Rising Sea Levels Seem Likely to Doom Some of Long Island Sound's Marsh-Nesting Birds
The results of the research, in short, are this: if you're interested in birds and you haven't seen and observed a salt marsh sharp-tailed sparrow, don't wait around too long because they're likely to be gone (as will, it seems likely, much of Long Island Sound's salt marshes). Higher tides and bigger storm surges will flood salt marshes more frequently, destroying habitat where it doesn't actually kill nestlings.
This story, from the Greenwich Time, does a good job explaining things (although it makes the hard-to-believe assertion in the first sentence that Connecticut is home to 20 percent of the population of salt marsh sharp-tailed sparrows, and then fails to mention or account for that assertion again).
There are two species of sharp-tailed sparrows -- Nelson's and salt marsh. Until about a dozen years ago they were considered one species. The salt marsh sharp-tailed nests from the Delmarva Peninsula north to Maine, a small range which I suppose could mean that 20 percent of them do live in Connecticut. The Nelson's is an inland marsh species.
The New York State Breeding Bird Atlas project found salt marsh sharp-tailed sparrows in eight locations in Westchester and the north shore of Long Island (and in about 50 on the south shore, Peconic Bay and Staten Island). For comparison, here's the map for the early 1980s. I could find no comparable data for Connecticut though.
Labels: salt marsh sharp-tailed sparrows