Meadows and Grasslands Management

Meadows and grasslands are essential habitats for the birds and insects that pollinate our plants and for sun-loving flowering annuals and perennials.

Open areas smaller than 10 acres provide food and refuge for many species, including pollinators and migrating birds.

Areas that are 10 acres or larger provide habitat for many field-nesting bird species. Such large open areas are rare in Massachusetts because of development and the conversion of past farmland to forests. As a result, scientists consider field-nesting bird species such as bobolinks, upland sandpipers, and eastern meadowlarks to be imperiled.

If permitted by your conservation restriction (CR), you can manage your fields to provide good habitat for native wildlife. Field management is similar for small and large fields, as both require mowing to prevent woody plants from becoming established.

To promote bird and pollinator habitat, mowing should be completed before May 15 or after August 15. (If you have flowering plants in bloom in mid-August, please delay mowing until later in the fall.)

Mass Audubon has created several booklets on bird habitat management, including “Best Management Practices for Nesting Grassland Birds.” There are several grant programs that support field habitat restoration for birds, including the MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program.