Status of the Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) in Quebec – Long Descriptions
Source document: Status of the Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) in Quebec
The breeding range of the Grasshopper Sparrow extends from extreme southern Canada--southcentral British Columbia to southwestern Quebec--as far as the southern United States--from Texas to the East Coast, but not the southeastern states. Disjunct breeding populations are also found in California, southern Idaho, southwestern Wyoming, southcentral Arizona, central Florida, as well as Central America and the Caribbean. The Grasshopper Sparrow overwinters in the southern United States and south as far as Costa Rica, as well as the Caribbean, from Cuba to the Bahamas.
The Grasshopper Sparrow has been observed in Quebec during the breeding season in the southern Outaouais region, from Chichester (north of Île aux Allumettes) in the west to Saint-Sixte (north of Thurso) in the east. It is also known to frequent sites in the southeastern Laurentians from Lachute in the west to Saint-Jérôme in the east; the Montérégie region, from Saint-Marc-sur-Richelieu in the northeast to Powerscourt in the south and Sainte-Marthe in the west, as well as the Centre-du-Québec region. Two sightings have also been reported just north of the St. Lawrence River: between Trois-Rivières and Quebec City, and in La Pocatière.
The map clearly shows that the highest abundance of the Grasshopper Sparrow in North America is located in the midwestern United States, between North Dakota and Kansas, where the mean number of birds detected per 50-station route was greater than 13 birds per route. By comparison, species abundance in all of the Canadian provinces, including Quebec, is generally less than one bird per route.
The map shows that the Grasshopper Sparrow declined by more than 1.5% annually in almost its entire breeding range during this period, except in a few regions, such as southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, north of Lake Huron in Ontario, western California, northern and central Montana, central Wyoming, northern and southern Texas and Oklahoma, as well as certain small areas in the southeastern United States.
The figure shows the change in Grasshopper Sparrow populations in Canada from 1968 to 2007. Species abundance remained relatively stable from 1968 to 1988 (despite sometimes quite marked inter-annual fluctuations) and then declined steadily from 1988 to 1999, when abundance dropped from a mean of approximately 0.4 individuals per BBS route to less than 0.1. Abundance then remained relatively stable from 1999 to 2007.
Birdwatchers in Quebec only started regularly reporting Grasshopper Sparrow observations in 1969. Fewer than six records were filed every year from 1969 to 1980, after which the number of records then fluctuated between one and 17 until 2003. It climbed thereafter to 31 in 2004 and 33 in 2005, dropping to stabilize at two records annually in 2007 and 2008.
Whereas approximately half of the sites occupied by the Grasshopper Sparrow in the southern Outaouais region since 1961 were abandoned during the 2004–2008 period, the vast majority of sites east of Gatineau were abandoned during the same period.
This figure shows two things. First, it shows that two-thirds of the 39 sites occupied by the Grasshopper Sparrow during the 1989–1998 decade were abandoned by the species during the 1999–2008 decade. It also shows that, of the sites occupied during the two decades, the maximum number of birds observed decreased at eight of the sites and increased at the other six.
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