OFT is in the field!

The monitoring season has been in full swing the past couple weeks, with OFT staff visiting our protected farms from Guelph, to Southampton, to Midland, and more! Every year, OFT staff visit our protected farms to ensure that the easements are being upheld and that the farmland and natural habitat remains protected. Despite the heat, we have seen some AWESOME wildlife using our protected farms as habitat, and we expect to see more as our summer monitoring season continues. Here is a quick recap of some of the at-risk bird species that we have observed so far. 

Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks (both considered threatened in Ontario) have been observed nesting, foraging, and singing their hearts out on several of our protected farms. These grassland birds rely on pastures and hay fields for habitat, because the native grassland habitats they evolved with are now scarce due to human activity. The bubbling and robotic song of the Bobolink has been heard loud and clear on protected farmland as their breeding and nesting season progresses.

In contrast, the Eastern Wood-pewee (listed as a species of special concern in Ontario) is a much quieter resident of our protected forests. A shy brown bird, we haven’t yet managed to spot an Eastern Wood-pewee, however we have heard them loud and clear, with their distinct and clear call that rings through the trees. The forests that surround rivers and streams are the ones where their call is the most observed. 

The final bird that we have observed swooping and soaring over protected farmland is the Barn Swallow (considered a species of special concern in Ontario). These birds add a certain degree of charm, as we often hear them chattering to each other as they swoop over fields foraging for insects. Their tawny underbelly and rusty chin makes them a striking site, especially when they group together on telephone wires in the farmstead areas that surround the barns. 

While we still have half of our monitoring season to go, the first half has been full of rewarding sights like these. Clearly, the farmland that we protect is important to more than just the people who rely on it for goods and services. Stay tuned for more updates about our monitoring season, and be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see pictures from our monitoring visits!