During the summer months, birds bustle with activity around guests as they meander along the Vista Shed Path and take in the remarkable overlook. The Uplands Center is committed to providing habitat for these grassland nesting birds – Boblinks, Eastern Meadowlarks, Red-Winged Blackbirds, and more. In order to offer these birds a safe and reliable home, the Vista fields must be properly managed and protected.
Birds such as Bobolinks require large patches of tall grass for nesting and raising young. The fields at The Uplands provide this, as well as an abundance of wildlife-supporting plants such as goldenrod and milkweed. Not only do these plants provide coverage for birds to hide nests, but they also attract insects for the birds to eat.
If the fields were completely undisturbed, they would eventually turn into forest. Mowing the fields prevents trees from overtaking the meadows. However, timing is of utmost importance. The breeding season for our grassland begins in early May and continues through July or August, and if mowing occurs during this time, it make nesting sites unsuitable or destroys existing nests.
We manage the Vista Fields with bird conservation in mind by waiting until the fall to mow. Futhermore, we mow every other year to promote better habitat for insects over the winter. To help us understand the impact of our work, we conduct annual bird surveys which monitor bird diversity and abundance. A notable increase in the population of birds, particularly Bobolinks (a threatened species) has been observed through this research since we’ve implemented the conservation-based mowing schedule.
Learn more about our conservation and sustainability practices here.