Birds to Watch
Once considered among the most common and typical birds of the New England landscape, species such as the American Kestrel and Baltimore Oriole are now known to be declining significantly. Cliff Swallows and Barn Swallows are also on our radar as species that warrant our attention, as they appear to be decreasing across the Northeast. Though such species do not yet appear on any endangered species list, these birds are quietly slipping away.
Our efforts to protect rare species, such as Piping Plover or Bald Eagle must continue, but the decline of more common birds means that we must add a new approach.
In order to understand why common birds are declining, Mass Audubon created Birds to Watch. The goal of Birds to Watch is to protect declining bird species in Massachusetts before they become endangered by:
- Tracking populations of birds, which, though declining, do not yet appear on any endangered species list
- Enlisting the help of as many citizen scientists and bird watchers as possible throughout Massachusetts to help us record birds
- Working at the local level to gather information throughout the state rather than concentrating on biological hotspots
- Creating a web-based data entry system that makes it easy to contribute to the project and then to view the progress we are making
In fact, because of citizen science efforts at Mass Audubon, the Eastern Whip-poor-will, one of the inaugural Birds to Watch, was recently listed as a Species of Special Concern in Massachusetts, affording it more protection.
To help us—and the birds—please consider participating in our Baltimore Oriole, American Kestrel, and Big Barn Study (Swallows) projects. And, keep an eye on this page as we add more Birds to Watch.