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Grassland Birds Initiative

Grassland nesting birds are in trouble. The numbers of these birds have dropped precipitously, many losing 80% of their population in the past 50 years. Habitat loss, land use practice changes, pesticides, and other unknown causes are all conspiring against these wonderful birds. Eastern Meadowlark, Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, Bobolink, Savannah Sparrow, Northern Bobwhite, Ring-necked Pheasant, Loggerhead Shrike, and others... need our help NOW!

The Grassland Birds Initiative is designed to provide the essentials for these species' survival: such simple things as cover, nesting habitat, food, and water. By providing high quality habitat, which will not be disturbed for the nesting season, we are giving these species a desperately needed last chance at survival. Many of us remember the beautiful caroling of Eastern Meadowlarks and Northern Bobwhites from the fields and farms of our youth. Wouldn't it be great to bring them back so that our children and grandchildren can experience the same joy and elation that we felt when we heard these wonderful bird songs drifting over the fields or when a covey of quail exploded from the grass right in front of us? Well, maybe we can.

Click here to download the Grassland Birds Initiative brochure.

Managing land in the Grassland Birds Initiative has numerous benefits:


Managing land in the Grassland Birds Initiative program will help to ensure that future generations can experience and appreciate the wonderful birds and wildlife that make grasslands their home. Conserving large areas that are allowed to function as a grassland ecosystem will also benefit a number of species of animals and plants. Allowing the soil to rest will benefit the micro-organisms that make soils function properly. The increase in bird life that will follow proper land management will mean fewer insect pests since these birds feed their young only insects.

  • Increased success of grassland nesting birds in any size field or plot.
  • Possible return of species that have disappeared from our area.
  • More birds means more bird song and fewer insect pests.
  • Reduced fuel usage and reduced wear and tear on equipment.
  • Establishment of a functional grassland habitats that benefit a host of species.
  • Reduced negative impacts from over-use of the soil.
  • Increased fertility of the land.

How can you participate?


  • Enroll your property into the program and agree to let PVAS know of any changes to the land management practices that you foresee being used on that land.
  • Practice reduced mowing; rotational mowing, late season mowing, or only mowing every four to five years to maintain a functional grassland ecosystem on lands that are not in production and to keep woody species from encroaching.
  • Plant and establish warm-season grasses that are more beneficial to wildlife.
  • Cooperate within the community to preserve and protect other grasslands for wildlife, using your project as a model for others.
  • Coordinate with other land owners to attempt to link grasslands into larger tracts to increase the effective acreage of appropriate habitats.
  • Cooperate with state and federal programs to offset costs associated with grassland preservation.
  • Certify your land and project through PVAS as a” Grassland Bird Preserve” and display your certificate and sign for others to see. 

Birds that benefit: 


Northern BobwhiteGrasshopper Sparrow - ©Wil Hershberger

Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Bluebird

Grasshopper Sparrow

Henslow’s Sparrow

Red-winged Blackbird

Horned Lark

Loggerhead Shrike

Ring-necked Pheasant

Vesper Sparrow

Eastern Kingbird

Field Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Red-tailed Hawk

American Kestrel

American Woodcock

Northern Harrier

Listen To The Songs of Grassland Birds

For more information regarding the Grassland Birds Initiative please email us at:

           © 2016 Potomac Valley Audubon Society

              P.O. Box 578 • Shepherdstown, West Virginia 25443
              phone // 304-676-3397

Yankauer Nature Preserve (Berkeley County)
Eidolon Nature Preserve (Morgan County)
Stauffer's Marsh (Berkeley County)
Cool Spring Nature Preserve (Jefferson County)

Kristin Alexander, Executive Director //   304-676-3397

Kimberly Baldwin, Program Director //

Katelyn "KC" Walters, Conservation and Land Manager // 304-283-7319

Krista Hawley, Adult Program Coordinator
// 703-303-1026

Amy Moore, Cool Spring Preserve Manager and Naturalist // 240-818-4714
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