To the Editor:

Regarding the July 8, 2010, article by Lynne Hendricks concerning premature mowing at Woodsom Farm to the detriment of the bobolinks, I feel a few facts need to be clarified.

Firstly, the agreement Mr. Cocozella speaks of did not have a cutoff date of July 15, rather it was July 7. The meeting that established that date occurred in April 2009 with the mayor, Audubon representative Jeff Collins, mayor's assistant Kendra Amaral and myself in attendance, and July 7 was agreed upon. Admittedly, mowing three to four days before the 7th was technically not proper; however, I did so after considering several facts. Because I personally traverse every inch of the fields, I had not seen any bobolink activity, and after verifying that a much warmer spring and early summer had accelerated the nesting process, I felt three or four days before the cutoff date of the 7th would be acceptable.

As for the "vultures" Mr. Cocozella speaks of eating the birds, this is undoubtedly hawks swooping down on field mice as they invariably do after mowing. All the while, the hay crop was deteriorating rapidly with the parched conditions and needed harvesting.

Noteworthy also is the fact that the last segment of the field in one of the sensitive areas was not mowed until the cutoff date of the 7th and was harvested on the 8th.

Lastly, the mayor did contact me (not by telephone) but with a site visit, and at that time I had not mowed the largest part of the last field. I told him of my intention to hold off on that mowing until the July 7 cutoff date.

Respectfully submitted,

George McGovern


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