August 23, 2018
Grasshopper sparrows have returned to the Katama grasslands and pastures surrounding the FARM Institute, according to a press release from The Trustees of Reservations. The sparrows are a threatened species which had historically nested on the Katama plains and across the Island, but have not been recorded in the area since 2005, according to the release.
An ecological assessment conducted in late June by Trustees ecology staff to evaluate the farm’s habitat and natural resources led to the discovery of the species’ presence.
As sandplain grasslands began to be invaded by woody species of plants and trees, the sparrows vacated the area as it grew less suitable for nesting.
Trustees ecology assistant Caitlin Borck wrote in an email to The Times that seeing the birds is a good sign. “The fact that a small population used the FARM Institute’s pastures this summer indicates the birds liked the habitat, suggesting the pastures can be managed with grazing to encourage productive habitat for rare birds,” Borck wrote. “Without grazing, the habitat would not exist at the farm.”