© 2023 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Population Stabilizing For Critically Endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow

Courtesy: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

For the first time, a sparrow species has been bred in captivity and released.

The population of the ailing Florida grasshopper sparrow appears to be stabilizing. 

That’s after two years of a groundbreaking program aimed at rescuing North America’s most endangered bird from extinction. 

Some 300 captive-raised Florida grasshopper sparrows have been released on the Central Florida prairie, the only place on Earth where the tiny birds are found in the wild. 

Never before has a sparrow species been bred in captivity and released. Juan Oteyza of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the captive-raised birds are thriving. 

“The birds that are reared in captivity have much better survival. So in a way we’re helping them at one stage. We cannot help them at all stages, but we can help them at one stage of their life.” 

At last count the bird’s population was just over 100 — up slightly but still low enough to illustrate the many challenges facing the Florida grasshopper sparrow. 

Copyright 2021 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Amy Green
WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.