Bobolink

Bobolink Bird

(Dolichonyx oryzivorus)

Features

A Robin-sized song bird of open grasslands and hayfields.  During summer breeding season, males are black with a white back and a yellow patch on the back of his head.  By late summer, males loose their breeding colours to match the tan with black stripes of the female appearing more as a large sparrow.  Song is a melodic bubbling, somewhat robotic-sounding song.

Status

Provincially and nationally threatened

Range

Breeds across North America. In Ontario, is widely distributed throughout most of the province south of the boreal forest, although it may be found in the north where suitable habitat exists (MNR).

Threats

Significant declines over the past century.  Habitat loss and fragmentation, incidental mortality of eggs, young and adults from activities coinciding with breeding period.  Further study required across wide range habitat including South American over-wintering sites

Protection

  • Ontario Endangered Species Act: listed as Threatened, therefore the species and its critical habitat receive protection from damage and destruction.  A recovery strategy and a species-specific habitat regulation are in the process of development.
  • While a longer-term approach and strategy to Bobolink recovery is developed, a three-year transition period has been proposed as an amendment to the above regulation that aims to relieve the uncertainty that has been created among farmers and rural land owners.  It is proposed that farmers be allowed to continue their current agricultural practices as a long-term approach is developed that involves support and participation from the agricultural community, considered essential to recovery of the Bobolink

References:

Ministry of Natural Resources: Bobolink

Royal Ontario Museum: Bobolink

Ontario Environmental Registry: Bobolink

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