failure.

Project work: In collaboration with Professor Erica Nol, graduate student Monica Fromberger, and others in the Nol lab at Trent University, we are studying Bobolink to learn about the environmental conditions that provide the best opportunities for nest success. We monitored nests over 2 years in various land cover types (i.e., restored grasslands, fallow fields, pastures, hay fields) and pooled our data with existing nest data collected by the Nol lab to model Bobolink nest survival across typical environmental conditions on farms and conservation lands.

Conservation implications: Our results should identify conditions associated with high nest survival, thus providing important information about the types and locations of future conservation efforts that could have the greatest positive impacts for nesting Bobolink.

Project details

This project is a collaboration with Trent University.

Project dates: 2017 – 2019

Funding: Support for this project was provided by the Government of Ontario, Mitacs, Echo Foundation, the CICan Natural Resources Internships program, and individual donors.

Hatching Bobolink eggs. Photo: Gerald Morris

Bobolink nestlings, 8-9 days old. Photo: Gerald Morris

Video by Gerald Morris.

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