Birds & Plants at the Coastal Center
Adopt a Purple Martin Gourd for the 2019 Nesting Season
The Coastal Center at Milford Point is one of the largest of the 30 monitored Purple Martin colonies in the state. For Purple Martins, conservation efforts are essential. The birds build nests only in man-made houses — often plastic or natural gourds. Your adoption of a Purple Martin gourd will greatly aid our citizen science efforts. Coastal Center volunteers monitor and maintain the nests throughout the April to August season, which helps the nestlings survive and fledge at a higher rate.
With each adoption there will be:
- A numbered, paper cut-out gourd, including your chosen name, to be hung inside at the Center. A matching numbered gourd will be placed outside for the Purple Martins.
- Weekly updates will be sent as the season progresses (via email) of the gourds that have nests being built in them.
- A copy of the end of season report.
By adopting a Purple Martin gourd, you will be helping to provide housing for this human-dependent songbird. Purple Martin gourd adoptions also make great gifts for members of your family or friends! A limited amount of gourds are available. Adoption fees are $50 per gourd. Click here to adopt your gourd today!
Another Good Year for the Coastal Center’s Martins
August 2, 2018 – The population of Purple Martins continues to rise at the Milford Point Coastal Center.
This summer, 128 nestlings were fitted with identifying leg bands by a team of staff and volunteers from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Audubon Society.
Last year there were 107, in 2016 there were 93, and in 2015 there were 79.
These dark, graceful, noisy swallows are one of several bird species – along with Ospreys, Bald Eagles and others – that have enjoyed population increases in Connecticut recently, largely because of successful conservation work.
You can find a 3-minute video that shows and explains the banding process at the Coastal Center on this page.
Milford Point’s Coastal Ranger: Finding Rare Birds while Protecting the Vulnerable Ones
Milford, May 25, 2018 – Let’s face it – in an age of self-promotion and personal branding, being the IBA Coastal Ranger at Milford Point is not the highest-profile position in the world.
Chandler Wiegand, who holds that position for the Connecticut Audubon Society this summer, was just a guy with binoculars and an 800-millimeter camera lens, walking a friendly patrol along the sandbar.
“Not many people know who I am,” he said. “Or didn’t up until I found the Wilson’s Plover.”
Chandler walks the shore at the Coastal Center weekday evenings and weekends. On Sunday, April 29, he was on the sandbar, almost directly opposite the observation platform in the dunes, scanning a flock of shorebirds. One of his main responsibilities is to protect the nests of the beach’s Piping Plovers, a threatened species. So plovers were on his mind. That day, one caught his eye.
A total of 315 bird species have been seen at the Coastal Center. Ospreys nest in the marsh. Highly vulnerable species such as Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers nest on the beaches. Snowy Owls often spend the winter in the area. Thousands of shorebirds congregate in August and September.
The nearby waters of Long Island Sound and the Housatonic River are rich in oysters and clams. The dune habitat supports rare plants. A thriving population of Purple Martins occupies a colony at the edge of the marsh.
Four observation platforms are available to wildlife viewing, as are the beaches. We also have a newly-established pollinator garden. We ask visitors to keep a respectful distance from all wildlife.
We’ll activate our Purple Martin Cam in May or June.