The Coastal Center at Milford Point

Purple Martin Cam

July 5. As of today, the colony has 104 chicks!

June 26. Eggs hatched today! The mother is usually busy brooding but when she gets up to move around you can catch a glimpse.

You can also view the Purple Martin Cam here to enlarge the screen and use the comments section to tell us what you see.

June 22, 2017
Mike Aurelia and Melina Giantomidis made the latest survey yesterday. They found 33 active nests, with 135 eggs, adding: “We could have juveniles starting to hatch as early as this Sunday.”

June 14, 2017
The Purple Martin colony at the Milford Point Coastal Center is thriving once again. Michael Aurelia, a member of our Board of Directors, and Melina Giantomidis, who is working as a coastal ranger for us this summer, checked this morning and found 30 nests and 67 eggs. That’s a great start!

Thanks to the generosity of Phil Donahue, the film producer and former television talk-show host, we are bringing you live video of the Purple Martin colony, and of the interior of one of the gourds, at our Milford Point Coastal Center. In the bottom view, the gourd that is occasionally shown in close-up is the one with the interior camera, so at times you might see one of the parents approaching in the exterior view and then entering in the interior shot.

Purple Martins feed on aerial insects, which are often caught in the rising thermal air currents that can carry them miles above the ground. The martins follow their food, and may feed so high that they can’t be seen against the blue sky. Most activity at the site tends to take place early or late in the day.

Martins are the one species nesting in Connecticut that we can truly say needs help from humans. A threatened species here, they nest only in human-made structures, either boxes or gourds.

Our colony is at the south edge of the Wheeler salt marsh (we encourage you to see it in person, from the observation deck near the Coastal Center’s parking lot). Purple Martins need open areas rich in aerial insect life. In Connecticut, that usually means coastal salt marshes, but there are a few inland colonies, as well, usually on farmland near a large body of water.

Purple Martins usually arrive in Connecticut toward the end of the first week in April. They will remain through August with a few lingering into the third week in September. Nesting colonies are often quite active early and late in the day.

Osprey Cam

The Ospreys are nesting at the Milford Point Coastal Center and you can watch them 24 hours a day no matter what the weather.


The first two eggs hatched on June 11 and June 12; the third on June 14 but the nestling didn’t survive. Last year, only one of three eggs hatched.

Nest-building started late in the day on April 4 and resumed on April 5. The first egg was laid on Wednesday, May 3, the second on Saturday, May 6, and the third on May 9.

The female will lay eggs 1-3 days apart. Incubation begins with the first egg and takes 36-40 days; the eggs hatch asynchronously, each hatching in the order laid. This gives a distinct advantage to the older chicks in years with meager food supplies. If the weather is bad, all may not hatch. Generally, two or three babies fledge annually. In 2016, she laid three eggs, one of which hatched.

Ospreys were driven to the edge of extinction in the 1960s and early 1970s because of the widespread use of the pesticide DDT. They were listed as endangered and protected by the Endangered Species Act. After DDT was banned, the Osprey population began to thrive.

The Connecticut Audubon Society began its Osprey Nation stewardship program in 2014 to collect data on Ospreys that nest in our state. With more than 200 volunteers, it has grown to become one of the largest citizen science projects in New England.

View the Osprey Cam here to enlarge the screen and use the comments section to tell us what you see.


Visit our Pollinator Garden

This tranquil spot is a welcoming place to sit for a spell, mediate or enjoy the beauty of the gardens. Here visitors find themselves absorbed in the beauty of plants in bloom, butterflies fluttering from one flower to the next and birds feeding on insects.
Most importantly, it is a habitat that provides nectar and larval food to pollinators. And, the seeds from the blooms feed our Goldfinch, Tufted Titmouse and Chickadee population in the fall. Beneath the natural splendor, a very essential ecosystem service is taking place – pollination.
Our pollinator garden which is located just outside our building, is an organic, native and naturalized non-invasive plant garden.   Please do come visit, it is indeed a place of harmony and beauty.
The pollinator garden was spearhead by Lori Romick and made possible by volunteers, Girl Scouts, UCONN Master Gardeners, Milford Garden Club and Grillo Landscaping.

Register for camp at the Coastal Center

 Spaces are still open!


Use this link to register now:

Milford Point Coastal Center


NEW! Additional full-day week offered for Beachcombers (ages 5-7)
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Do squid have 8 legs, four, or even more?  Join us for a fun-filled week
learning amazing facts, watching wildlife, and exploring the beach.
Use the link above to register for this week and all our camp programs.


Use these links for more information:
Camp brochure
Registration Information
Registration Form

Welcome Letter–what to bring to camp
Pick up/Drop off Form

Health Form
Authorization for Administration of Medication Form


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


Click here for directions to the Coastal Center at Milford Point.


1 Milford Point Road
Milford, CT 06460

Center Hours:

Monday, Closed
10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m.-1:00 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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