Through “Bird Friendly” Hay Management
ONE HAYFIELD AT A TIME!
Thanks for visiting this site. Whether you are a hay farmer, a landowner, a conservationist or just love the rural character of Southern Maryland, we could use your help finding practical solutions to a vexing problem – how can hayfield-nesting birds breed successfully if farmers need to mow and bale the hay in the middle of breeding season?
This website provides background about why solutions to this question are important, and how to find the information needed to tailor a hay management strategy that works for the farmer and the birds alike.
If you would like to know more about this project, please contact us.
Our Hayfield Birds Are in Big Trouble - We Need Solutions
North America is losing its birds at a shocking rate. The abundance of birds in North America has declined by one-third overall since 1970, amounting to the loss of 3 billion birds. Grassland species have suffered the worst declines – over half of this family of bird species has disappeared over the same period.
This pace of loss is unsustainable, especially the Eastern Meadowlark and the Grasshopper Sparrow – two species that nest on the ground in the hayfields of Southern Maryland.
Saving Southern Maryland's Grassland Birds is an initiative to test and share management strategies that give the birds a chance to breed successfully while still accommodating the needs of each individual hay farmer.
Success Means That Both The Birds And The Hay Farmer Thrive
While promoting farming techniques that give grassland birds a chance to breed successfully, we also want to ensure that the economy of hay farming is sustainable. If not, the hayfield may be converted to a use which eliminates any chance for grassland birds to breed, such as crops like corn or soybeans, or housing or industrial development. This project is seeking to find solutions for the birds which also work for the landowners and hay farmers, so that both can thrive. Click on the “5 Steps” tab at the top of the page for recommendations about haying techniques that help the birds while accommodating hay farming.