Roseate Tern with chick, Endangered.  Photo by Bill Byrne.
Roseate Tern with chick, Endangered. Photo by Bill Byrne.

Massachusetts supports populations and habitats of coastal waterbirds that are of global and continental significance, including over 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 migration and winter 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 United States.

Over the past 30 years, MassWildlife has worked with a growing number of cooperators from state and federal agencies, county and municipal governments, private conservation groups, landowners, volunteers, private consultants, 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 .

Massachusetts's coastal islands support dozens of nesting colonies of cormorants, gulls, and wading birds.  For more information read: Survey of Coastal Nesting Colonies of Cormorants, Gulls, Night-herons, Egrets, and Ibises in Massachusetts, 2006-2008  pdf format of Survey of Coastal Nesting Colonial Waterbirds in MA