Article - Spring 2018

Of a Fire on the Marsh

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The last days of the dusky seaside sparrow, a species that went extinct when it lost out to the moon race

By Parker Bauer | March 5, 2018
Dusky seaside sparrow (right) and a cross (50 percent dusky, 50 percent Scott’s seaside sparrow) at the dusky aviary in Gainesville, Florida (Mike Delany)

There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. —Hamlet


In all my life, it might be the thing I’ve looked for hardest, apart from unrelenting love. A bird: not big or bright, no bird of paradise, no pheasant of Tibet. Instead, a sparrow, a meager lump not quite come into focus in a misty lens. I saw it only once, half a lifetime ago. It’s haunted me ever since, hag of my heart.

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