The saltmarsh sparrow could soon become a lot harder to find along the eastern North Carolina shoreline. Scientists say the species could be headed for extinction in the next 50 years.
Researchers at several universities along the East Coast have been tracking saltmarsh sparrow populations and say they’ve dropped about nine percent annually since 1998. Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Maryland/DC was involved with the study and says habitat loss due to coastal development and sea-level rise are the main factors contributing to their rapid decline.
“I think that management actions will have to be taken to try to save the marshes and to provide habitats for these birds. And Audubon has a suite of strategies we have devised and are starting to put into place on the East Coast.”
The small, stocky songbird, brown in color with yellow or orange markings near its eyes spends the winter in salt marshes from North Carolina to Florida. They’re commonly found at Fort Macon State Park and along the Morehead City-Beaufort Causeway. I’m Jared Brumbaugh.