The Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus)

Originally uploaded by woodcreeper.

This Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus) is a member of the maritima subspecies, which breeds in the coastal tidal marshes of the northeastern US, from Massachusetts to Virginia. This one in particular was digiscoped at Jake’s Landing, in Cape May, New Jersey in May of 2006. This subspecies is migratory, and appears darker than the mirabilis subspecies in Florida (the Cape Sable seaside sparrow).

Here’s another photo, this time of the Cape Sable subspecies.

Originally uploaded by woodcreeper.

This guy was digiscoped in the spring of 2004 while working on my PhD research studying the effects of fire on sparrow abundance and nesting success. The results of the fire study will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Biological Conservation. I’ll post a link to it here when it’s out. Unlike the subspecies pictured above, this subspecies is non-migratory and lives in the freshwater marl prairies of Everglades National Park (with some overlap into Big Cypress National Preserve and some state-managed land to the southeast). Here’s a sound clip from a recording I made back in 2001. If you listen carefully you can hear a second male counter singing in the distance. The Cape Sable seaside sparrow is not the only subspecies to have lived in freshwater prairies, as the now extinct Dusky seaside sparrow (subspecies nigrescens) did utilize both freshwater and saltwater marshes.



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