Bird Ecology and Conservation Ontario
Newsletter No. 10, December 2017
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It's December – where are the Bobolink now?

With the shortest day of the year behind us, we start counting down to spring, the return of Ontario's migratory songbirds, and early sunrises full of the songs and calls of wild birds.
Bobolink in spring
A male Bobolink in early spring – one of the first Bobolink observed in the Ottawa Valley by BECO field biologists in May, 2017.
Photo: Gerald Morris
Bobolink from across North America are currently in the southern interior of South America. They spend this part of the year in large flocks, feeding mostly on seeds in the grasslands, agricultural fields, and marshes of Bolivia, Paraguay, northeastern Argentina, and southwestern Brazil. Within these gregarious flocks are some of the Bobolink we observed nesting in pastures in the Ottawa Valley this past spring and summer, and young that fledged from their nests. In late March or early April, they'll begin the arduous journey back to their nesting grounds. Many songbirds don't survive their first year. The young Bobolink that do make it back next year, having survived their first fall and spring migration, will face the challenge of their first attempt at nesting.
Bobolink nesting video series

Gerald Morris, Field Biologist, captured some wonderful footage and images of Bobolink over the two years of our work on farms in the Ottawa Valley. This fall, we decided to create three short videos about the Bobolink nesting season. This video, the third in the series, reveals some of the behavioural cues that can be used to determine when Bobolink are finished nesting.

Episodes 1 and 2, the early spring and nesting videos, are currently in the editing stage. We'll be sending these out in the new year, so stay tuned!
Late-season bobolink behaviour
Late-Season Bobolink Behaviour
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