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Montague Sandplains

Birding in Massachusetts

Montague Sandplains
Important Bird Area
Montague, Massachusetts 01351
Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area information sheet
Montague Sandplains IBA webpage

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Franklin County

Montague Sandplains
Coordinates: 42.567, -72.528
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Birds of Interest
This site qualifies as an IBA because of the presence of breeding Vesper and Grasshopper Sparrow and because of the presence of the following bird species with >1% of their range in Massachusetts: Eastern Phoebe, Wood Thrush, Gray Catbird, Blue-winged Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and Baltimore Oriole. Also, the following Partners in Flight High Conservation Priority Species are present: American Woodcock, Black-billed Cuckoo, Whip-poor-will, Chimney Swift, Hairy Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Veery, Brown Thrasher, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Indigo Bunting, Eastern Towhee, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Grasshopper Sparrow.

About Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area
Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area contains the state’s largest inland occurrence of a pitch pine-scrub oak natural community, a fire-adapted community that supports a diversity of rare plants and wildlife and other species of conservation concern. This habitat type occurs on large glacial outwash sandplains of dry, poor soils.

The property can be accessed from Hillside Road, Turnpike Road, Turners Falls Road, Plains Road, Lake Pleasant Road, and Old Northfield Road. Multiple pull-offs exist off of Old Northfield Road and Plains Road.
From Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area information sheet

About Montague Sandplains Important Bird Area
The Montague sandplains IBA consists of a 1,500-acre state wildlife refuge and unique ecological area, operated by the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. The “Plains” are a rare pine barren, which supports habitat for many rare plants and animals. The Montague Plains area is located on a large sand delta, formed more than 10,000 years ago when meltwater streams from the retreating glaciers emptied into Glacial Lake Hitchcock-a huge lake that covered much of what is now Montague and the Connecticut River Valley during the glacial period. The Turners Falls Airport is a developed part of the Montague Plains but still has remnants of a pitch pine/scrub oak plant community. Grassland habitat is maintained by mowing and burning as part of the airport maintenance requirements. Four species of grassland birds breed here including Grasshopper sparrows and Vesper Sparrows.
From Montague Sandplains IBA webpage