Open Space Management

Adjust Mowing Schedule to Protect Wildlife

Open Space Management- Adjust Mowing Schedule to Protect Wildlife

November 13, 2021 | Community, Ecological News, Municipal Best Practices

How To Establish Native Meadows

To Establish native meadows, do not mow from April through August so that native ground nesting birds can leave their nests.

Your property or that public field in your community can be productive native habitat for wildlife if you mower the area 2 times annually after the ground nesting birds fledglings and other wildlife's young have already left their nests. Below is a list of Pennsylvania's common wildlife and grassland birds along with the periods they raise their young. If you or your community makes a simple change adjusting when you mow meadows around our wildlife's nesting habits allowing the grass to grow for the majority of the year, you and your community can help wildlife and grassland songbirds thrive while saving money.

Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Audubon Society offer guidance on how to manage Open Space on public and private property.


To help limit complaints about the new wildlife meadow high mow area, which was normally mowed, put up a sign or 2 to inform the public that you are still tending the land but in on a new wildlife friendly schedule. It is suggested to create signage because public complaints can make your local government react stopping the initiative. With signs you can prevent the complaint in the first place.  

Mow the Perimeter

Even after adjusting the mowing schedule to limit complaints and show that you or your local government is still tending the area responsibility, mow a stripe or 2 around the perimeter of the meadow / field. Put your sign on that mowed part near the most public facing mowed area.

When to Mow

Rule of thumb mow in late summer and late winter to help wildlife.

Nesting Periods:

Common Wildlife 

Grassland songbirds: - Average (June 1st to August 15th)   

Learn more about open space management on PA Game Commission's website in link below:

Managing Open Space for wildlife Species (PA Game Commission) 

Audubon Society

Audubon Society offers workshops on subjects which help native wildlife. In this Native Meadow restoration and management workshop community leaders, municipal employees, non-profits, and environmental groups learned about best practices of managing and transforming regularly mowed fields into Native Grass Meadows to help birds, insects, while lessening the burden on storm water systems.

There are state law prompted initiatives to lessen the burden on storm water, this is one good way to satisfy that need in your community.

A resource which could help you get this in your community is PEC (Pennsylvania environmental council).

The solutions to our ecological problems already exist. All we have to do is communicate and advocate for these existing best municipal practices and policies such as a native habitat friendly mowing schedule. 

Pictures of Eastern Meadow Larks:

#easternmeadowlark,#AudobonSociety #PAGameCommission #OpenSpaceManagement #MunicipalBestPractice