A male bobolink is fitted with a NanoTag to help researchers at the University of Maine and cooperating institutions study migration patterns from the Northeast to central South America. (Courtesy of Joanne Alex)

Grab your binoculars and take a guided walk through bobolink habitat at Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station’s Witter Farm Park Street Fields on Friday, June 17 from 9–11 a.m. 

Amber Roth, assistant professor of forest wildlife management at the University of Maine; Livia Raulinaitis, Maine pollinator and beneficial insect conservation planner at the Xerces Society; and Laura Suomi-Lecker, technical director of the Ag Allies’ Grassland Bird Program will lead a free workshop about how to improve and manage grasslands for bird habitat, forage production and pollinators.

Participants will have the opportunity to view nesting behaviors of grassland birds, including bobolinks, savannah sparrows, and northern harriers. The workshop will also include guidance on how to revitalize fallow fields for grassland wildlife habitat, and the background on life history of Maine’s grassland bird species that face steep population decline

The event is free; advance registration is required and available online. Participants should meet at the Witter Farm Park Street Fields in Orono and be prepared to spend two hours outdoors walking over uneven terrain. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Karen Cliff at 207-581-2887 or karen.cliff@maine.edu.

The Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station at the University of Maine supports faculty who conduct fundamental and applied research to address specific problems of importance to the people of Maine. This integration of research with university and public education ensures that people learn the most current information, even in rapidly changing fields. 

Since 2016, Ag Allies, hosted by Somerset County SWCD, has worked with land trusts and landowners statewide to increase the nesting success of grassland birds using incentive payments, technical assistance and education. The program empowers landowners to make sustainable, bird-friendly management changes on their land and improve the chance for nesting success of grassland birds in Maine.