MA Biologist Honored for Bird Island Restoration Work

Carolyn Mostello is the Coastal Waterbird Biologist for MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. Her work focuses on restoring populations of coastal waterbird species, including American oystercatchers, common eiders, common terns, and endangered roseate terns.

Through Mostello’s dedication—and that of her project partners—the roseate tern population within Buzzards Bay has increased by 37% over the past 8 years. Her latest accomplishement was overseeing the restoration efforts of Bird Island off the coast of Marion.

For decades, the interior of this 1.4-acre island have been turning into saltmarsh and salt pannes due to the coupling effects of an eroding seawall and rising sea level. These changes have caused common terns—which nest on the island’s beaches—to move inland on the tiny island, displacing the endangered roseate terns. Under Mostello’s guidance, the island can better withstand erosion and habitat has been reclaimed for terns.

For her efforts, dedication, and hard work, Mostello was honored with Mass Audubon’s inaugural Hemenway + Hall Wildlife Conservation Award. Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hall founded Mass Audubon in 1896 as part of their campaign to stop the commercial killing of birds for feathers in fashionable hats of the time. This new award bearing their names recognizes an individual for “success in the preservation, enhancement, and restoration of a New England species and/or their habitat, as well as an enthusiasm for sharing information about their efforts and a commitment to inspiring future generations of conservation professionals.”

Watch the above video of Carolyn Mostello and her work on Bird Island, shot in 2014, just before the revetment project.