Sedge Wren, Endangered.  Photo by Chris Buelow.
Sedge Wren, Endangered. Photo by Chris Buelow.

Several species of freshwater marshbirds are of conservation concern in the northeastern U.S. because their populations and habitats are in decline.  Adding to the challenges of marshbird conservation is the fact that many species of wetland birds are detected so infrequently during existing standardized bird surveys, such as the North American Breeding Bird Survey, that useful data on local or regional trends are lacking.

In Massachusetts, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) lists several species of marshbird under regulations pursuant to Massachusetts' Endangered Species Act (MESA; 321 CMR 10.00).  The Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) maintains a database on occurrences of state-protected species of rare marshbirds and relies heavily on voluntary reports from birders as a source of data.  Documentation of state-listed marshbird species help the NHESP monitor their status and protect them and their habitats through MESA and the Wetlands Protection Act regulations (310 CMR 10.00).  Marshbird habitat may also be protected through land donation or purchase, and may be improved by active management, for example by manipulating water levels or controlling exotic vegetation such as purple loosestrife or Phragmites.

Please Report Observations of MESA-listed Marshbirds!

The NHESP is interested in receiving reports of observations of state-listed marshbird species, listed below, during the breeding season (May 1st - August 15th) to help in marshbird conservation efforts.

To report observations of these species during the breeding season, please submit information through the online Vernal Pool and Rare Species Information System or by submitting an NHESP Animal Observation Form pdf format of NHESP Animal Observation Form .  When reporting observations of rare marshbirds to NHESP using the paper form, please be sure to include a copy of a USGS topographic map or aerial photo on which the locations of your sightings are clearly and accurately plotted.

Please Report Observations of Sora and Marsh Wren!

The NHESP is also interested in receiving reports of observations of some non-listed marshbird species, such as Marsh Wren and Sora. These species are uncommon in Massachusetts but are not listed under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act .  

To report observations of these species during the breeding season (May 1st - August 15th), please submit information through the online Vernal Pool and Rare Species Information System or by submitting an NHESP Animal Observation Form pdf format of NHESP Animal Observation Form .  When reporting observations of rare marshbirds to NHESP using the paper form, please be sure to include a copy of a USGS topographic map or aerial photo on which the locations of your sightings are clearly and accurately plotted.