It is shaping up to be a big week for Vineyard birders, with two major ornithological events slated to take place both celebrating the birds that call the Island home and memorialize the species that have been lost.

On Friday at 6 p.m., the 40th annual Bird-a-Thon will take place at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. The event, happening across the state as a fundraiser for Mass Audubon, challenges participants to locate as many birds as possible in a 24-hour period.

“It takes place at the height of the bird migration,” said Felix Neck office manager Liz Cosgrove, making it ideal time for Islanders fill out their birding checklist.

Orioles, osprey and towhees will be among some of the most coveted species, Ms. Cosgrove said. Felix Neck will also be hosting a Saturday morning “bird sit” to teach the skill of identifying species by sound.

The count will last until 6 p.m. on Saturday, and those who wish to participate should call the Felix Neck office at 508-627-4850 to register or go to

At the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, birders can check rarer species off their lists with a visit to artist Todd McGrain’s Lost Bird Project, an exhibition of five statues memorializing extinct bird species.

“The project is all about making sure people don’t forget the things we’ve lost,” said curator of exhibitions Anna Barber.

One of the five sculptures, that of the heath hen, will be familiar to those who have seen the state forest heath hen sculpture, erected by Mr. McGrain to memorialize the last sighting of the species. He has also erected monuments to other species at the places where they were last sighted, from the great auk up in Nova Scotia to the Carolina parakeet down in Florida. As part of the exhibition, replicas of each of the five permanent statues will now reside on the museum lawn.

“Four out of the five species would have been present on the Vineyard when they were alive,” said Ms. Barber.

The passenger pigeon, Labrador duck and Carolina parakeet all would have made stops on-Island during their migration, though the flightless great auk never made it this far south.

The sculptures will be on display at the museum’s Lewis Lawn throughout the year until next May, with the exhibition beginning this Saturday.

Mr. McGrain will be present for an exhibition preview and reception on Friday evening from 5 to 7 p.m., which will feature a screening and discussion of his documentary, The Lost Bird Project, telling the story of his statues.

More information and registration details can be found at