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Northern Harrier flying
Northern Harrier © Kyle Wilmarth

Important Bird Area: Rocky Gutter Wildlife Management Area

Map of the Rocky Gutter Wildlife Management Area IBA site

Nominated By

Kathleen Anderson

Size

3,000 acres

Towns and Counties

Middleboro; Plymouth

Ownership

MassWildlife

Major Habitats

oak-conifer forest, palustrine woodland swamp

Land Use

hunting & fishing, undeveloped

Minor Threats

cowbird parasitism

IBA Criteria

  • Category 2: Sites containing assemblages of species characteristic of a representative, rare, threatened, or unique habitat within the state or region.
  • Category 4: Land Birds: The site is an important migratory stopover or seasonal concentration site for migratory land birds (e.g., warblers). Sites may also qualify on the basis of supporting exceptionally high densities of breeding species as shown from point counts or other surveys or if they represent "migrant traps" relative to surrounding areas. Strong consideration will be given to areas with consistently high overall species diversity.

Site Description

This IBA is rather uniformly flat with an elevation of 100 feet above sea level. The land is covered rather homogeneously by a 50-year-old closed canopy pitch pine-oak forest with interspersed depressions containing red maple swamps. Scattered small stands of white pine are found embedded in the general forest. The size of the area and its location in a region under tremendous threat of development makes this IBA an important area for all wildlife including birds.

Ornithological Significance

Among the many species of birds detected during Breeding Bird Surveys were 13 regional high-conservation-priority species, and 5 Massachusetts high-conservation-priority species. Breeding Bird Surveys have been conducted within this area in mid-June of three years 1985, 1991, and 1996.

Other Flora or Fauna of Significance

The South Shore Bird Club has noted Netted Chain Fern, Rattlesnake Plantain, Lady's Slippers, and Trailing Arbutus.

Data Sources

Breeding Bird Surveys by the South Shore Bird Club, 1985, 1991, and 1996.