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Published on April 4, 2021

It's shorebird nesting season!

Information provided by

Martha's Vineyard Community Team

Shorebird Nesting Season is Underway

Five species of shorebirds are considered threatened or endangered in Massachusetts — the roseate tern, common tern, arctic tern, least tern, and piping plover. The breeding season for plovers begins in April and continues into August. Look for symbolic fencing and signs posted in nesting areas. 

To minimize human impacts and help shorebirds to hatch and fledge chicks successfully:

  • Be sure to stay out of wildlife protection areas.
  • Do not walk on erosion-sensitive sand dunes.
  • Be vigilant about keeping dogs and other pets on leashes.
  • Take away all garbage and food, which can attract shorebird predators.
  • Avoid flying hand-held kites and drones, and don't kite-surf near nesting areas; kites resemble predator birds.

PLEASE NOTE: Dogs (even when well-behaved) pose a serious threat to the survival and success of beach nesting birds, so it is critical that dog owners respect local laws that restrict or prohibit the presence of dogs on beaches.  Follow these guidelines to keep beach habitat and birds safe:

  • Always keep dogs leashed and under control.
  • Walk dogs at the water's edge, away from nesting areas.
  • Mind all fencing (twine and post) delineating habitat and feeding areas – even if you don’t see the birds, they may be camouflaged or hiding in the dune grass.

      More information about our shorebirds.

      Piping plover photo courtesy Lanny McDowell.