Meadowlands Bird Survey


Early-successional habitats such as meadowlands and native grasslands are rapidly disappearing throughout the eastern United States and Canada due to intensified agricultural practices, forest regeneration, and suburban sprawl. Consequently, many bird species that are dependent on these temporal habitats are experiencing steep population declines.





Among the large tracts of land managed by Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary (JBWS) are several meadowlands, primarily at Glendening Preserve along Plummer Lane and at River Farm south of the sanctuary headquarters. JBWS wishes to develop optimal management strategies for these meadowlands, to conserve critical habitats for birds, native plants, and pollinators that are also undergoing unprecedented declines in the wake of intensified application of pesticides to farm crops and gardens.

Scenes from Meadowlands at Jug Bay:

Before any changes are made to the existing management plan, we decided to survey which birds are using the meadowlands in their current condition. After monitoring the meadowland birds through an entire year, we hope to be in better position to make an informed decision as to which, if any, changes are needed to improve these scarce habitats. Under the supervision of ornithologist Dr. Frode Jacobsen, we started monitoring the bird communities at five meadowlands in October 2014 and have detected 110 different bird species thus far!

Survey schedule April - May

Glendening Preserve: Tue 3/31, Tue 4/14, Tue 4/28, Tue 5/12, Tue 5/26

Meet at the 5702 Plummer Lane Parking lot.

River Farm: Thu 4/9, Thu 4/16, Thu 4/30, Thu 5/14

Meet at River Farm Rd by locked yellow gate. 

Since bird activity peaks during early morning hours, surveys begin at 7:00 AM during the fall/winter months (Oct-Mar) and at 6:00 AM during spring/summer months (Apr-Sept). Rain dates will be announced in the event of inclement weather or scheduling conflicts with public holidays. We welcome participants of all skill levels to join us! The surveys are fairly casual and conducted along mowed paths across and/or along the perimeter of each meadows. Terrain is flat and dry and involves at most a mile of slow-pace walking. There is little opportunity for wildlife photography during surveys and use of audio lures is not permitted. Rare or unidentified birds will be investigated more closely after official survey is concluded. Potential participants are by no means obligated to commit to a regular schedule, but those confident in their identification skills and flexible morning schedules are encouraged to take a lead responsibility for surveying one or more territories. It is a lot of fun!!

Volunteers are critical to the research conducted here. Click to get involved.

Swamp Sparrow                           Field Sparrow