Tips for Bird-a-thon Birding

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Massachusetts's migrant species are returning from their wintering grounds attired in their breeding finery, and many species are singing and displaying in fine fashion across the Commonwealth. You'll see a variety of species depending on your birding location and local habitat.

Where are the best places to spend time and what special birds should be looked for?

The following are a few basic examples:


Bitterns, ducks, rails, moorhen, snipe, marsh wren—best at dawn


Upland sandpipers, bluebirds, grassland sparrows, bobolinks, meadowlarks

Upland Coniferous Forests

Owls, red-breasted nuthatches, a variety of warblers, possibly lingering northern finches

Pine Barrens

Saw-whet owls, fish crows, hermit thrushes, brown thrashers, pine and prairie warblers

Salt Marshes

Egrets and herons, willet, other shorebirds, sharp-tailed and seaside sparrows

Tidal Estuaries and Mudflats

Waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls, terns

Sandy Coastal Beaches & Islands

Oystercatchers, gulls, terns, horned larks

Rocky Beaches & Headlands

Cormorants, scoters, eiders, possibly lingering purple sandpipers

Open Ocean (offshore) 

Gannets, sooty shearwaters, Wilson’s storm-petrels, possibly red-necked phalaropes