WILDLIFE ON KIAWAH ISLAND

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WINTER "MARSH" SPARROW BANDING
Three species of coastal "marsh" sparrows winter in the salt marshes of Kiawah Island:  Seaside Sparrow, Nelson's Sparrow, and Saltmarsh Sparrow.  This group is considered species of high conservation concern due to their specialization of habitat that is considered spatially restricted.  It appears that this group may be particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise and loss of saltmarsh habitat along their wintering grounds along the southeast United States. 
 
The sparrows will be captured in mist nets placed in suitable saltmarsh habitat.  The nets will be deployed to coincide with high tide which will concentrate the sparrows into smaller patches of habitat.  Each sparrow will be indentified to species, banded, and a series of morphological measurements will be taken. 
 
A banding session was conducted in March 2010 to test the feasibility of capturing these elusive sparrows and four of them were succesfully captured.  The project began during the winter of 2011 with the objectives of determining habitat requirements, site fidelity, relative abundance, and distribution of the species.             
Results
Numbers in parentheses denotes recaptures.  All data is provisional and is not to be cited without permission.

SPECIES

2009-2010

2011-2012

2012-2013

TOTAL

Clapper Rail

-

1

3

4

Sedge Wren

-

4

-

4

Marsh Wren

-

13

4(1)

17(1)

Yellow-rumped warbler

13

-

1

14

Palm Warbler

-

-

2

2

Savannah Sparrow

-

4

3

7

Nelsonís Sparrow

2

115

39(13)

156(13)

Saltmarsh Sparrow

-

64(1)

24(28)

88(29)

Seaside Sparrow

2

106

245(107)

353(107)

Swamp Sparrow

-

1

2

3

TOTALS

17

308(1)

323(149)

648(150)