Finding Sanctuary Close to Home

Sanctuary Director’s Message

We’re saddened that the threat posed by COVID-19 has required Mass Audubon to temporarily close its sanctuaries to visitors. I know how special our properties are to our members, volunteers, and friends. And Wellfleet Bay is in the truest sense of the word a sanctuary for many, especially during difficult times. And, wow, we are all going through a rough patch right now.

Silver Spring, Summer 2019 (photo courtesy of Elizabeth Brooke).

But really, what we are experiencing is beyond compare. In light of that, Mass Audubon made the very hard decision to take these extra measures for the next couple of weeks so we can do our part in helping stop the spread of the coronavirus and keeping all of us healthy.

Not only are these difficult times, they are unprecedented times. In my 25 years working for Mass Audubon, I have never known us to close the sanctuary’s grounds and trails to visitors except for major events like snowstorms and hurricanes—or Wild, Wild Wellfleet!

Until our Wellfleet Bay community can resume our normal interactions, I’d like to share a short reflection on one benefit of staying close to home.

If you’re not used to it, working from home takes a certain discipline and focus that takes some getting used to. My temporary office this past week has been in my kitchen. If I’m not distracted by the dust bunnies that need vacuuming or the dogs that demand petting, I find my gaze drifting up from the computer to the birdfeeders outside my window.

Today in between answering emails I noticed: several chickadees (or the same one over and over!), Tufted Titmice, a Song Sparrow, tons of grackles and robins, and one Red-bellied Woodpecker. I also heard, clear through the closed windows, a Blue Jay imitating a Red-tailed Hawk. While not a super impressive list, all of the birds I saw were so enjoyable and relaxing to watch.

I’ve always been a fan of sit-and-stay birding—choosing one location, slowing down, being patient, and observing life that unfolds around you. Birds are a lovely distraction right now and their cheery songs are a promise of all the good things the spring season has in store. 

And lo-and-behold, when I looked back at my email inbox this message from one of the Sanctuary’s long-time front desk volunteers appeared: “Soooo happy the bluebirds are back in my birdhouse. We, who are living in this beautiful part of the world, sure are lucky people.”

Yes, Shirl, thanks for that reminder, we are lucky—for our feathered friends, and our human ones too. 

Stay well, everyone. I hope the view outside your window also brings you comfort and encourages you to reflect on all that is good in your life. We look forward to hearing what you observe during this time of settling down and sticking closer to home—and we are even more eager to see you all again in person at Wellfleet Bay in the very near future.

Melissa Lowe
Director, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

3 thoughts on “Finding Sanctuary Close to Home

  1. Linda Mehl Bornstein

    Thank you for your lovely post.I admit I was devastated with the news of the closing of the Sanctuaries but I know it’s imperative.I will be watching my feeders and walking in the woods and trails of areas near me ( keeping my distance of course) here in Scituate.All the best to you Melissa.

  2. Diane Silverstein

    Your message was beautifully expressed! And thank Shirl for reminding us of all of the beauty around us! Here in central Texas, we are enjoying many birds at our many feeders! Black-chinned hummingbirds, golden-fronted woodpeckers, lesser goldfinch (getting more yellow by the day), and we even had a rare visitor for our area, a black-billed cuckoo! Our entertainment is watching our feeders and observing the beauty of the birds and our surroundings! Hope the Sanctuary will open again soon! Best to you and everyone

  3. Janet Young

    Dear Melissa,

    Your message this morning was perfect and made my day. I miss having a bird feeder, as I’m on the third floor of a condo, but I do have large bedroom windows that look out at the treetops and sky. So I often lie in bed in the early morning watching the changing colors and patterns of the sky and clouds behind bare branches as the day begins. It is incredibly beautiful and soothing and every day is different. And I am often rewarded by gulls, geese, buzzards, hawks and sometimes a huge flock of starlings crossing my field of view.

    All the best, Jan


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *