Dusky Seaside Sparrow – It Was Very Good

Dusky Seaside Sparrow
Dusky Seaside Sparrow, P. W. Sykes

Dusky Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens)

The Dusky Seaside Sparrow was a non-migratory bird native to the marshlands of the St. John’s river and Merritt Island on Florida’s mid-Atlantic coast. The Dusky’s dark coloration and unique birdsong separate it from other seaside sparrows and marked it as a distinct subspecies.

The Dusky was categorized in 1872 and recognized as a subspecies in 1973. Its population saw a rapid decline throughout the 1940s and 50s due to the intense use of DDT on Merritt Island. The Dusky’s population was further damaged when the Island was flooded and then its marshlands drained. By 1979 only six specimens were known to exist.

Dusky Seaside Sparrow
The extinct dusky seaside sparrow, Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens.

The last six specimens were all captured with the hope that the subspecies could be saved through an intense breeding program, but all six of the specimens were male. These male Duskys lived out the remainder of their lives on Disney’s Discovery Island. The last Dusky Seaside Sparrow died in 1987.

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Author: Jonathon

Doesn’t mix well with polite company; his two favorite topics being politics and religion. Would rather be out cycling, swimming, running, or camping. Misspent his youth reading genre-fiction; today, he is making up for it by reading large quantities of non-fiction literature. The fact that truth, in every way, is more fascinating than fiction still tickles him.

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