Citizen Science at Felix Neck

Walant Family horseshoe crab citizen scientists at Felix Neck
 

The landscape and wildlife of Massachusetts is changing for a variety of reasons. Climate change, development, and invasive species, among other factors, are altering the Commonwealth’s lands and the plants and animals that depend on these habitats.

Taking inventory and monitoring of specific wildlife and plants provides us with information on how well our wildlife sanctuaries represent the biological diversity found in Massachusetts and provides information on changes over time.

Get Involved

Felix Neck offers many opportunities to participate in wildlife research and protection efforts as a citizen science volunteer.

We are one of many wildlife sanctuaries participating in the statewide wildlife sanctuary Inventory and Monitoring Project, which helps Mass Audubon evaluate and provide the basis for future conservation action though land management decisions, advocacy, and education.

At Felix Neck, we are focused on assessing the populations of:

Citizen scientists also carry out observations of:

  • Breeding birds; assist us with the monitoring and protection of threatened shorebirds, including piping plovers, terns, and oystercatchers
  • Help survey spawning horseshoe crabs
Want to volunteer?

To volunteer as a citizen scientist, please email us or call 508-627-4850.  We provide training for individuals and groups.


Osprey Monitoring

Ospreys are nesting all around the Island. This year, we have more than 50 volunteers monitoring nests on a bi-weekly basis to collect important data on these birds. Over the past few weeks females have been incubating—or sitting on—eggs, which take around 37-38 days to hatch.

Nest monitors and interested persons should watch—from a safe viewing distance!—for little heads popping up in the nest over the next few weeks. Once they have hatched, osprey chicks take around six weeks to fledge, which is the stage in their lives where they first learn to fly. As late July approaches, you’ll see the chicks “helicoptering” as they hover over of the nest, beating their wings to help them learn to fly.

To get involved in our Osprey Monitoring program, contact Savannah Lawson by email or by calling 508-627-4850 x9412.

Horseshoe Crab Surveys

Our horseshoe crab surveys have begun, and volunteers are counting these crabs as they come onto beaches to spawn during the new and full moons of April, May, and June at high tide. Our May surveys are nearly complete, but we are looking for volunteers to survey at Tashmoo and Sengekontacket Ponds in June!

Volunteers head to the beach to search for mating pairs, tracks, and nests formed by these ancient marine animals. The data collected during these surveys is submitted to the Division of Marine Fisheries, which uses the data to determine best conservation and management practices for horseshoe crabs and the horseshoe crab fishery.

To get involved in our Horseshoe Crab Survey program, contact Savannah Lawson by email or by calling 508-627-4850 x9412.

Coastal Waterbird Monitoring

Our Coastal Waterbird Program is looking for volunteers! If you have a few hours a week and want to learn more about shorebirds, become a volunteer shorebird monitor with Mass Audubon at Felix Neck. Learn about the seasonal birds that call our beaches home while contributing to one of our important citizen science programs. Training and equipment are provided.

To get involved in our Coastal Waterbird Program, contact Suzan Bellincampi by email or by calling 508-627-4850 x9400.

Odonate (Dragonfly & Damselfly) Surveys

Odonate surveys are beginning now! Odonates are the group of insects comprised of dragonflies and damselflies. These surveys begin at the end of May as odonates begin to emerge, and they are conducted every 2-3 weeks through September. Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn more about these incredible insects, identify various local species, and help us collect important data. Training and equipment provided.

To get involved in our Odonate Survey program, contact Suzan Bellincampi by email or by calling 508-627-4850 x9400.

Salamander Surveys

Salamander surveys kicked off in April and run through October. Volunteers conduct surveys every week to every other week, depending on the season. With two monitoring sites at the Felix Neck, we are always looking for help! Survey times and dates can be flexible to work with your schedule.

To get involved in our Salamander Survey program, contact Josey Kirkland by email or by calling 508-627-4850 x9402.