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Forgive the appalling cinematography, but I wanted to share what it sounds like at my house in the morning. The birds are bobolinks, a blackbird decorated with yellow and white, which winters in Argentina and returns to Sidney, Maine in early May (May 10 this year, a little late). They are a grassland bird, which means they are in precipitous decline. Possibly not as much as eastern meadowlarks, but definitely heading in the wrong direction. Some of it’s due to what happens in South America in the winter, but most of it’s because of haying schedules in modern agriculture. That first cut of hay usually occurs before the baby bobolinks can fledge.

Maine’s bobolinks aren’t really supposed to be here. They moved in when settlers created the fields they need to nest. But now that they’re here, I wouldn’t trade their song–the sound of pure joy–for anything. Unfortunately, the field around my house is not ours and is hayed for dairy cows. That means some years the bobolinks make it and some they don’t. I start to hold my breath towards the end of June. If we can get past July 4, most of the bobolinks succeed. If not, well, that’s a bit of heartbreak.


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