Date: 10/22/18 5:00 am
From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...>
Subject: Swamp Sparrow messages at Ninestone
On Sunday, at Ninestone Land Trust, I knew something special had happened when Swamp Sparrows started popping up in an open field with dense tall grass. Of course, Swamp Sparrows are striking in their own right in feathers gray, red, and black. Of course they occur widely in Arkansas, especially in migration. I mean special because where we saw them. They were flushing from a glade area with dense tall grass, including lots of our natives: Broomsedge Bluestem, Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, Indian Grass, etc.

In past years this was a widespread habitat type in the Ozarks – glades. In the long era of control of all fires, glades have become overgrown with Eastern Red Cedars and native grasses lost. Less migration habitat squeezes populations into fewer and smaller areas. That equates to declining populations.

In case anyone missed the news, no more land is being created on Earth. If we are going to protect and recover bird populations, we must work with what we have and make it again suitable. This can’t be done everywhere, but where it can be done, it is the miracle work of conservation.

Swamp Sparrows we saw on yesterday’s field trip had found this field, available and suitable because of efforts to recover lost natural habitats. Meat on the bone of conservation is Swamp Sparrows in migration, in a big open field with tall cover of grasses, in the real Ozarks, a result of the fact that someone actually gives a damn about what all this conservation business means for the future.

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