The Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis) was listed as an original member of the federal list of endangered species in 1968. It is restricted to seasonally flooded prairies of extreme southern Florida and is disjunct from all other conspecific breeding populations (Kushlan et al 1982, McDonald 1988). Since the subspecies was described in 1919, its populations have been discovered and rediscovered, often only to disappear or decline to a handful of individuals (Werner and Woolfenden 1983, Kushlan and Bass 1983). Although the sparrow historically is known from six distinct areas, at present only two of these areas support populations numbering in the hundreds or low thousands of individuals.
Debates swirl around the status of these remnant populations. The main controversy encompasses whether the sparrow, now largely restricted to Everglades National Park, is in jeopardy of global extinction and if so, what actions must be taken to prevent this from happening. In November 1998, a panel of scientists was assembled under the auspices of the Conservation Committee of the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) to evaluate the scientific evidence relevant to this controversy. The Panel was charged with scrutinizing the evidence for the existence and probable causes of global population decline in this subspecies, evaluating proposed management actions, and suggesting further research necessary to manage the remaining populations to maximize their chances of long-term persistence.
This document presents the conclusions of the Panel, which are based on our reading of the peer-reviewed and “gray” literature, interactions during a workshop held 9 to 11 February 1999 at Florida International University in Miami with researchers investigating the sparrow's biology, and site visits associated with the workshop. In addition, researchers provided the Panel with position papers summarizing their findings and conclusions prior to the workshop and provided information in response to specific questions following the workshop. Further information was obtained through public comment on an initial draft of this report.
|Title||The AOU Conservation Committee Review of the biology, status, and management of Cape Sable Seaside Sparrows: Final report|
|Authors||J. R. Walters, S.R. Beissenger, J.W. Fitzpatrick, R. Greenberg, J. D. Nichols, H.R. Pulliam, D.W. Winkler|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||The Auk|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Patuxent Wildlife Research Center|