Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh, Mass Audubon Director of Bird Monitoring

Joan is Mass Audubon’s Gerard A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology. She has been watching—and learning from—birds for 35 years and was the Director of Bird Monitoring at Mass Audubon from 2006-2017. During her career she has focused on research that has direct implications for bird conservation. This interest led to enlisting hundreds of citizen scientists for the creation of the highly regarded Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 2 and two State of the Birds of Massachusetts reports.

She was a Farallon Island biologist where she studied Elephant Seals, Tufted Puffins, Brandt’s Cormorants, Western Gulls, and even did a little Great White Shark work. She went to graduate school in Georgia, where she studied Wood Storks, and was the former Director of Research at Cape May Bird Observatory in NJ. Her formative years as an ornithologist were spent on Great Gull Island, NY, home to the largest colonies of Common and Roseate Terns in the North Atlantic.

Joan has traveled extensively in the US (only missing OK, HI and KY) and Canada, Belize, Mexico, Ireland, Great Britain, France, Spain and Italy. While being particularly keen about seabird and wading bird ecology and behavior, Joan has never met a bird she didn’t love. She travels with an eye for culture as well as nature, and can think of no better way to spend a day than to be in a new place, with new friends, simply watching birds.