Letter: In defense of songbirds


To the Editor:It's a beautiful morning in June and our neighboring farmer has come to mow the field. First of all let me say here how grateful I am to this farmer and all those that put their hands to the land to provide us with the abundance they bring. My daughter enjoyed pancakes from farm fresh milk and eggs this morning to prove my point. We support our farmers. That's not the reason I am writing, I am writing in my concern for ground nesting songbirds. I am sure many of you are aware of this fact, that with the early haying practice in Vermont we loose a devastating amount of songbirds each year. The hay is often cut in the critical time of the birds sitting their nest, mowing down the next generation. Because of my understanding of the plight of the farmer, in this case I'm not holding them in account. I would like to point out here the responsibility of the land owner. More often than not the farmer is doing a service for said land owner in exchange for the hay. The land owner is then able to put their land into the current use program in order to receive an impressive tax break. The current use program is a wonderful initiative for allowing our working lands to be affordable, a necessary aide to the low income lifestyle of farming the land. But that tax break is actually given to the land owner, not the farmer. In the state of New York it is common to mow only in the fall, similar to the practice here when I was young. It's something worth considering. If you are a land owner who "leases" your land to a farmer in order to keep your land in the current use program please take a moment to consider these songbirds and their right and contribution to the ecosystem. There are many initiatives available to the farmers to offset any loss of income, look into the bobolink project. And for the land owners it's simple, ask your farmer to mow after July and ensure the next generation of songbirds in our beautiful state, an obvious example of an inter-species trickle down effect. Jennifer Langstaff-FrenchDorset


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