AP cites Olsen in report on saltmarsh sparrow research

The Associated Press cited Brian Olsen, an associate professor of biology and ecology at the University of Maine, in a report about the possible extinction of the saltmarsh sparrow. The Connecticut Audubon Society released a report announcing many birds in the state are suffering steady population declines because of a loss of nesting areas, and scientists say the saltmarsh sparrow could be extinct in 50 years, becoming the first avian extinction in the continental U.S. since 1931. Saltmarsh sparrows, which live in coastal areas from Maine to Virginia during the breeding season and migrate farther south in the winter, are disappearing on the East Coast, according to the article. Olsen, one of the researchers studying the bird, said the population has dropped about 9 percent annually since 1998. Besides sea-level rise, he blames structures such as roads and railways, which restrict the flow of tides to salt marshes and interfere with the sparrows’ habitat, the AP reported. ABC News and Portland Press Herald carried the report.