Mill Creek MetroParks & Audubon Society will partner on a Grassland Habitat Management Pilot Program at the MetroParks Farm in the hopes of increasing the survival rate of species of bird known as the Bobolink. Bobolinks are a grassland–dependent species that is listed as a “species of concern” as determined by the Ohio Division of Wildlife and have been known to frequent the pasture areas of the MetroParks Farm. The program involves delaying cutting of a roughly three (3) acre sized portion of existing pasture until July 4th which coincides with the conclusion of the bobolinks nesting season. The Audubon Society will monitor the three acres weekly beginning at the end of April and attempt to estimate the number of nesting bobolinks in an effort to determine if the delayed cutting increases nest success.
Grasslands at the Mill Creek MetroParks Farm have been attracting various grassland-dependent birds, including Bobolinks for at least 10 years. Additional grassland-dependent species to be included in the pilot program are: Eastern Meadowlarks, Savannah Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows and Vesper Sparrows. Breeding bird surveys have indicated that the population of Bobolinks is declining at a rate of 4.5% annually. The primary cause of mortality for these grassland species, and the population declines, is the disturbance they encounter during their nesting from haying, mowing or burning.
Additionally, Audubon Society will be donating $1000.00 for educational interpretive signage that will be placed on the acreage where the pilot program will take place.
For more information on the Mill Creek MetroParks Farm, please call 330.702.3000 or visit our website at www.millcreekmetroparks.org.