Last updated: August 18, 2016
Cape Cod National Seashore's wildlife ecologist Bob Cook deploys camera traps around the park as part of the NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program. The primary purpose of the traps is to monitor mammalian species, but on April 20 of 2016, one of the cameras captured a few excellent images of an American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) in Salt Meadow, North Truro. A secretive part-time resident on Cape Cod, the camera trap images show a beautiful bird that is difficult to observe.
The American bittern is a marsh obligate wading bird in the heron family, protected under the United States Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. They breed in the northern US and Canada and winter in the southern US and Central America. Breeding has been confirmed in Salt Meadow. Bitterns, like most marsh birds, are particularly sensitive to changes in their breeding and foraging habitat and thus can serve as indicators of ecosystem health. NPS staff monitor tidal marsh breeding birds as part of the Inventory and Monitoring Program.
Learn more about the American bittern on the Audubon website
Download the full resource brief on the Marsh Bird Monitoring Program
Learn more about the Migratory Bird Treaty Act on the US Fish and Wildlife website