Stellwagen Sanctuary Seabird Stewards

Since 2011, a devoted community of birders has helped pioneer a year-round, systematic seabird survey in the wildlife-rich waters of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Their efforts have helped reveal previously unknown details about these avian world-travelers and how they can serve as barometers of change in the marine environment. The Stellwagen Sanctuary Seabird Stewards have spent more than 6,000 hours (and counting!) collecting and analyzing data and reaching out to local New England communities to share their passion for seabirds and to communicate the importance of the sanctuary to birds and humans alike.

great shearwater on the water's surface with a fish in its mouth
Great shearwaters travel 12,000 miles a year to feed in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Seabirds like these help researchers understand ecosystem health. Photo: Elliot Hazen, under NOAA Fisheries Permit #14245


Volunteers and staff on deck posing for a photo

Volunteers and staff at the annual Christmas Bird Count. Photo: NOAA

northern gannet on the water

Northern gannet. Photo: Rob MacDonald

northern gannet on the water

Humpback whales and great shearwaters feeding on sand lance . Photo: Jeremy Winn, under NOAA Fisheries Permit #605-1904

two Stewards with binoculars

Two Stewards with binoculars. Photo: Jeremy Winn

yellow-bellied flycatcher rests on the head of a volunteer

Yellow-bellied flycatcher rests on the head of a volunteer. Photo: Evelyn Ganson