Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sedge wren still in park!!!

Photo by Lloyd Spitalnik 10/10/09

Photo by Ardith Bondi 10/10/09

and also

Today on eBirds, Phil Jeffrey wrote at 9:31 a.m.:

Seen briefly this morning along the fence line at the edge of the wood chip piles (not by me). Skulking in the asters.

[No need to specify what was seen. Everybody reading eBirds knows it refers to the SEDGE WREN.]

More info about this remarkable visitor, now in its second day in the park:

Yesterday, shortly after the news of a Sedge Wren in Central Park appeared on eBirds, Jack Meyer sent out an SOS to a few of his friends:

Please tell me I'm not the only one old enough (in birding) to remember when it was not Marsh Wren & Sedge Wren, but Long-billed & Short-billed Marsh Wren.. The Latin names are now completely different from my old (1947) Peterson, but by the description & pictures, they are the same birds (Sedge being the short billed).
[No, Jack, you're not the only one...]

Later I received an eMail from Tom Fiore :

Hi Marie,

Jack Meyer is right - the older English common name for Sedge Wren was Short-billed Marsh Wren. I believe the name change was made official in 1983 by the A.O.U. but there was usage of the epithet "Sedge" for that wren as early as 1955 in materials by the ornithologist Eugene Eisenmann... whose work in taxonomy and classification was ahead of its time in recognizing what is now commonplace, the so-called "splitting" of species into several "new" ones that are usually closely related.

The (now) Sedge Wren, Cistothorus platensis, is part of a "super- species" complex that includes many forms in South America & through Central America, where they are referred to by many as Grass Wren (same scientific name, though). There is much thought that the "Grass" Wrens of Central & South America may one day be split and there could potentially even be a number of different species involved, as they are found in a variety of niches, ecologically speaking.

The most recent previous record for Sedge Wren I am aware of for Central Park was of one I found in the wildflower meadow on August 14, 2005. There was a sighting in Prospect Park Brooklyn on Sept. 13, 2004.

The species has bred in parts of our area but is not as common as it may have once been. In our neighboring state of Connecticut it is now on the state's endangered species list, although at least a few pairs have been suspected of breeding. In New Jersey, the Sedge Wren was classified as threatened in 1979, and reclassified as endangered there in 1984. Currently, the sedge wren is a very rare breeding species in New Jersey despite the presence of apparently suitable habitat.

Because the species occurs in small, isolated populations, it may take a long time for it to recover from precariously low levels. Sedge wrens have suffered severe declines throughout much of the northeastern United States and are consequently listed elsewhere as endangered (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts), threatened (Vermont, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia), or of special concern (New York).

The sedge wren has been listed as a "Migratory Nongame Bird of Management Concern" by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1992.
Some Sedge Wren pairs have been found breeding in the Hudson valley region in NY in the last few years.

A nice find by STARR & friends this morning! A cooperative little bird in the bush, for once.