Grassland Birds

Birds in decline

We are witnessing a large decline of bird populations in our lifetime. Over the past 50 years, bird populations have declined about 30% in North America. Of all the different habitat types that birds occupy, grasslands birds have been the hardest hit, with over a 50% decline. These depressing trends are driven by changes in farming practices, habitat fragmentation, and development. 

Grass-fed beef and hay farming can alter habitat in ways that provide suitable nesting conditions for our grassland birds, if done following certain protocols.

Our bird-friendly farming initiative and certification protocols partner with farmers to provide the missing link that these birds need: a place to successfully reproduce.   

Keep scrolling to learn about some of our native grassland birds that need our help.


This beautiful seedeater sings a song that sounds like its name.  (You might need to use your imagination a bit, but listen for the sibilance.) Their population is highly variable with bumper years when they are everywhere and other years of few birds to be found.


A gregarious songster, the Bobolink makes an epic 12,500-mile migration each year to South America. They share the work of raising and caring for young amongst their local population, and Bobolinks are often seen singing a bubbly song while flying over their territory. As with many bird species, the females are plainly decorated and are not as easy to find and identify.

Eastern Meadowlark

A beautiful songster with flutelike tones, an Eastern Meadowlark can often be found singing from the top of a hay bale or fence post. It is a robin-sized bird with conspicuous white outer tail feathers.

Upland Sandpiper

This is a shorebird that nests in grasslands and also spends its winters in South America. Males often perch and sing from fence posts and make winding circular song flights over their breeding territory.

Savannah Sparrow

This crisply streaked sparrow has a yellow patch in front of the eye. This bird can be hard to spot in grasslands, but when you learn the song, you will hear it in pasture and hayfields.

Sedge Wren

This is a small, secretive wren that breeds in short grass and sedge marshes. It will often run on the ground to evade predators (and bird watchers). The best way to find it is by listening for its distinctive song—a series of sharp chips followed by a trill.