The Ipswich Sparrow Project

Sydney Bliss, a graduate student working with scientists at Dalhousie and Acadia Universities (eastern Canada), and scientists in Virginia, needs your help spotting banded Ipswich Sparrows. The Ipswich Sparrow is a subspecies of the Savannah Sparrow with a breeding population isolated to Sable Island, NS but a regular winterer along Maine’s coast.

Part of this research is a demographic study. They have banded 260 sparrows with colored bands and are now faced with the challenge of locating these sparrows again (“re-sighting”) on their wintering grounds in the eastern USA. They are a small team so recruiting citizen scientists (like you Maine eBirders) to help re-sight sparrows is essential!

Below is a poster that gives an overview of their research and explains how to report banded sparrows.

The Ipswich Sparrow Project Poster

Savannah Sparrow (Ipswich) – ML39531971

Where to look in Maine:

Almost all records in Maine for Ipswich Sparrows come from the coast. They favor sandy beaches and are often found along the edge of dunes but can be seen on rocky stretches of the coast as well. Cumberland County birders can reliably see them along the edge of the mowed grassy area or beach near Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth, or south along Ferry/Western Beach (Scarborough) and the dunes at Pine Point. York County records primarily come from Biddeford Pool, especially East Point Sanctuary or Biddeford Beach down to Fortune’s Rocks.