This is useful information.  And thank you for your serious efforts.
I sometimes think that what we need to do is bring this to a wider public.  
Some photos of trashed nests would go a long way to making the point.  Of 
course Cornell wants to look good while doing little (consider their endless 
posturing and foot dragging on building efficiency).  So, what remains in-house 
may never change.
   This is part of a larger problem: talk green and continue with business as 
usual.  And, let’s face it, sometimes you have to stand between the machine and 
the victim—with cameras rolling.


“If we surrendered to the earth’s intelligence, we could rise up rooted, like 
trees.” Rainer Maria Rilke

> On Jun 15, 2021, at 4:07 PM, Kenneth V. Rosenberg <> wrote:
> Linda, thanks for bringing this mowing to everyone’s attention. In a 
> nutshell, what is happening today in those fields, repeated over the entire 
> U.S., is the primary cause of continued steep declines in Bobolink and other 
> grassland bird populations.
> Last year, because of the delays in mowing due to Covid, the fields along 
> Freeze and Hanshaw Roads were full of nesting birds, including many nesting 
> Bobolinks that were actively feeding young in the nests at the end of June. 
> In the first week of July, Cornell decided to mow all the fields. Jody Enck 
> and I wrote letters and met with several folks at Cornell in the various 
> departments in charge of managing those fields (Veterinary College, 
> University Farm Services) – although they listened politely to our concerns 
> for the birds, they went ahead and mowed that week as dozens of female 
> bobolinks and other birds hovered helplessly over the tractors with bills 
> filled food for their almost-fledged young.
> The same just happened over the past couple of days this year, only at an 
> earlier stage in the nesting cycle – most birds probably have (had) recently 
> hatched young in the nest. While mowing is occurring across the entire region 
> as part of “normal” agricultural practices (with continued devastating 
> consequences for field-nesting birds), the question is whether Cornell 
> University needs to be contributing to this demise, while ostensibly 
> supporting biodiversity conservation through other unrelated programs. Jody 
> and I presented an alternative vision, where the considerable acres of fields 
> owned by the university across Tompkins County could serve as a model for 
> conserving populations of grassland birds, pollinators, and other 
> biodiversity, but the people in charge of this management were not very 
> interested in these options.
> And there we have it, a microcosm of the continental demise of grassland 
> birds playing out in our own backyard, illustrating the extreme challenges of 
> modern Ag practices that are totally incompatible with healthy bird 
> populations. I urge CayugaBirders to make as much noise as possible, and 
> maybe someone will listen.
> Ken Rosenberg (he/him/his)
> Applied Conservation Scientist
> Cornell Lab of Ornithology
> American Bird Conservancy
> Fellow, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future
> Wk: 607-254-2412
> Cell: 607-342-4594
> From: 
> <> on behalf of Linda Orkin 
> <>
> Date: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at 3:02 PM
> Subject: [cayugabirds-l] Fields being mowed.
> After a couple year hiatus in which the Freese Road fields across from the 
> gardens have been mowed late in the season allowing at least Bobolinks to be 
> done with their nesting and for grassland birds to be lured into a false 
> feeling of security so they have returned and I’ve counted three singing 
> meadowlarks for the first time in years,  Cornell has returned to early 
> mowing there as of today. And so the mayhem ensues. How many more multitudes 
> of birds will die before we believe our own eyes and ears. Mow the grass 
> while it’s still nutritious but are we paying attention to who is being fed. 
> Grass taken from the land to pass through animals and in that inefficient 
> process turning to food for humans. 
> Linda Orkin
> Ithaca NY
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