Focus on Massachusetts Shorebird Hotspots

Photo by Noah Henkenius

Focus on Massachusetts Shorebird Hotspots

By Noah Henkenius -- with help from several Massachusetts birders

With much of the state bordering the Atlantic Ocean and possessing a well-maintained coastal habitat, Massachusetts is a good place to find shorebirds year-round. During migration, many shorebird species will stop at various hotspots along the coast and further west in Massachusetts' inland region to fuel up for their trips to and from breeding grounds in the Arctic. Autumn migration in particular is strong for shorebirds in Massachusetts as birds tend to be in less of a rush and more likely to stay in a single spot for longer. Autumn is also the best time to find vagrant shorebird species. In the summer months, the famous Piping Plovers will breed in various spots throughout the Massachusetts coastline. In the winter months Sanderling, Dunlin, and Purple Sandpipers are common winter residents; occasionally migratory species will linger behind, especially during milder winters.

The following is a selection of some of the most notable hotspots within the state of Massachusetts for shorebirds. Not all of these hotspots will have shorebirds year-round, however, each can be considered a notable "shorebird destination" at some point throughout the year. Our main goal was to focus on hotspots that:

  • Have some way for the general public to access them (even if it is only from the roadside)
  • Consistently have high quantities of shorebirds
  • Locations that stand out as being "shorebird destinations" within their region of Massachusetts

While this list is not all-encompassing if you're looking for shorebirds in Massachusetts... These hotspots are a place to start.

North Shore

Boston Area

South Shore/South Coast

Plymouth County

Bristol County

Cape Cod & The Islands

Cape Cod




Connecticut River Valley

Worcester County

Honorable Mentions

Sunrise over the dunes

Barnstable, Massachusetts, US

Race Point

298 species

Marsh Trail

Barnstable, Massachusetts, US

Sandy Neck

278 species