The “Hollywood Experiments” to Test Bird-Friendly Hay Management Techniques

Saving Southern Maryland’s Grassland Birds is conducting several experiments on private land in Hollywood, MD, to better understand strategies to reconcile the needs of hay farmers and the nesting requirements of Eastern Meadowlarks and Grasshopper Sparrows.  We are testing the effectiveness of a variety of bird-friendly farming techniques, including delaying mowing for alternative time periods, adjusting mowing and tethering heights, using different mowing patterns to help birds escape the machinery, and tracking impacts on the birds and the value of the hay. While these experiments continue, the following paper summarizes what was learned in 2021 - the first year.

Moulton, David H.,An Examination of the Impact of Delayed Hay Mowing Options on Breeding Eastern Meadowlarks and Grasshopper Sparrows in Southern Maryland”, Feb. 2021.