Tuesday Tune: Bobolink

text and video by Brian Willson

Sometimes in a field of summer hay you can hear a bouncy, rollicking sound something like a music synthesizer gone haywire or a cat attacking the keyboard of a child’s piano. That would be the bubbly, antic, rapid-fire song of the grassland-loving bobolink. (Note: the male of this species is the only North American bird that’s black on the belly and white on the back.) The bobolink’s song, in fact, gave this bird its name.

A couple weeks ago at Beech Hill Preserve in Rockport, I happened to see a pair of bobolinks arrive. The female dove at once into the grass, but the male stayed perched on the tip of a leafy shrub, where it proceeded to serenade her.