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The Ipswich sparrow. Protecting our Coastlines. By: Leah Wagner, Seth Cole, Evan Stuart, Avery Maskell, Lauren McAuley Mentor: Kirsten Weagle. Coastal Birds. Nova Scotia is home to many species of costal birds

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The ipswich sparrow

The Ipswich sparrow

Protecting our Coastlines

By: Leah Wagner, Seth Cole, Evan Stuart, Avery Maskell, Lauren McAuley Mentor: Kirsten Weagle

Coastal birds
Coastal Birds

Nova Scotia is home to many species of costal birds

  • Coastal birds play a vital role in our ecosystems

  • they eat all those pesky bugs like mosquitoes and

  • they spread plant seeds.

  • Some kinds of coastal birds of Nova Scotia are piping plovers, terns, Ipswich sparrows, and cormorants.

The ipswich sparrow1
The Ipswich Sparrow

  • Larger than the common Eastern Savannah Sparrow, with brown upper feathers and a white belly

  • Threatened species

  • No protection plan currently in place

  • Exclusive to Sable Island, NS

  • Only bird that breeds on the Island

  • Feeds on seeds and insects

  • Estimated population 3000-6000

  • Nests by digging hole in dunes

    and filling them with grass

Habitat migration
Habitat & Migration

  • Estimated population 3000-6000, all living in NS

  • Summers on Sable Island

  • Migrates to coastal Nova Scotia, and as far south as Northern Florida

Summer habitat

Winter habitat

Sable island
Sable Island

  • located 300 kilometers southeast of Nova Scotia

  • 42 km long and 1.5 km wide

  • Mild climate ( -13 to 25 degrees)

  • Home to hundreds of feral horses, seals, and the threatened Ipswich Sparrow

  • Current development:

  • 4- man weather station

Declining population
Declining Population

  • Limited breeding area

  • Erosion of nesting grounds

  • Low population to start

  • Coastal Development near winter habitat

  • Human recreation

  • Eggs and young preyed by gulls

  • Sensitive to weather changes when migrating

Sable island development
Sable Island Development

Sable Island is proposed to be made a National park

This could mean :

  • More frequent visitors

  • Possible campsites on the island

  • Boaters coming to the island

  • General human disturbances and development

  • Government management plans

Could this be another threat to the Ipswich Sparrow?

The piping plover example
The Piping Plover Example

  • The piping plover situation can be compared to the Ipswich sparrow

  • Due to human activities and costal development the Piping Plover is currently listed as endangered

  • Nesting grounds destroyed by humans

  • Population declined more than 50% between 1986 and 2001

  • Only 5900 left

  • History repeats itself

  • Research, manage, educate

  • Time is of the essence

What can be done
What can be done?


  • Install secure nesting boxes in breeding areas

  • Educate the public of winter habitations on our beaches

  • Install sand fences and plant dune grass to slow erosion on the island

  • Install fencing around nesting habitats that people will notice.

  • Create suitable nesting areas away from any human activity

  • Get a real number : count the actual number of birds left, and watch for population changes ( It is currently not known the exact population)

  • Track the population of the Ipswich

What can be done1
What can be done?

When Sable Island becomes a National Park:

  • Place warning signs around nesting areas.

  • Do not leave trash or food around nests as it attracts gulls that prey on eggs

  • Limit access to nesting grounds

  • Secure nesting boxes to protect against predators

  • Ensure vehicles are not driven around nesting areas and encourage nesting in safe areas

  • Ensure an official management plan is in place

Why protect the ipswich
Why Protect the Ipswich?

  • A vital part of the ecosystem, which is like a puzzle: Lose a piece and you miss the finished picture

  • Protect before the Ipswich becomes endangered

  • Every species plays a role which, no matter how unnoticeable, is essential to all life in the area

  • Unique to Nova Scotia

  • This bird has no other home, so this one must be preserved

    If it is, everyone will be able to enjoy the wild horses and this little songbird!