At Felix Neck, we have a volunteer that practices patch birding. For four months of the year, he birds daily at the sanctuary. This habit, called patch birding, allows for deep engagement with a place. Daily changes in habitat and species are evident and recorded, identification skills are improved, and increased knowledge of the flora and fauna results.
This idea resonates with me—going deeply into a place, knowing it, appreciating it, and caring for it. With his daily forays, he is usually the first to point out a limb overhanging a trail, poison ivy creeping too close to a bench, or find an unusual species to share with other birders.
In a world of big challenges, focusing on my patch feels important and manageable. The new crop of Fern & Feather preschoolers learning and exploring, Island schools' students taking field trips, making plans for property maintenance including replacing boardwalks and removing invasive species, and working with local partners on climate resiliency and education gives tangible results and provides for our community.
And through the state, Mass Audubon’s system of people caring for their patch leads to a patchwork of efforts that is collectively bigger than ourselves.
All the best,