Listen & Watch For Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
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Fellow Floridians, how many of you have ever heard of the chirping of a Florida Grasshopper Sparrow? Here in Florida, the most endangered bird in the U.S. is the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow. It is believed that as few as 80 individual Florida Grasshopper Sparrows remain in the wild. The grasshopper sparrow is so rare due to a loss in its very specific habitat the Florida dry prairie (the dry prairie is developed by wildfires). The grass hopper sparrow is not the most stunning looking birds in the world but it is beautiful in its own right. While it is easy to raise money to conserve gorillas or pandas, raising money to conserve a little brown bird it very difficult in comparison. National geographic helped this bird get national attention. Conservation efforts are underway, in the video “most endangered bird in the us“, below:
For Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, please refer to the excerpt from wikipedia, in italics, below:
The Florida grasshopper sparrow is one of four subspecies of grasshopper sparrows in North America, and is perhaps the most endangered. Despite biologists’ best efforts, attempts at improving the declining population have been largely unsuccessful.
The grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) is a small [New World sparrow]]. The genus Ammodramus contains nine species that inhabit grasslands and prairies. The Florida grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus) is endangered. Adults have upperparts streaked with brown, grey, black and white; they have a light brown breast, a white belly and a short brown tail. Their face is light brown with an eye ring and a dark brown crown with a central narrow light stripe. There are regional variations in the appearance of this bird. Their breeding habitat is open fields and prairie across southern Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central America, with a small endangered population in the Andes of Colombia and (perhaps only formerly) Ecuador. The northern populations migrate to the southern United States, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Like many grassland birds, this bird’s numbers have declined across many parts of its range, including a 98% drop in New York State. The nest is a well-concealed open cup on the ground under vegetation. They forage on the ground in vegetation, mainly eating insects, especially grasshoppers, and seeds. This bird’s song is a buzzy tik tuk zee, resembling the sound made by a grasshopper. Unlike some other members of the Ammodramus family of sparrows, they will readily sing from open and exposed perches in the video, “Grasshopper Sparrow Song! Grasshopper Sparrow Singing ! Grasshopper Hopper Sparrow Sounds and Call“, below:
The Florida grasshopper sparrow is at the brink of extinction. At Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area in Osceola County in central Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is researching the sparrow with the goal of reversing its decline, in the video published in July of 2013, “Florida Grasshopper Sparrow“, below:
Since 2015, White Oak has worked with multiple organizations to conserve one of Florida’s most endangered species: the Florida grasshopper sparrow. This is their story, in the video “Saving Florida’s Sparrow“, below:
In the video “Fighting Fire Ants to Save the Sparrow, Interview with Wildlife Biologist, Becky Windsor“, below:
Note: orange oil is a very natural way to get rid of fire ants.
For more about Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, please refer to the excerpt from wikipedia, in italics, below:
As of 2017, there were an estimated 50-60 Florida grasshopper sparrows left in the wild. This shows a dramatic decline from 2004, when population estimates were 1,000. The population decline is attributed to hatchling predation by invasive fire ants, extreme weather flooding nests, loss of habitat, and competition with non-native species. This decline has prompted the initiation of captive breeding programs by the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation and White Oak Conservation. In 2015, 23 eggs threatened by nest flooding were transported to the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, where 21 successfully hatched via artificial incubation. By mid-June 2017, White Oak Conservation had produced 18 chicks from 3 pairs of adults that were born in the wild and their five offspring. Captive breeding has been hindered by diseases caused by an infectious gut parasite, though solutions are being worked on. Due to the subspecies’ possible extinction in the wild by 2018–2019, there has been some controversy over what to do with the remaining wild population. Some biologists support capturing all remaining wild individuals and using them in the captive breeding program for genetic diversity, while others state that these individuals should stay in the wild, as they are important in studying how this subspecies behaves and survives in nature. On May 9, 2019, FWC announced the planned release of captive-bred sparrows on public lands in Osceola County over the following weeks, in an effort to bolster wild populations currently estimated at fewer than 80 sparrows.
So keep your ears open for these Florida Grasshopper Sparrow and pay attention to the ground when you have heard them for they may very well not be up in a tree. Get rid of those invasive fire ants by using orange oil and help to preserve as much Florida dry prairie as possible, so we may all take part in helping to preserve these beautiful Florida Grasshopper Sparrows.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
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