Volunteers Study Baird’s Sparrow

This Baird's Sparrow was recently captured and will be monitored as part of the project.

This Baird’s Sparrow was recently captured and will be monitored as part of the project.

After a nearly 30 year disappearance, the Baird’s Sparrow, narrowly escaped receiving “endangered species” status. The grassland bird breeds in the northern Great Plains, but overwinters in southeast Arizona. This is why Borderlands is studying the bird as part of a project funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.

Volunteers erect the mist net to capture the allusive Baird's Sparrow.

Volunteers erect the mist net to capture the allusive Baird’s Sparrow.

In January of this year, 18 volunteers headed out to the grasslands of the BLM’s Davis Pasture near Sonoita, AZ to learn more about the Baird’s Sparrow. Mist nests were erected, and birds were caught, fitted with radio transmitters, and released. “The transmitters will help researchers track them on a daily basis to find out what part of the landscape they are using and whether it was possible to identify Baird’s sparrow visually after flushing them out of the grass.  The latter is important for designing surveys for Baird’s sparrow, an important part of the grassland sparrow research program,” reported Randy Moore, a lead researcher of the project.

Randy Moore, project lead, scans the grasslands for radio waves transmitted by Baird's Sparrow.

Randy Moore, project lead, scans the grasslands for radio waves transmitted by Baird’s Sparrow.

In conjunction with monitoring the birds, BR is also monitoring grass species distribution and grass seed production used by the birds for winter forage. The results of the project will help guide restoration activities on critical overwintering habitats.

If you want to help support the Baird Sparrow project, check out our volunteer opportunities at the seed lab, where grass seeds are being counted and bird forage is being quantified.

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    The mission of Borderlands Restoration is to reconnect wildlife, land, and people in the Arizona/Sonora Borderland region by involving people in restoring the ecosystem on which we depend.

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