Bobolink – 2nd JC Location

As the About page of this blog states, I like searching for uncommon birds in my area. Like this past weekend when I found a second spot for BOBOLINK in Johnson County. The other known spot being at Atterbury FWA.

Back in December I posted about the loss of grassland area at the corner of I-65 and County Line Road. Well the field is still grassland and there is no sign of development. So Sunday I checked the field to see if DICKCISSEL had returned.  Dickcissel were present along with calling GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS.

But the big surprise were Bobolink.

BOBO (6)
One problem with Bobolink is they seem to be distant and never looking my direction. Urban Johnson County 5/29/16
Same problem at Atterbury, the Bobolink are way out in the field and facing away. I now know how to ID one from behind. Atterbury FWA 5/28/16
As seen on this range map Central Indiana is on the southern edge of Bobolink’s breeding range. So finding them after mid-May is hit or miss. Range map from xeno-canto.

I remember even though we were farther north in Illinois Bobolink were uncommon because of lack of grasslands in our agriculture county. Thus I had very few photos from Illinois.

One of my few close photos. Rural LaSalle County, IL 5/8/2009

In Illinois I used to take an annual trip to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie to see Bobolink, Upland Sandpiper, and Loggerhead Shrike. And for the record on the last couple of visits the Upland Sandpiper weren’t present.

Bobolink 061209
At Midewin they were abundant and one could get close by walking the trails. 6/12/2009
Female Bobolink
Even the females were easy to ID at Midewin since they would be in the trees along the trails.

The question now is will the owners of the local grasslands cut the grass so the Bobolink have to leave? The Bobolink Field at Atterbury is usually cut in early June for hay. It wasn’t cut until August a couple of years ago and they stayed the entire summer.

The good news is according to The Birds of North America Online the average egg date is May 20 with 12 days of incubation. And if undisturbed the young leave the nest in 11 days. If that holds true then the young are gone around mid-June.

I’ll monitor both fields and hope the grass isn’t cut until late June.

2 Replies to “Bobolink – 2nd JC Location”

  1. Great find with the Bobolink, and all of this is very true. Just yesterday I found a new spot for Dickcissel in town, but of course the field has a big sign that says “Future Home of the Shields Athletics Complex.”

    It is interesting that you call out that field at County Line and I-65. I actually looked at that site, or rather a part of it, in my development job. I ultimately passed on it, but the irony as a birder is not lost on me.

    1. I get the irony part of your job. I work for one of the largest glass companies in the world and when I see our brochures of large buildings with our glass I wonder if they used the kind birds don’t hit. We can make the glass but will the customer buy it?

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