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Archive for December, 2021

Saving Southern Maryland’s Grassland Birds


Eastern Meadowlark on fence post
Eastern Meadowlarks are in steep decline. Photo by Sheri Douse / Audubon Photography Awards

A project promoting bird-friendly management on Southern Maryland hay farms is now underway! Saving Southern Maryland’s Grassland Birds is a collaboration among the Southern Maryland Audubon Society, the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust, Historic Sotterley Inc., and Farmers Feeding Southern Maryland.  Two hay farmers, Joe Goldsmith and BJ Bowling, are coordinating with SMAS board member David Moulton to test “bird-friendly” haying approaches on a 75-acre private hayfield just north of Historic Sotterley in Hollywood, Maryland.

BJ Bowling of Newport Farms and David Moulton of SMAS discuss bird-friendly mowing. Both birds and farmers depend on viable hay fields.

“Southern Maryland Audubon Society is proud to be part of this research to help protect threatened grassland bird species,” says SMAS President Tiffany Farrell.  The populations of Eastern Meadowlark and Grasshopper Sparrow are both in grave decline. Their nests, commonly found in hayfields, can be destroyed when using conventional haying techniques. But changing mowing heights, patterns, and timing can give these threatened birds a chance to breed successfully and still allow farmers to hay profitably. For more information about this initiative, visit the project website at