Grassland Bird Population Decline

Dr. Margaret Brittingham is a professor of wildlife resources in the School of Forest Resources in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. When I shot this picture yesterday morning she was tracking an Eastern Meadowlark across the sweep of pasture. A quick look at Dr. Brittingham’s research interests and professional affiliations reveals a passion for birds. She’s currently studying the decline in grassland species of birds in Pennsylvania and was excited to see a Meadowlark. Letting grass grow this long into the season helps allow the birds to hatch and get out of the way before haymaking.

We were at this location not for birds but to shoot a cover photograph for an Extension publication on farmlands and wildlife. Watching the birds at the feeder at home I get excited to see a Carolina Wren or Black-capped Chickadee. On this trip I was introduced to a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, a Bobolink, and the Eastern Meadowlark. One of the fringe benefits of being a photographer in a research institution is the constant on the job education available in a wide range of areas.  Ag Research is far ranging at Penn State.

I forgot how wet you can get walking through tall grass in the morning.


Sekhar said…
Excellent shot. And yes walking in dew-covered grass in early mornings is a wetty task :) said…
Where is this pasture? It's gorgeous!
Steve Williams said…
sekhar: It's surprising how much dew those grasses can hold!

jsavage: That pasture is located in Georges Valley, about six miles east of Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. There is a lot of rolling land like this in the valleys that are part of the Ridge and Valley region of Pennsylvania. Just a beautiful landscape.

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