Felix Neck's Conservation Work
At Felix Neck, we do a variety of conservation work, including—but not limited to—osprey monitoring, shoreline restoration, and coastal waterbird tracking.
Ospreys are a signature species for Martha’s Vineyard. These iconic birds are easy to see, breed on the Vineyard, and are a beloved symbol of the island. More than 80 nesting pairs of osprey grace the island during our spring and summer seasons and migrate south for the winter. Intense efforts by Felix Neck staff, researchers, and volunteers have led to their current success.
American oystercatchers, common and least terns, and piping plovers could easily be missed by any beach-goer. These birds nest in small depressions in the sand, blending easily into their environment, which makes them almost impossible to see. Though adult pairs have increased throughout the years, the productivity of these species is still low. Protecting nesting habitat from predators and disturbance is crucial to their breeding success.
In collaboration with the University of Rhode Island, the National Park Service, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and others, Mass Audubon is conducting a long-term survey of spawning horseshoe crabs. At a number of sites around the Island, scientists and volunteers will be counting the number of adult spawning horseshoe crabs on and around the new and full moons at high tide.
A salt marsh restoration project is using all-natural materials to protect and restore the shoreline at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. Threatened by rapid erosion and poor water quality in Sengekontacket Pond, the sanctuary is hosting a ‘soft approach’ to shoreline armoring that will create more natural habitat rather than transforming it to a hardened structure such as a seawall.