Background

black-capped chickadee illustration

In the fall of 2010, a group of Mass Audubon scientists, naturalists, policy specialists, and educators began working on an analysis of Massachusetts bird data from several studies. Our printed and online report, State of the Birds 2011: Documenting Changes in Massachusetts' Birdlife, was the result of that analysis, as well as this online data library.

In the fall of 2012, after the completion of the Massachusetts breeding Bird Atlas 2 and a new analysis of the USGS' Breeding Bird Survey, the same team assembled to reassess the data and update the status of the species that breed in Massachusetts. State of the Birds 2013: Massachusetts Breeding Birds: A Closer Look adds to our data library, and informs us as we work to protect the nature of Massachusetts.

State of the Birds 2013 uses data from:

  • the completed Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 2, data collected from 2007-2011
  • Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1 data, data collected from 1974-1979
  • the North American Breeding Bird Survey, data collected from 1966-2010, annually repeated breeding bird survey routes (24 in Massachusetts), and reanalyzed in 2011
  • the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's surveys for colonially nesting terns, gulls and other waterbirds

Status and trends of wintering and migrant species have not been updated since State of the Birds 2011. These data sources included:

  • summaries of the trends from the National Audubon Christmas Bird Counts in Massachusetts, from 1963-2008
  • 40 years of bird banding records from the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Plymouth
  • several other long-term sets of data compiled on selected groups of birds by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

The State of the Birds 2013 report focuses on our breeding birds, and uses focal species to highlight the challenges we face as we work toward recovery. As with State of the Birds 2011 it also includes:

  • detailed accounts of the overall population trends for the species
  • descriptions of the major threats facing Massachusetts birds
  • recommendations on how to reverse or stabilize some of the declines
  • actions that all of us can take to help our native bird populations, and
  • a reminder of the many benefits that birds bring to our lives

These State of the Birds data library web pages will be updated as we continue to monitor trends in Massachusetts birdlife. We believe that this is the most detailed and comprehensive analysis ever undertaken on the status of Massachusetts birds and that it contains important implications for the quality of human life as well as birdlife.

We urge you to peruse the site, and, if you are as moved by its conclusions as we are, we hope you will join us in taking action on behalf of our common wealth of birds.