Massachusetts supports populations and habitats of coastal waterbirds that are of global and continental significance, including nearly 15% of the world's population of Piping Plovers, 50% of the U.S. population of Roseate Terns, and some of the most important shorebird migration habitat along the Atlantic Coast. Our breeding colonies of Common Terns and Least Terns are regionally significant. Species such as Laughing Gulls, American Oystercatchers, Black-crowned Night-Herons, and Snowy Egrets are of management concern because of limited abundance or declining populations, restricted distribution, or specialized habitat. Massachusetts' coastal waters provide winter or migration habitat for hundreds of thousands of waterbirds, including Common Loons, Long-tailed Ducks, and Common Eiders. Our salt marshes support continentally significant breeding populations of Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows, one of the highest priority species identified in recent bird conservation strategies for the northeastern U.S. and Atlantic Canada.
Over the past 25 years, MassWildlife has worked with a growing network of landowners and other cooperators from state and federal agencies, county and municipal governments, private conservation groups, and universities to build and maintain effective conservation programs that monitor, protect, and restore populations and habitats of coastal waterbirds in Massachusetts. MassWildlife works to coordinate statewide conservation efforts and monitoring programs, compile and disseminate census data, restore and protect important coastal nesting sites, provide technical assistance to landowners and other cooperators, and use regulatory tools to protect breeding populations of state-protected rare species and their habitats.
Learn more about the Buzzards Bay Tern Restoration Program.
Read the most recent reports that summarize Massachusetts census data for Roseate Terns, Common Terns, Least Terns, Arctic Terns, Laughing Gulls, and Black Skimmers:
- Inventory of Terns, Laughing Gulls, and Black Skimmers Nesting in Massachusetts in 2004
- Inventory of Terns, Laughing Gulls, and Black Skimmers Nesting in Massachusetts in 2005
Report annual census data for terns, Laughing Gulls, and Black Skimmers using the Massachusetts Tern Census Form.
Read the most recent reports that summarize population monitoring data for Piping Plovers that breed in Massachusetts:
- Summary of 2002 Massachusetts Piping Plover Census Data
- Summary of 2003 Massachusetts Piping Plover Census Data
Report site-specific information on abundance, reproductive success, and limiting factors for Piping Plovers using the Massachusetts Piping Plover Census Form and following the Instructions for Completing the Massachusetts Piping Plover Census Form.