Captive-raised Florida sparrows breed in wild

Biologists have discovered hatchlings in the nests of eight captive-bred Florida grasshopper sparrows with babies in the wild so far this year. Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The effort to restore the endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus) to the wild has achieved a major milestone. Captive-raised birds released last year are beginning to breed, and at least two released sparrows have fledged, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services says.

“When we released them we had hopes, but we didn’t really know what would happen, if they would act like normal birds, if they would forage, if they would make it through the winter, and if they did if they would behave normally during the breeding season,” the USFWS’ Mary Peterson told Florida public radio station WMFE.

Before reintroduction efforts, only about 80 Florida grasshoppers remained in the wild. About 150 have been released in the wild since last year.

Read more from WMFE.