Nesting ecology of saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrows in a tidally restricted salt marsh
Date of Original Version
We investigated population size, nest success, and nest-site characteristics of Saltmarsh Sharptailed Sparrows (Ammodramus caudacutus) from 1993 to 1998 in a salt marsh near Galilee, Rhode Island. From 1956 to 1997, tidal flow was restricted in the marsh by construction of a road with small culverts, which resulted in conversion of the marsh from short- and tall-form cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) and marsh hay (S. patens) to one dominated by >5 m tall common reed (Phragmites australis). In fall 1997, self-regulating tide gates were installed to restore the historic tidal regime and vegetation. We documented declines in adult sparrow population sizes (17-25% annual decline) and productivity (48% annual decline) while the tidal regime was restricted. Nest success was variable (10-83%) before 1998, with predators accounting, and short common reed. After restoration, sparrows nested where vegetation was taller, which permitted greater nest elevation. However, 91% of nests failed due to flooding following installation of new tide gates. We hypothesize that restoration efforts will have short-term negative impacts on Saltmarsh Sharptailed Sparrow populations until salt marsh habitats are restored in higher sections of the marsh.
Publication Title, e.g., Journal
DiQuinzio, Deborah A., Peter W.C. Paton, and William R. Eddleman. "Nesting ecology of saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrows in a tidally restricted salt marsh." Wetlands 22, 1 (2002). doi: 10.1672/0277-5212(2002)022[0179:NEOSST]2.0.CO;2.