Bird Ecology and Conservation Ontario
Newsletter No. 17, October 2019
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Title image_BECO News
Bobolink and grazing research published!
Grazed pasture and bobolink refuge
A bobolink refuge (on the right) next to a grazed paddock on one of the farms that hosted our bobolink research in the Ottawa Valley.
Photo: Andrew Campomizzi
We are very excited to share the news that our research on bobolink in cattle pastures in the Ottawa Valley has just been published in Avian Conservation and Ecology.

This two-year study was a collaboration with the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association to test the effects of conservation strategies in cattle pastures on nesting bobolink. We found that the proportion of territories that fledged young was high in bobolink refuges, where no grazing occurred before mid-July, and in paddocks grazed lightly for a brief duration soon after birds established territories.
Read the article →
Bobolink art to support BECO
Bobolink pair_By Kaila Ritchie

Illustration by Kaila Ritchie, BECO Field Biologist (2019)

This illustration was inspired by a bobolink pair on one of our 2019 study farms where delayed grazing and modified hay cutting were implemented to protect bobolink nests. The image captures the female carrying food for her nestlings and the male landing next to her.

Hand painted with watercolour and gouache.
We have two prints of Kaila's beautiful artwork to give away to two lucky donors!

All donations to BECO of $30 or more received by November 1, 2019 will be entered to win one of these prints. Donations can be made online or by cheque. All funds will be used to support BECO's grassland bird research.

Prints are high quality fine art giclée prints with archival inks and paper, 8x10 inches, unframed, limited edition, and signed by the artist. After the draw in November, prints will be mailed to the lucky winners.
Donate and enter to win a bobolink print →
Or contact us to donate by cheque.
Kaila Ritchie in the field
Kaila Ritchie in the field.
Photo: Jill Wettlaufer
2.9 billion birds have vanished
You may have heard in the news recently that new research published in the journal Science shows a net loss of close to 3 billion birds in North America since 1970—in other words, the number of wild birds across the continent has decreased by nearly 30%. Grassland bird populations are amongst those showing the steepest declines.

This study, led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, provides the first estimates of the net losses of wild birds across Canada and the United States due to population declines over the last 5 decades. Although declining population trends have been known for quite some time, this is the first research paper showing the bigger picture—population change for 529 species, representing birds from nearly all biomes across the continent. The results are heartbreaking. You can find out more about this research and read the full article here.

The loss of wild birds and biodiversity in Ontario, and beyond, is why we founded BECO and why we'll keep working on research to support the conservation of these declining species.
Eastern meadowlark
This eastern meadowlark nested in a pasture we monitored in 2019. Grazing was delayed in this area to protect its nest, which fledged 3 young.
Photo: Zoé Lebrun-Southcott
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