Breeding density and breeding phenology of Nelson's Sparrows (Ammodramus nelson) in saltmarsh and inland habitats
LE3 .A278 2013
Bachelor of Science
The Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni) is a small, secretive songbird that breeds in marsh habitats along the coast of Atlantic North America, and is strongly associated with saltmarshes in the Maritime Provinces. In 2012, I studied the breeding density and breeding season duration of Nelson’s Sparrows in both saltmarsh and inland wetland habitats at the Beaubassin Research Station near Aulac, New Brunswick. A total of 20 point count stations were selected, 10 stations within the boundaries of the saltmarsh habitat and 10 stations within inland habitats among freshwater marshes. Point counts were conducted beginning in mid-June, when it became apparent that the sparrows had returned to the property, through to late July (15 days over this period). During the initial 10 sampling days in June, there were consistently higher numbers of male sparrows singing (an indication of breeding) in the saltmarsh habitat than in inland habitats. However, no significant difference in breeding activity existed for the habitats during the weekly July counts. Although Nelson’s Sparrows at the Beaubassin Research Station will breed primarily in the saltmarsh, results suggested that they will also breed in suboptimal habitats located inland. Nonetheless, its apparent preference for the saltmarsh may allow the species to serve as a suitable bioindicator of saltmarsh quality across parts of Canadian Maritime coasts.
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