Grasslands birds, migration and climate change lecture

Learn about the dynamic relationship between migratory grassland birds, climate change, and hay farmers 
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 7:45am

As our climate changes, the timing of natural processes, including blooming of flowers and greening of vegetation is shifting and presenting challenges for birds and farmers alike.  For Bobolinks and Savannah sparrows, two ground-laying grassland bird species, any mismatch between their response to climate change and the response of farmers to climate change, could be detrimental. The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) invites the public to join us virtually on Thursday, July 9 at 6 p.m. to discuss the dynamic relationship between climate change, the migration of songbirds, and shifts in the practices of hay farmers. Join KELT Land and Development Coordinator, Maeve McGowan, and the University of New England’s Dr. Noah Perlut as they discuss the migration of grassland songbirds, Bobolinks and Savannah sparrows, in the context of a changing climate and a working agricultural landscape.

Maeve is a recent graduate from University of New England where she studied environmental science and researched migratory birds and climate change. With her research project, she set out to understand the response of Bobolinks, a long distance migrant, and Savannah sparrows, a short distance migrant, to climate induced phenological changes. Throughout her project, it became evident that the mismatch between the responses of farmers to climate change and the response, or lack thereof, of grassland birds is creating a dynamic challenge that may have implications on conservation efforts.

Dr. Noah Perlut, Environmental Studies Department Chair and Associate Professor at the University of New England, has been studying breeding populations of Bobolinks and Savannah sparrows in Shelburne, Vermont for nearly two decades. Since 2002, Dr. Perlut and his team of research assistants have been gathering in depth data on these breeding populations in order to have a robust, complete understanding of the species. Dr. Perlut has been published in numerous scientific journals, encompassing his work with grassland birds, forest songbirds and gulls. His expertise include breeding systems, migration, dispersal, life-history strategies and more. 

Registrants will receive a Zoom link to the web-based lecture following their registration and again before the event. For more information or to register, visit or call (207)442-8400. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions in the registration link and the chat box during the meeting. 

The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust is a membership supported organization dedicated to protecting the land, water and wildlife of the Kennebec Estuary.  It maintains twelve preserves for public enjoyment and has protected 3,700+ acres of land since founding in 1989. FMI and to view KELT’s 2019 Annual Report, visit or call (207) 442-8400.