Bird Migration

Andrews Woods is located at the center of the most active crossroads of the Atlantic Flyway. Seabirds, shore birds, waterfowl, land birds, songbirds, and birds of prey all fly over the woods during their migrations. Located where Cape Ann's rocky headland juts out into the sea, the woods makes an ideal stopping point for these tired travellers.

Atlantic Flyway

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Mass Audubon writes in their letter of support: "Andrews Woods has a healthy mix of native vegetation that is a good food source and provides excellent cover for migrating songbirds to feed and rest during their spring and fall migrations. Also, many Massachusetts birds, although appearing to be quite common, are, in fact, thought to be in decline by ornithologists. Some of these species include Baltimore Oriole, Eastern Phoebe and Eastern Towhee, which almost certainly use Andrews Woods to feed and nest."

The letter continues: "One of the biggest threats to bird and wildlife populations is habitat destruction. Coastal habitats, especially, have disappeared at an alarming rate, making it difficult for native birds to successfully complete their migratory journey and to nest and rear young. We know that even relatively small parcels such as the Andrews Woods play a significant role as important habitat."

The open space plan of the Rockport Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee says that the bird list at Halibut Point Reservation (1/4 mile north of Andrews Woods): "...numbers 235 species, including northern goshawk, peregrine falcon, American golden plover, snowy owl, redheaded woodpecker, northern and loggerhead shrikes, white-winged crossbill, and grasshopper sparrow. The list includes a full representation of regular spring and fall migrant birds as well as pelagic rarities such as northern fulmar, great skua, and ivory gull."

The plan goes on to say that: "The fall migratory passage of seabirds along the coast of Rockport is spectacular, including flocks of double-crested cormorants, several species of scoters, and two species of eiders. Strong northeastern storms in November frequently blow into near shore waters, sometimes in the hundreds or even thousands migrating species such as common and red throated loons, red-necked and horned grebes, northern gannets, two species of cormorants, black-legged kittiwakes, razorbills, thick-billed murres, and black guillemots. The ability to view these pelagic birds and other more rare species from shore makes Rockport one of the most important shore birding locations in the state."