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Bobolink Young

Male Bobolink and his kids

Ingrid and I are very fortunate to live near a wonderful birding area: Great Salt Bay Farm . . . and many of the photographs and narratives on this site come from Great Salt Bay.

One of the aspects that sets GSB apart is the numbers of Bobolinks that breed here each spring and summer.

In May hundreds of bubbling, tinkling and buzzings songs come from males as they try to attract females to his area of the meadow and to keep other males away.  At times there are so many Bobolinks making noise and chasing each other around . . . it is difficult to concentrate on any particular birds.

Females can be seen perched on high grass or clover as they build nests on the ground and look for males that interest them.

Male Bobolinks mate with multiple females and females mate with multiple males . . . and males help with the raising of young at multiple nests.  It’s basically a free love commune from the 1960s.

Returning to New England Birding after a week in Scotland . . . Ingrid and I were thrilled to see the Bobolink young had fledged and were visible in great numbers.  Our observation in the past tells us that the parents leave the young at to their own devices once the young can feed themselves . . . heading to coastal marshes where they feed an molt.

We observed just a few adults and lots and lots of young.  This is a really good sign for a bird whose numbers have declined by up to 65% in my lifetime.

Lots of Red-winged Blackbird young were also present.

Red-winged Blackbird Fledges

. . . and the ubiquitous Common Yellow Throats (Ingrid’s favorite).