An update on our mystery bird (green/red metal/orange)

We’ve heard from one of her banders, Lauren Deaner.  This female Saltmarsh Sparrow was banded on Shell Key in Pinellas County, Florida on October 31, 2015.  Lauren bands Saltmarsh and Nelson’s Sparrows on their wintering grounds with Dr. Jon Greenlaw and volunteers from the St. Petersburg Audubon Society coordinated by Ron Smith.


This bird was captured in St. Petersburg, FL in Oct. 2015 and then in Warren, RI in June 2016.

Here’s more from Lauren about the habitat where this bird spends her winters:

“Shell Key has a very small (less than half an acre) of remnant Spartina alternifloria marsh.  Mangrove invasion will likely take over this remnant in the near future (photos below).


Spartina alterniflora habitat of Shell Key.


A photo composite from Google Earth shows the intrustion of mangroves into the Spartina alterniflora marsh. At right, the marsh in April 2011 on the left and January 2014 on the right. You can see the mangrove area growing in the bottom right.

We have banded 30 Nelson’s and 24 Saltmarsh Sparrows since 2010 (small habitat, small sample!).  We have recaptured a few of our own Saltmarsh Sparrows, but never after more than one calendar year.”

That is a pretty small sample, which makes this bird’s recorded appearance in Rhode Island all the more special!  She joins ~20 other recaptures between the wintering and breeding grounds that SHARP members (especially Dr. Alyssa Borowske) have discovered over the years with the help of collaborators.

So keep your eyes peeled when birding, you never know when you’ll contribute to a small but growing dataset about the secret lives of birds!  And please contact us if you see any banded sparrows in the marsh.

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