Wellfleet Bay's Conservation Work

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is actively involved with a variety of research projects that relate to wildlife monitoring, research, restoration, and conservation on the Outer Cape. Many of the projects focus on endangered or threatened species, or those that have declining populations. Current, on-going projects include:

  • Protecting terns and plovers in the Coastal Waterbird Program
  • Monitoring diamondback terrapins
  • Surveying horseshoe crabs
  • Mapping nesting ospreys
  • Counting migrating hawks
  • Restoring shellfish habitat
  • Rescuing sea turtles

While we have dedicated science staff, the efforts of citizen science volunteers provide critical support to our science department, as well as to the wildlife themselves. 

Terrapin hatchling emerging from shell

Wellfleet Bay is home to the most northerly population of the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin). Through our conservation work, we hope to protect this enigmatic species and the salt marshes it calls home. Learn More >

Northern Harrier © Shawn P. Carey, Migration Productions
Northern Harrier © Shawn P. Carey, (Migration Productions)

Wellfleet Bay, in partnership with Eastern Massachusetts Hawk Watch and with permission from the Cape Cod National Seashore, has been conducting a spring hawk watch at Pilgrim Heights in Truro since 1998. Learn More >

Mass Audubon staff member examining a sea turtle © Esther Horvath
Mass Audubon staff member examining a sea turtle © Esther Horvath

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is working to help stranded sea turtles on Cape Cod. You can also help by reporting strandings. Learn More >

Group of horseshoe crabs

Horseshoe crabs have been crawling ashore on Cape Cod to mate on full moon nights for about 350 million years, and Mass Audubon seeks to ensure this ancient rite of spring continues. But increased harvesting of these fascinating animals threatens their population. Please volunteer today to help preserve these very special creatures. Learn More >