Friday, September 22, 2006

Cassin's Sparrow

On this day in 1961, a Cassin's Sparrow was netted and collected by Mabel Warburton at Island Beach State Park as part of Operation Recovery. The specimen ultimately went to the American Museum of Natural History in New York to have the identification confirmed. It was aged as an immature (Swinebroad 1966).

Cassin's Sparrow is a very rare vagrant in the East; there are a few records for the Midwest. One bird made it all the way to Seal Island, Nova Scotia in 1974; that was a spring bird (Tufts 1986). More recently, another turned up at Jones Beach State Park in New York in early October 2000. Two birds scarcely make a pattern of occurrence, of course. It is tempting to speculate, however, that if NJ ever gets another Cassin's Sparrow, a place like Sandy Hook would be as good as any for it to touch down.

Swinebroad, Jeff. 1966. Cassin's Sparrow in New Jersey. Auk 83:129. PDF here
Tufts, Robie W. 1986. Birds of Nova Scotia. Nimbus/Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Third edition.

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