Bird of the Week, July 5, 2013,
Saltmarsh Sparrow


 

Saltmarsh Sparrow by George Jett

 


You wouldn’t think that a little brown sparrow and a huge white polar bear had anything in common—but both species are in danger of disappearing because of climate change. Because the Saltmarsh Sparrow depends exclusively on saltmarsh, it could disappear, along with the habitat, if sea levels continue to rise.

 

Aside from sea level rise, the Saltmarsh Sparrow is threatened by development and diking of its habitat; habitat degradation from chemical spills and other pollutants; and invasive species (particularly Phragmites, an introduced reed which makes the bird’s habitat completely unsuitable).

 

One important conservation measure for this species would be to identify and protect large areas of saltmarsh along the Atlantic Coast, especially where this habitat could move inland should the climate change. The Saltmarsh Sparrow does occur within a number of protected areas supporting coastal habitat, and restoration of tidal marshes is ongoing.

 

You can help the Saltmarsh Sparrow by joining our Spring 2013 Fundraising Challenge. We urgently need your support to conserve coastal marshes and other critical bird habitats.

 

 

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Photo: George Jett; Range Map, NatureServe