From Ohio History Central


Scientific Name: Dolichonyx oryzivorus
Habitat: Grasslands, weedy fields and marshes
Adult Weight: 1 - 1.25 oz.
Adult Body Length: 6 - 8 inches
Nesting Period: Mid-May- mid-July
Broods Per Year: 1 (may re-nest if eggs destroyed)
Clutch Size: 4 - 7 (5 - 6 most commonly)
Life Expectancy: 6 years
Foods: Insects, seeds, and small fruit


The bobolink is also referred to as the "rice bird." During fall migration, the bobolink travels south, through North Carolina, feeding on the rice fields.


19th Century

Bobolinks expanded their range into Ohio during the nineteenth-century and were well established by mid-century.

20th Century

Populations were steady until 1940 when they began to fall because of habitat destruction and improvements in agricultural machinery, allowing for more frequent mowing of hayfields. This caused a shortage in the bobolink's food supply. The decline in numbers continued until the 1980s.

Today, Bobolinks are considered a species of Special Concern in Ohio. Large, continuous tracts of grasslands that they require for nesting have frequently been converted to other uses. The Division of Wildlife and several metro park systems are concentrating much effort on providing this critical habitat for Bobolinks and other grassland birds. They can be found mostly in the glaciated two-thirds of the state, but occasionally also in unglaciated areas. In eastern Ohio, a number of areas on reclaimed strip-mined land are planted in grasses and support Bobolinks and other grassland birds.

See Also


  1. Peterjohn, John. The Birds of Ohio; Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN; 1989.
  2. Peterjohn, Bruce G. and Daniel L. Rice. The Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas. Columbus, OH: Ohio Department of Natural Resources, 1991.