SHARP members recently helped with detective work to discover the identity of a Saltmarsh Sparrow with 4 leg bands (3 colors, 1 USGS metal band with a unique number) that was spotted in RI this weekend.
While monitoring Jacob’s Point Salt Marsh (owned by Warren Land Conservation Trust) in Rhode Island for the RI Bird Atlas 2.0, volunteer Deirdre Robinson photographed a Saltmarsh Sparrow with 4 leg bands on June 16, 2016. Thanks to Deirdre, other biologists (Dr. Peter Paton at URI, local Master Bander Steve Reinert, and Danny Bystrak of the USGS), and SHARP members, the bird has been captured and identified as one that was originally banded in Georgia or Florida. Stay tuned for more information on this female.
In the meantime, here’s more from Deirdre about the process of discovering this bird’s band number:
“Before helping with a banding workshop at the local Audubon Center, I biked to the saltmarsh at 6AM and saw the banded Saltmarsh Sparrow, behaving like a female with a nest. She would periodically fly up from the cord grass and perch on a high tide bush vigilantly watching me as I hid behind the Phragmites. She was clearly not foraging, nor bringing food to a nest, nor removing fecal sacs. The hunt was on to find the nest without disturbing her or creating a path to the nest for predators. Locating a Saltmarsh Sparrow nest is an art, as anyone with experience knows. Saltmarsh Sparrow are almost like mice, running through the Spartina. Patience paid off, and after 2 hours of careful observation, I found the nest and called Steve Reinert who showed up with 2 mist nets. We caught the bird within 5 minutes, read her band, and left her alone to continue the work of bringing the next generation of Saltmarsh Sparrows successfully forward.”
Photos by Deirdre Robinson.