“Alameda” Song Sparrow

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My attempt at the threatened saltmarsh “Alameda” Song Sparrow (M.m.pusillula) of the South San Francisco Bay. It differs in appearance from the widespread inland race (M.m.gouldii) in having a grayish base color, yellowish belly and under wing coverts, as well as a smaller bill. It is restricted to the pickleweed salicornia and native spartina grass portions of the dwindling tidal marsh. It, along with M.m.maxillaris of Suisun Bay, and M.m.samuelis of San Pablo Bay are all birds of special concern—limited in range and in danger of being lost if development continues in their bay front habitat. If you’ve ever wondered if subspecies are truly different from each other, consider the fact that all three of the saltmarsh populations are able to drink saltwater, while the inland varieties that approach the bay cannot. They are each quite unique, adapted beautifully to their specific habitats, and well worth the effort to protect.

 

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