No matter how you pronounce it, the bobolink is a cool bird

Male bobolink perched amid tall grasses

The bobolinks have been hanging around the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm for the last few weeks, and that’s a reason to rejoice. These long-wandering migrants are partial to grasslands, and the Pole Farm has big fields well-suited for them.

The first bobolink I saw this season came in late May, a female or possibly a non-breeding male that popped into view not far off one of the main trails from the Cold Soil parking lot. I found her yellow and brown plumage striking.

Female bobolink at the Pole Farm, May 25, 2022.

Several weeks passed before I saw a bobolink again, in mid-July. I was able to get several shots of them on both sides of Mercer Meadows, first on the Reed Bryan Farm side and then on the Pole Farm side.

Male bobolink, July 15, 2022

The bobolinks have been accommodating, showing up in large numbers at times, judging by what other birders have reported. The most I counted in one spot was eight one morning. Those with keener eyes than mine have counted more in flocks flying across the fields.

A few people I’ve encountered call them “Boh-boh-links” with a long “o,” but I follow what I’m reasonably sure is the proper pronunciation with short “o’s,” as in “Bob’s your uncle.”

Although we may disagree on pronunciation, we should be able to agree that these seasonal visitors enrich our experiences of nature and that we should protect their habitats to make sure they continue to flourish in perpetuity.

Female bobolink, July 29, 2022.

Published by Dan

University media executive by day, blogger by night, I am a well-traveled resident of New Jersey

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