The Coastal Center at Milford Point

Purple Martins, Live from Milford Point!



Thanks to the generosity of Phil Donahue, the film producer and former television talk-show host, we are able to bring you live video of the Purple Martin colony at the Milford Point Coastal Center.

Click HERE to see live streaming of the Purple Martin nests.









Hummingbird Season! Send Us Your Sightings, Post Your Photos

Nestlings at Hammonasset, by William A. Canosa

Nestlings at Hammonasset, by William A. Canosa

Young Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are fledging, and they and their parents will be visiting feeders and colorful flowers more and more in coming weeks.

We want to know when and where you see them!

Click here for all the details




Osprey Cam

Live from the Coastal Center at Milford Point … the first baby hatched shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 7. Unfortunately the two other eggs did not hatch (unhatched eggs are not uncommon), so the Milford Point Ospreys have one nestling to raise this year. The good news is that with only one mouth to feed, the young bird is growing fast.


If you’re a fan of our Osprey Cam, consider joining Connecticut Audubon Society; if you are already a member, please make a donation to help us continue to provide this high-quality live video.

Ospreys have been using the nesting platform at the Coastal Center since 1997. Its location, in the middle of the 840-acre Charles E. Wheeler Salt Marsh, allows the Ospreys to easily feed and care for young. The Coastal Center has re-opened following repairs to damage caused when a pipe burst in February; it offers visitors fantastic views of the raptors from the large viewing windows or the observation tower or platforms.

Let us know what you see and think, in the comments below (we approve each comment before it is published so it may take a while before you see it appear).

We thank our Osprey Cam sponsor!

You may also be interested in learning more about our Osprey Nation citizen science program. Enjoy!

Become a member of the Connecticut Audubon Society

Join Now!
or, if you are already a member,

Become a Sustaining Member!

2016 Big Day

Big Sit! 2014








The results are in. Frank Gallo and his team traveled throughout Connecticut on Sunday counting birds to raise funds for our Milford Point Coastal Center.

Their total: 179 species, about eight below their average (Frank says it was a slow migration day with few lingering ducks).

Still, 179 is a lot of birds!

We sincerely thank the team – Dave Provencher, Patrick Dugan, Dave Tripp, and Fran Zygmont, in addition to Frank. They worked hard and had fun doing it.

Support Them by Making a Pledge!


Your help can make the Coastal Center at Milford Point better than ever!

Dear Friends,

I promised a progress report for the Coastal Center at Milford Point and I’m happy to say that the hard work of our contractors, staff and volunteers is paying off.

The contractors have erected the wall frames and are installing the drywall, and they’ve replaced the baseboard trim. Electricians are putting in new outlets and running Internet wiring. We’ve reviewed estimates for carpeting, and I expect it to be installed in the coming week or two.

Milan Bull, our senior director of science and conservation, visited yesterday and is working with technicians to install new equipment for our Osprey Cam.

The response to our call for help earlier this month was large and gratifying. Many of you made donations or became members, and many others offered your volunteer time and labor. Thank you!

If you haven’t made a donation and want to help, please do!  You will have the satisfaction of knowing that your contribution has helped make our great Coastal Center better than ever!

Yes! I Want to Support the Coastal Center!

Thank you!

Cathy Hagadorn
Center Director


General Information

Coastal Center at Milford Point

Coastal Center at Milford Point

Connecticut Audubon Society’s Coastal Center at Milford Point is located on an 8.4-acre barrier beach and is situated next to the 840-acre Charles Wheeler Salt Marsh and Wildlife Management Area at the mouth of the Housatonic River.  The Coastal Center promotes the awareness of Long Island Sound’s ecosystem, the birds and habitats it supports, and its preservation needs; and provides access to Long Island Sound and its many habitats: tidal salt marshes, barrier beaches, tide pools, and coastal dunes.  The Coastal Center is a bird-watcher’s paradise – 315 species have been seen here, including many rarities. The Coastal Center offers a full range of educational programs and many events for families, children, and adults.  The Coastal Center provides educational exhibits, a tide pool demonstration tank, a salt-marsh laboratory, and program and meeting rooms. The Coastal Center’s grounds contain the 8-acre Smith-Hubbell Wildlife Refuge and Bird Sanctuary, a boardwalk and observation platform with interpretive signage, and a 70-foot covered observation tower for panoramic vistas.  Viewers from around the world watch the Center’s seasonal Osprey Cam, operated from our 18-foot tall nesting platform.


Join our Volunteer Team!

At the Connecticut Audubon Society, we believe that every person can make a positive difference in protecting and preserving our environment. By volunteering at our Coastal Center at Milford Point, you can help promote understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of our natural world. We have a variety of volunteer opportunities available for people of all interests and experience levels, including working at the front desk as a receptionist, in the exhibit room as a docent, or outdoors on the nature sanctuary in various capacities.

If you are interested in becoming a Coastal Center Volunteer, click here to download a printable application form. Please email the form to Louise Crocco, Office Manager, at, or come on in to the Coastal Center and deliver it in person! We’re located at 1 Milford Point Road in Milford, CT. We look forward to seeing you soon. 


Education Programs

Science in Nature

Connecticut Audubon Society’s Science in Nature programs consist of hands-on, inquiry-based activities that relate to earth and life sciences, ecology, conservation and citizenship. Each program is aligned with the state’s science, math and literacy standards. These programs are an invaluable resource for building student and teacher learning capacity by providing opportunities to enhance critical thinking skills, using and designing models, and developing evidence-based explanations of natural phenomena. Click here for the full curriculum palette, brochures, and program design. 

School Programs (for children ages 3 and above).

Our professional naturalists and educators offer a wide range of programs that can be delivered at our Center, or in your classroom or schoolyard.  

Click here for program descriptions and a copy of our school program flier. To schedule a program or for more information, call use at 203-878-7440, ext. 502.

Preschool Programs

The Coastal Center also offers programs tailored for preschools. Click here for a pre-K program flier.

After School Programs

The Coastal Center currently presents after school program series in nearly all the elementary schools in Milford, and in other area towns.  For more information about our hands-on dynamic programs,  click here for copy of our after school program flier.

Birthday Parties

Look no further! CAS’s Coastal Center at Milford Point is the perfect place to hold your child’s next birthday party! Our staff has designed a wide range of “theme” parties to provide your child and their friends with a memorable and fun hands-on learning experience. Call 203-878-7440  for details or click here for our birthday party brochure.

Brownie, Girl Scout, Cub Scout & Boy Scout Programs

Our updated scouting programs are 60-90 minutes long and are designed to help scouts earn their badges and learn about the environment. 

Click here for our new Girl Scout & Brownie Programs brochure, or click here for our new Boy Scout & Cub Scout Programs brochure. Call 203-878-7440 for more information or to book a program for your scout today! 

Events at the Coastal Center at Milford Point

News and Announcements

Burst Pipes Close the Coastal Center (But Not the Preserve): A Note from the Coastal Center Director

Dear Friends and Visitors to the Milford Point Coastal Center,

During the extreme cold over the weekend of February 14, one of the pipes at the Coastal Center burst, causing extensive water damage.

During repairs, the preserve surrounding the building remains open. That includes the parking lot, the parking lot observation platform near the marsh, and the boardwalk and observation platform leading to and overlooking the beach and Long Island Sound.

But the building itself, the observation tower and the yard immediately surrounding the building are all closed while we work hard to make the repairs.

Thank you for your positive thoughts and support as we repair and prepare for a grand reopening soon.

Best regards,

Cathy Hagadorn
Director, Milford Point Coastal Center

New Director of the Coastal Center at Milford Point


Cathy Hagadorn, the new director of the Coastal Center at Milford Point. Photo copyright Connecticut Audubon Society.

The Connecticut Audubon Society is pleased to welcome Cathy Hagadorn as the new director of the Coastal Center at Milford Point. A longtime education manager at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk and an expert in the ecology of Long Island Sound, Cathy will oversee all of the programs, events and activities at the Coastal Center, which sits prominently on the east side at the mouth of the Housatonic River.  Well-known among birders, anglers, summer campers and school teachers, the Coastal Center is among the busiest of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s centers.

“We are thrilled to have Cathy join our staff,” said Alexander Brash, president of the Connecticut Audubon Society. “She brings a wonderful  combination of talent and experience – educator, naturalist, manager, communicator, and fundraiser – as we strengthen our programming, our regional board, and our presence in the community.”

Cathy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from St. Michael’s College in Vermont. Additionally she is a Master Wildlife Conservationist volunteer for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Among other projects, her volunteer work has included many hours at the Shepaug Dam Bald Eagle viewing area in Southbury.

At the Maritime Aquarium, where she was a staff member for more than 13 years, her responsibilities included the development and management of science education partnerships with schools from throughout the region. She collaborated on database development for the Long Island Sound Biodiversity Census Project, and managed the aquarium’s research and education vessel. Cathy was instrumental in developing a new business model for working with select schools throughout the year.

At the Coastal Center, she will be overseeing the implementation of our award-winning Science in Nature educational program, expanding on partnerships among the community, and reaching out to academic institutions in the region.

Born in New York, Cathy moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, as a young girl. She is a Bethel resident of over 10 years.


Guided Summer Canoe Tours 2016

Family Canoe Programs
Through the Charles E. Wheeler Salt Marsh

Canoe Tour







Saturday, July 23, 1:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Saturday, Aug 6, 1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Saturday, Aug 20, Noon – 2:30 p.m.*
Saturday, September 17, 10:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.*
Sunday, October 2, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  (fall foliage tour)*

Spend a lovely summer day with us on a relaxing guided canoe tour of the Charles Wheeler Salt Marsh. Get away from the noise and bustle of everyday life to a place for quiet contemplation. Steeped in local history, the Marsh also offers an abundance of birds and other wildlife, beautiful vistas and a chance to paddle and unwind. Trip routes are subject to change due to weather. Wind may cause trips to be canceled, even on sunny days; please call 1-1.5 hours in advance for trip status. Advance registration required. Sign-up early for these popular tours!

Bring water, a snack, and wear shoes that can get wet.  (* Bring a lunch on these days.) 

Contact Louise at the Coastal Center at 203-878-7440 for more information about these wonderful tours.

Fee: Using Coastal Center Canoes
CAS Members $28/person, $69/canoe (3 people)
Non-members $35/person, $95/canoe (3 people)

Fee: Using Private Canoe/Kayak
$20 CAS Members, $30 Non-members

Frank Gallo on “Bird Calls” radio show with Chris Bosak

Frank talks with Bird Call’s producer Chris Bosak about the 2011 Birding Big Day Fundraiser, getting children involved in birding, and our successful Return of the Osprey Party. Click the link below to listen to the show.
Or visit and click on “Bird Calls archives” from the home page.


From I-95: Take Exit 34. Turn right at the traffic light where the ramp meets Route 1. Go ½ mile to the third light at Naugatuck Avenue. Turn left onto Naugatuck Avenue and go 0.8 miles to the second light at Milford Point Road. Turn right and follow Milford Point Road ½ mile to the stop sign at Seaview Avenue. Turn right and go 0.35 miles. When the road forks, take the right fork into the parking area.

From Merritt Parkway: Take Exit 54, the connector to I-95, and follow the above directions.

From I-84 westbound: Take I-91 south to I-95, and follow the above directions.

From I-84 eastbound: Take Route 8 south to I-95 northbound, and follow the above directions.

Connect to MapQuest


1 Milford Point Road
Milford, CT 06460

Center Hours:

10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Sunday, Noon-4:00 p.m.

Our adjoining 8-acre
Smith-Hubbell Wildlife Refuge and Bird Sanctuary is open daily, year-round, from dawn to dusk.

Register for Summer Camp

Sanctuary Map
Get Directions

Coming Up At the Coastal Center At Milford Point

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