The Federated Church’s weather vane, a favorite perch of Edgartown birds and a shining beacon to sailors, was returned to the steeple on Thursday.

Actually it is a new weather vane but from 140 feet away, down on the ground, no one will be able to tell. Besides being an exact reproduction of the weather vane that previously stood atop the Federated Church (which was also an exact reproduction of the weather vane before it) the new one is shinier and sturdier.

The weather vane is 76 inches tall, and the banner is 72 inches long. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“When I asked [West Coast Weather Vanes] how long it would last, they said, ‘your building will go out before this wears out,’” said Bob Stone, a property committee member of the church who worked on the project.

Installing the weather vane took all morning, and by 1:30 p.m. steeplejack Frank Allard, from Dennis, and his partner were securing the compass points and attaching the banner. The 1987 weather vane had been removed in May, due to rust.

“Our weather vane had weathered so badly, it was in danger of falling,” said Bruce Doten, the property manager for the church. A substantial donation from the Vineyard Golf Club Foundation enabled the church to commission a reproduction.

Mr. Allard, who also took the weather vane down in the spring, is 76 years old and an avid surfer, according to the church members. In a brief moment when Mr. Allard wasn’t dangling from a crane 140 feet in the air, he said the installation was going well, but one piece of the puzzle was missing: set screws that would keep the pole from rotating.

“We don’t want the pole to turn,” said Mr. Allard. “The pole with south, east, north, west turning? The world would change direction.”

After the proper placement, time for a bit of painting touch-up. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Mr. Doten, along with Elizabeth Stone and Pastor David Berube, squinted up at the steeple in the bright morning light, watching the installation. The exact origin of the original weather vane is not known, but church members guess that the classic banner shape was selected from a catalogue around the time the current church building was created in 1828. The Federated Church traces its origins to 1642.

“It’s a traditional vane on a church,” said Mrs. Stone. “It’s not a pig or a goat or a this or a that.”

The weather vane is 76 inches tall, and the banner is 72 inches long. Each letter denoting north, south, east and west is nine inches tall. It is made of copper structural elements with a gold leafed banner, globes and letters.

Each iteration of the reproduction has been carefully copied from those that came before it, but the historical significance isn’t necessarily in the design, it’s in the presence of the weather vane.

“It’s a directional preceptor through the life and time of the church,” said Mr. Doten.