Birds of Nantucket

In this page, you will find the latest information and updates on protected species management on the Town of Nantucket’s beaches. Please check back on a regular basis for updates on restrictions and closures. 


If you have been out enjoying Nantucket’s beaches you may have noticed large amounts of dead seabirds washed up on shore. It is strongly suspected by wildlife officials that avian influenza is the cause of these significant mortalities. Avian flu is highly pathogenic but does not often infect humans, however it can be passed on to domestic animals so please keep all pets leashed while on the beach and do not permit them to interact with any dead birds. 
Please do not touch or move any dead, sick, or wounded bird you may find. Local wildlife responders will not take in wounded or sick birds at this time. June 27th, 2022

bird flu shearwater

Protection of Habitat

Symbolic fencing is required to protect nesting habitat for protected species. This fencing is used to mark the start of use restrictions on the beaches and water area around this habitat.

  • Pedestrians are allowed up to the edge of the fencing. Please walk as close to the waterline as possible.
  • All kites including kites for kiteboarding must maintain a 200 yard buffer to the edge of the fencing.
  • Vehicles including beach bikes must stay within marked vehicle corridors or observe any beach closures for vehicles.
  • All pets must be leashed.

Birds of Nantucket series 

An introduction to the birds of Nantucket. The description explains and outlines the features and characteristics of each species to help with identification. The ecology section described the feeding and nesting of each species. The Nantucket section explains where on Nantucket that each bird species might be found and gives local habitats that they prefer or good places to look for a particular species. A helpful photograph of each bird is also shown along with the scientific name of each bird, and if the bird is protected by either Massachusetts state or the Federal Government or both.

Contact Us

  1. Jeff Carlson

    Natural Resources Director

    Natural Resources Department
    2 Bathing Beach Road
    Nantucket, MA 02554

    Ph: 508-228-7230


    Monday - Friday
    9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

    Appointments available
    Answering machine updated daily with changes

    Staff Directory

There are over 120 birds listed here from regularly occurring birds to rarely sighted birds, however, this is not an exhaustive list.  More species will be added from time to time. Suggestions are welcome.  Please email Town of Nantucket Coastal Resources Technician at to suggest more species or add any additional Nantucket-specific information.

birds of nantucket logo