You’re looking at a bobolink, an entertaining bird that spends its summers in Minnesota prairies.
During the spring and early summer, the male—who people often say looks like he’s wearing an upside-down tuxedo—does acrobats to catch the eye of a beautiful lady bobolink (pictured below).
They winter in South America, and spend their breeding time in prairies all across the northern United States and Canada.
As with so many birds, a shocking amount of their habitat is gone. Minnesota once had 18,000,000 acres of prairie, and now we have only 250,000 acres or so.
The Minnesota Land Trust is working hard to turn those numbers around by prioritizing the permanent conservation of remaining prairies.
We also work with dozens of amazing landowners who have transformed land from resource-intensive row crops to beautiful prairies that not only provide great bird habitat, but also hold carbon in the ground where it belongs and keep the rainwater from pushing soils into our streams and rivers.
The bobolink photos were taken by our good friend Rebecca Field at Gale Woods Farm in Hennepin County. It’s an ideal place all summer long to spot bobolinks, eagles, osprey and other birds. If you visit in the spring you might get lucky and catch a wave of migrating warblers in the woods as you hike out to the prairie.
Gale Woods Farm was permanently protected from development by the original owner through a conservation easement with the Minnesota Land Trust. It’s now part of the Three Rivers Park District, and is a fabulous place for a quiet walk or to bring kids to see a working farm.