Bobolink Meadow Flora and Avian ResearchTINLEY CREEK, ILLINOIS / 2020
Living Habitats led the Bobolink Meadow Land & Water Reserve restoration project described under its own project heading. Within the broader framework of that project, there were many opportunities to delve deeper into the various ways this very large scale project could inform other regional restoration work. Several formal research efforts were lead by Living Habitats and we assembled teams of subject matter experts to answer each study’s questions. One of the studies investigated the floral composition of our restoration in relationship to how birds were coming back to use the site. This project required not only tree and shrub removal within the work area to create large expanses of open grassland, but also strategic decisions around what type of herbaceous species would be encouraged on the site. Grassland bird specialists were not convinced that native plant species would adequately support grassland birds based on many past restoration failures. Careful design of this restoration to exclude taller species and aggressive grasses set the stage for detailed analysis of successful new native habitat creation for many endangered and rare bird species. With wildly successful floristic and avian outcomes resulting from this restoration project, many important lessons learned have been documented via detailed site monitoring and broadly shared with stakeholders throughout the region with research reports and presentations to encourage the broad application of similar restoration approaches.