Coastal waterbird conservation

Massachusetts is an important resource for coastal waterbirds.
Adult Piping Plover with chick.
Adult Piping Plover with chick. Photo by Bill Byrne, MassWildlife

Massachusetts provides habitat and supports:

  • 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 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 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.

Additional Resources for

Additional Resources for

American Oystercatcher Population Monitoring Reports

The American Oystercatcher Working Group seeks to develop, support, and implement rangewide research and management efforts that promote the conservation of American Oystercatchers and their habitats.  Read the most recent reports that summarize population monitoring data for American Oystercatchers breeding in Massachusetts:

Summary of 2011 Massachusetts American Oystercatcher Census

Summary of 2010 Massachusetts American Oystercatcher Census

Summary of 2009 Massachusetts American Oystercatcher Census

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