Photo: Deirdre Robinson
Our research project began informally in June of 2016, with the sighting of the color-banded Saltmarsh Sparrow (SALS) shown above at Jacob's Point in Warren RI, during a survey of all breeding birds for the RI Bird Atlas 2.0. Eager to know the history of this bird, we captured her in a mist net and recorded her unique USGS band number. The story of discovering her identity is described on the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program (SHARP) website in two articles:
Who is GR XO?
The designation GR XO refers to the color bands that she wears: Green over Red on the right leg; Aluminum X over Orange on the left leg. GR XO was captured and banded on her winter grounds on the west coast of FL on October 31st, 2015. She migrated north to RI in 2016 to breed and incubated four eggs, but fledged only two chicks.
Traveling approximately 1,243 miles (2000 km), this 20-gram (0.7 oz.) Saltmarsh Sparrow (SALS) set the world record for the longest documented migration for her species. Knowing how unique this species is, we mobilized to buy equipment and recruit volunteers.
With permission from the owners of Jacob's Point, the Warren Land Conservation Trust , we initiated a comprehensive, five-year study of the breeding ecology and survivorship of this species at the 35 acre (14-ha) site. Learn more about our work on our page about The Project.