Florida: A Sparrow Falls

A Sparrow Falls

Just six inches from tip to tail, the tiny brown birds made their home in a ten-mile coastal stretch of marsh near Titusville, Fla. When development from nearby Cape Canaveral began to encroach, they stubbornly refused to move, and their numbers declined relentlessly. Last week the last known Dusky Seaside Sparrow expired: Orange Band, a twelve-year-old male, was found dead in its + cage.

Scientists tried to save the bird from extinction by crossbreeding it with a hardier sparrow. But Orange Band died before they could complete the job, leaving five hybrid Dusky Seasides -- one of them seven-eighths pure.

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