Mown Away

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)

This Savannah Sparrow perched on a rock facing a stretch of green that not long ago was a prosperous nesting habitat for its species and other ground-nesting birds. With help from Audubon Society veteran Rusty Scalf, Marina Supervisor Alexandra Endress had protected a half-acre of verdant greenery on the east side of the park, just south of the Flare Station, from the deadly blades of the mowing machines. See story. According to research by the Cornell bird lab,

In many parts of the species’ range, especially in coastal areas and islands, Savannah Sparrows tend very strongly to return each year to the area where they hatched.

This tendency is called natal philopatry. Very likely, this sparrow was hatched in this protected area two years ago. Now it’s back, looking to continue its lineage in the place where it was born. But management had no mercy for birds this year. Their birthplace has been mowed flat like the lawn in a suburban subdivision. The birds can’t build nests in a mowed lawn. And so this pretty little featherball perches on a rock and wonders where it should go and what it should do.

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)

More about them: Wikipedia Cornell Audubon In Chavez Park

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