About Bird-Friendly Certified Hay

The Bird-Friendly Certified Hay Program will improve habitat and living conditions for bobolink and eastern meadowlark nesting in hay fields across the Credit River watershed.

Hay producers who register their fields as Bird-Friendly Certified agree to delay cutting until July 15. If bobolink and eastern meadowlark young leave the nest in all registered Bird-Friendly Certified Hay fields before July 15, participants will be notified that the first cut can occur before this date.

Grassland bird populations are declining.

Grassland birds like the bobolink and eastern meadowlark are threatened by habitat loss due to changes in land use and cover type. These grassland birds prefer to breed and nest in native grasslands. There are few native grasslands in the Credit River watershed, so breeding and nesting often occur in non-native meadows (old farm fields) and active hay and pasture fields.

Livestock pasturing intensity has increased in recent years. More animals graze per acre resulting in decreased vegetation height. This makes it difficult for grassland birds to nest.

Hay crops are being cut earlier as well. The first cut of hay is harvested in late May to mid-June, which coincides with the nesting period for bobolink and eastern meadowlark. Harvesting this early destroys nests and the young birds.

The Bird-Friendly Certified Hay Program will improve habitat and living conditions for bobolink and eastern meadowlark nesting in hay fields across the Credit River watershed.

How to Use this Website

Hay producers can use this website to connect with hay consumers looking to purchase Bird-Friendly Certified Hay. Landowners who have farmland available to rent can also connect with hay growers seeking rental lands for the purpose of growing Bird-Friendly Certified Hay. All participants in the Bird-Friendly Certified Hay Program must agree to the Program Guidelines and Terms and Conditions and register on the site.