Saltmarsh Sparrow Research Initiative 2019 Plan

Saltmarsh Sparrow Research Initiative

Thanks to the Warren Land Conservation Trust, we have been able to document the breeding ecology of Saltmarsh Sparrows at Jacob’s Point for the past two years. We have safely applied leg bands to 148 birds and documented the specific locations within Jacob’s Point Salt Marsh where they build nests and forage. These vulnerable birds live nowhere else in the world than in healthy marshes on the east coast of the United States. Jacob’s Point provides critical habitat for their survival.

Female Saltmarsh Sparrow bringing an insect to her nestlings.

Our goals for the next three years are to:

1. continue to contribute to the science of Saltmarsh Sparrow ecologyas they face extinction due to rising tides and loss of habitat; we are collaborating with the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Project, URI’s Department of Natural Resources, US Fish & Wildlife Services, Brown University’s Artist-in-Residence Program, and the RI Department of Environmental Management.

2. expand the opportunities for field assistants who are interested in careers in Conservation Biology; thus far, our volunteers have gained valuable skills that enabled them to secure paid internships in five ongoing research projects across the country.

To meet these goals, we place temporary flags at nest sites, measure their elevation above sea level and monitor the survival of nestlings during flooding. We developed a website to recruit volunteers from the community and hopefully solicit funds to support students. We partnered with the Audubon Society of RI to act as a fiduciary agent. Please visit our website:

We are grateful to the Warren Land Conservation Trust for its dedicated conservation mission and for permission to access Jacob’s Point, since it is such a critical habitat for this local species that is struggling to keep its head above the rising tides.

Deirdre Robinson and Steve Reinert April 5, 2019

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