Species and Plant Community
Accounts for Identified Wildlife

Table of contents

Birds - Songbirds

BOBOLINK (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)

Status

The bobolink is BLUE-listed in B.C. due to a loss of habitat from grazing and urbanization. The Bobolink is particularly vulnerable to early mowing of hayfields, which directly affects reproductive activities including courtship and nest success.

Ecology

The bobolink is a neotropical migrant that breeds in B.C. When adults arrive at breeding grounds in May, they feed primarily on seeds. As the young hatch, dependence on insects increases. Generally, the bobolink inhabits open country showing a preference for large, established, cultivated hayfields, moist meadows and weedy fields predominated by a mixture of tall grasses. In B.C., it occupies cultivated fields between 300-800 m in elevation. It builds loosely constructed, well concealed nests in ground hollows frequently at the base of tall weedy plants. Bobolinks may be semi-colonial at breeding grounds. In late July adults and fledged young congregate in loose post-breeding flocks before migrating south.

Distribution

Ecoprovinces: Ecosections

Biogeoclimatic units

Breeding range

This species breeds locally in the south and central interior. Breeding has been reported in the southern Okanagan valley, Cariboo-Chilcotin region, 30 km northeast of Prince George, and in the east and west Kootenays.

Wintering and migration

Bobolinks winter in South America from Brazil, south to northern Argentina. Males arrive on breeding grounds in mid-to-late May followed by the females in late May to early June. Autumn migration commences from late July to mid-August; few birds remain by the end of the month.

Habitat requirements

Broad ecosystem units

Structural stage

2: herb

Selected references

Bock, C.E., V.A. Saab, T.D. Rich and D.S. Dobkin. 1993. Effects of livestock grazing on
neotropical migratory landbirds in western North America. In Status and management of neotropical migratory birds. D.M. Finch and P.W. Stangel (eds.). USDA For. Serv., Rocky Mtn For. Range Exp. Sta., Ft. Collins, CO. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-229. pp. 296-309.

Bollinger, E.K. and T.A. Gavin. 1992. Eastern bobolink populations: Ecology and
conservation in an agricultural landscape. In Ecology and conservation of neotropical migrant landbirds. (J.M. Hagan III, and D.W. Johnson, eds.). Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, DC. pp. 497-506.

Gard, N.W., M.J. Hooper and R.S. Bennet. 1993. Effects of pesticides and contaminants
on neotropical migrants. In Status and management of neotropical migratory birds. D.M. Finch and P.W. Stangel (eds.). USDA For. Serv., Rocky Mtn For. Range Exp. Sta., Ft. Collins, CO. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-229. pp. 310-314.

Herkert, J.R. 1991. Prairie birds of Illinois: Population response to two centuries of
habitat change. Illinois Nat. Hist. Surv. Bull. 34:393-399.

Rodenhouse, N.L., L.B. Best, R.J. O'Connor and E.K. Bollinger. 1993. Effects of
temperate agriculture on neotropical migrant landbirds. In Status and management of neotropical migratory birds. D.M. Finch and P.W. Stangel (eds.). USDA For. Serv., Rocky Mtn For. Range Exp. Sta., Ft. Collins, CO. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-229. pp. 280-295.

Warner, R.E. 1994. Agricultural land use and grassland habitat in Illinois: Future shock
for midwestern birds? Cons. Bio. Press. Volume 8, No.1 pp. 147-156.

Wittenburger, J.F. 1978. The breeding biology of an isolated bobolink population in
Oregon. Condor 80:355-371.

_____. 1982. Factors affecting how male and female bobolinks apportion parental
investments. Condor 84:22-39.


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