Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) - Threatened

The Bobolink is a medium sized songbird found in grasslands and hayfields. In their summer breeding season, male Bobolinks are black with a white back and yellow collar. By late summer, males lose their breeding plumage to resemble the female’s tan colour with black stripes.  Bobolinks spend much of their time out of sight on the ground feeding on insects and seeds. They seem to appear out of nowhere and can be spotted flying in the sky or over the tops of vegetation singing a bubbling musical song. Historically, Bobolinks lived in North American tall grass prairie and other open meadows. With the clearing of native prairies, Bobolinks moved to living in hayfields. Bobolinks often build their small nests on the ground in dense grasses.

Ontario Population: approx. 400,000 breeding pairs

Threats to this Species: Mowing of hay during the breeding period may inadvertently kill and disturb nesting adults and young birds and destroy eggs and nests. Cutting hay in early to mid July coincides with the time that young birds are in the nest and are not able to fly.

Fun Fact: The Bobolink is one of the world's most impressive songbird migrants, traveling some 12,500 miles (20,000 kilometers) to and from southern South America every year. Throughout its lifetime, it may travel the equivalent of 4 or 5 times around the circumference of the earth.