Mass Audubon State of the Birds

Massachusetts State of the Birds 2013 cover

"Birds may be ranked among the noblest forms of life. Experience has shown that without species protection at the hands of man many species are likely to become extinct."
—Edward Howe Forbush, 1925, Birds of Massachusetts and Other New England States

In this State of the Birds 2013 report, we focus on that segment of our birdlife for which we arguably bear the greatest responsibility, namely, our breeding birds. These species depend on the land, water, and people of Massachusetts for rearing their young. They are uniquely affected, for good or ill, by the changes we have brought to our state's landscapes and atmosphere.

The focus of this closer look at our nesting birds comes from the 2011 completion of the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 2. When compared to the results of our first Atlas, which was completed in 1979, this second survey gives us invaluable insights into how the distributions of the birds that nest in Massachusetts have changed in the intervening 32 years.

We are the most complex and effective actors on the landscape, and there are things we can do that can help us maintain this precious resource for generations to come. And while each of the profiled species occupies a distinct habitat and faces its own suite of challenges in today's world, we also face those same challenges, and we alone hold the key to solutions that will sustain both our beloved human and breeding bird communities.

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"We should value open space and a healthy environment for many reasons. This State of the Birds 2013 report provides a detailed summary of how our birds are doing and offers some practical solutions to the challenges they face. It's not just about birds, though; birds simply point the way to a richer and more diverse landscape, which is something we need as much as they do." — David Sibley, Illustrator and Author