Delivered at 2008 Boston Harbor Islands Science Symposium
Gaining insight into the long-term trends of coastal breeding birds provides one measure for assessing the ecological integrity and sustainability of this unique coastal system. A long-term monitoring protocol for coastal breeding birds in the park was developed in 2007. The objectives of this protocol are to:
- quantify annual variation in the long-term abundance of high priority coastal breeding bird species (Least Terns, Common Terns and American Oystercatchers)
- conduct an annual surveillance program within the park to identify future use by threatened or endangered coastal breeding bird species, such as Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) or Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii). Neither of these species currently nest in the park, but could in the future. Thus, management agencies should be vigilant, as both species are listed on the federal endangered species list.
- determine long-term trends in species composition and relative abundance of priority coastal breeding bird species: Double-crested Cormorant, gulls, wading birds, Common Eider (Somateria mollissima), Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia), and Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus)
- provide information that can be used to improve our understanding of the relationship between coastal breeding birds, their habitat, and management actions.
Volunteers assisted in conducting waterbird surveys in the park in 2007 and 2008. The use of volunteers to implement this program offers an opportunity to the community to be involved in ongoing research efforts on the islands. Results of the 2007 and 2008 field seasons will soon be shared.