Bobolink - Ross Feldner

The Bobolink is a small New World blackbird and the sole member of its genus. They are also known as the "rice bird" because of their proclivity to graze on farmed grains during the winter and migration. Bobolinks breed in the summer in the United States and Canada, and winter in southern South America. Migration is an impressive 12,500 miles!

They sing a cheery, bubbly song and are related to blackbirds. Usually polygynous with clutches of eggs laid by a single female with multiple fathers.

Bobolinks navigate by orienting with the earth’s magnetic field using the iron oxide in the bristles of their nasal cavity and tissues surrounding the olfactory bulb. They also use stars in the night sky as navigation guides.

Bobolink numbers are quickly falling due to a variety of reasons, including agricultural intensification and habitat degradation; they are listed as threatened in Canada and are considered vulnerable across their range.

Bobolink Fun Facts

Bobolinks are the only bird in North America with a black front and white back.

They are also known as reedbird, and butterbird.

A group of Bobolinks is called a “chain.”

The noted American poet Emily Dickinson wrote "The Way to know the Bobolink" and in her famous poem "Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church" she led to heaven by a Bobolink

Their name is actually pronounced “baa-baa-link.”

Unlike many birds they build their nest on the ground.

Bobolinks are the only species of landbird known to annually migrate through the Galápagos Islands.

Click here to listen to a Bobolink singing.

Click here to watch field research work in Vermont.


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