Nov 052012

6Dr. Katharine Parsons of Mass Audubon’s Coastal Waterbird Program will present a free talk on Thursday, June 19 at 7 pm. Come learn about the shorebirds that have returned to West Falmouth beaches.

Mass Audubon’s Coastal Waterbird Program is one of the most effective entities working to protect coastal birds and barrier beaches in New England. Launched in 1987 in response to declining populations of Piping Plovers and terns in Massachusetts, the Coastal Waterbird Program’s primary objective is to protect nesting and foraging areas throughout the state. Since its first year, the program has successfully helped to recover the Massachusetts population of Piping Plovers from 135 pairs in 1986 to 700 pairs in 2012.

Massachusetts is integral to the recovery of the federally threatened Atlantic Coast population of the Piping Plover, supporting roughly one-third of the breeding population. The Coastal Waterbird Program monitors and protects150 nesting sites on the Massachusetts coastline and protects approximately 40% of the state’s Piping Plovers, 50% of Massachusetts Least Terns, and 20% of Massachusetts American Oystercatchers.

In addition, the program is instrumental in the protection of Roseate Terns during the months after breeding when the birds are preparing for migration. Although the primary focus of the program at its inception was the protection of the most threatened species of coastal birds, today, the Coastal Waterbird Program advocates for the protection of the entire coastal ecosystem and serves as a model for integrated coastal resource management.