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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ammodramus caudacutus
HABITAT: Tidal salt marshes along the Atlantic and upper Gulf coasts of the United States.
The Saltmarsh Sparrow’s life is intimately connected to the tides. With a nesting cycle of 23 to 24 days, breeding is synchronized with the 28-day tidal cycle influenced by the moon.
The bird’s marshy nest sites, built just above the high tide mark, are safe from flooding as long as the nesting cycle is completed between the twice-monthly high tides. Despite the tricky timing, this sparrow usually manages to raise two broods per season. Storms and more frequent high tides can lead to nest failures, though, with eggs and chicks washed away.