Sunday, July 15, 2012

Young Birds: Saltmarsh Sparrow

[Saltmarsh Sparrows, adult above and juvenile below. These were at Tuckerton, NJ along Great Bay Boulevard, on Saturday. Note in particular the much denser and more extensive streaking on the young bird, and the plainer face. Presumably, the upper bird is a female - a presumption made only because she seemed to care about what the youngster was doing. Saltmarsh Sparrows form no pair bonds, and the males take no role in rearing the young.]

When I see a young bird, I marvel that it has lived as long as it has, and imagine its next moves. In the case of this young Saltmarsh Sparrow, the moves may not be distant - it likely will linger near its current home in Tuckerton until September, and then move somewhere to the south along the coast, but not too far. The truth is, we don't really know, other than knowing that Saltmarsh Sparrows winter along the mid- and southern-Atlantic coasts. They are detected on the Cape May Christmas Bird Count most years, though in reduced numbers from those recorded in the last century. Your pick of this youngster's wintering destination is as good as mine: coastal North Carolina, perhaps? The BNA online account of the species notes, "A hatch-year bird banded in Ocean Co., NJ, on 11 Aug 1933 was recovered Jan 1934 in Pamlico Sound, NC (U.S. Fish and Willdlife Service)."

Or it could wind up in Florida. . .or in the belly of a Northern Harrier or Cooper's Hawk.

1 comment:

  1. wow. ..I love the pictures of the birds... love it . thanks a lot for showing it to me...keep it up . .
    natural gas compressor