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)

The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, in partnership with Eastern Massachusetts Hawk Watch and with permission from the Cape Cod National Seashore, conducts a hawk watch at Pilgrim Heights in Truro.

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

Inverted horseshoe crab

In collaboration with the University of Rhode Island, the National Park Service, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and others, Mass Audubon has been surveying spawning horseshoe crabs on the Outer Cape. We need your help! Please volunteer today to help preserve these very special creatures.