Connecticut Audbon Society
Center at Fairfield

Coastal Center at Milford Point

News & Visitor Information at the Coastal Center at Milford Point

Thank you, Harry Garafalo, for helping to make the Coastal Center a better place for visitors — avian and human!

Harry Garafalo, left, presents a donation to Coastal Center Director Ken Elkins, center, and regional board Chair George Amato.

June 21, 2024—We are delighted to share that CT Audubon’s Coastal Center has received a generous donation of over $26,000 from Harry Garafalo, the philanthropic owner and president of Garafalo Markets LLC.

This gift will be instrumental in making much-needed improvements to the center’s buildings and grounds, leading to an even better experience for you when you visit.

Harry’s commitment to conservation extends far beyond this donation. A member of the Coastal Center’s regional board until recently, he has consistently offered his encouragement, management advice, and efforts to organize work days on the sanctuary’s grounds involving ShopRite Market employees.

Their dedication has improved the sanctuary’s value to birds and the public’s enjoyment of Milford Point.

The Coastal Center is one of the most heavily visited birding spots in Connecticut, and we are deeply appreciative of Harry Garafalo’s and his ShopRite employees’ ongoing efforts on behalf of conservation and the public.

Adopt a Purple Martin Gourd

Martins perching. Photo © Frank Mantlik

Play a direct role in conservation by adopting a Purple Martin gourd!

Your adoption will help maintain the structures and support the staff effort to monitor and clean the nests each week — essential tasks for protecting Purple Martins.

Supporting the colony also makes a great gift for members of your family or friends!

Here’s what supporters of the project are saying:

“CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS WHO ARE CARING FOR OUR PURPLE MARTIN COLONY!  HOW EGGCITING!!  AND HOW PRECIOUS ARE THOSE NEWLY HATCHED🐣BABIES!🐣🐦

“THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS AND KEEPING US INFORMED ON THEIR PROGRESS!!  NATURE IS THE BEST!!

Bev”

” Thank you! It is wonderful to see the terrific report and photos. Really appreciate all your hard work!
Carol D.”

Purple Martins have declined in many areas nationwide, including Connecticut and New England. According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, competition with invasive House Sparrows and Starlings for nesting space, and pesticides poisoning their food supply, are contributors to their decline. They are considered a Threatened Species in Connecticut.

The team at work checking, cleaning and keeping records at the colony. Photo © Frank Mantlik

 

Purple Martins are completely dependent on human-made structures, either boxes or gourds, for their survival. Our colony is one of the largest in Connecticut, and last year we had 91 chicks fledge!

When you adopt a gourd, a numbered gourd will be assigned to you. A paper gourd with your name (or a name you indicate on the registration) will be hung in the windows at the Coastal Center.

Purple Martin supporters receive weekly updates about the gourds, the status of the nests being built in them and a copy of the end-of-season report.

 

 

Monitoring air quality at the Coastal Center

We’ve installed a PurpleAir monitor at the Coastal Center as part of our ongoing commitment to environmental conservation. The monitor allows us to track local air quality and add to a community database, which can be used by weather tracking organizations, climate scientists, and the general public to learn more about the air around them. 

PurpleAir monitors measure the concentration of air pollutants, providing real-time data on air quality conditions. By placing these monitors at our centers, we aim to educate about pollution and its impact on both human health and the environment. 

Air quality is a critical component of environmental health, as poor air causes respiratory issues to people and wildlife. Birds are especially susceptible to poor air quality, but natural spaces like wildlife sanctuaries provide a pollution buffer and improve the overall health of the area. These monitors will allow us to better understand local air pollution levels and how green spaces impact them. 

You can see the real-time data in the box below. There’s more on the PurpleAir website. We hope it helps people see where concentrations of pollution are, to make informed decisions regarding their health and the environment. 

We thank CT DEEP and PurpleAir for donating these monitors to our centers.  

Loading PurpleAir Widget…

 

What to do with “abandoned” or “orphaned” birds

The best advice is to leave baby birds, like this Purple Martin, when you found them. Photo by Stephanie Galea/The Connecticut Audubon Society

The CT DEEP has excellent advice for what to do if you find an “orphaned” bird. Click this link. Photo by Stephanie Galea/The Connecticut Audubon Society

Have you found an abandoned bird?

Birds and other wildlife that seem to be abandoned or orphaned at this time of year often are not actually abandoned or orphaned.

The Connecticut DEEP has advice about what to do if you find a bird that you think is abandoned. There are several alternatives.

Click here to learn about them.

Please do not bring injured or orphaned animals to any Connecticut Audubon Society facility. Connecticut Audubon is not authorized to accept injured or abandoned animals.

But if it is obviously injured, it may need help. The CT DEEP has more information here about dealing with distressed wildlife.


 

Volunteer for habitat improvement work at Milford Point

Northern Mockingbird, photographed by George Amato near the Coastal Center’s recirculating waterfall, is one of the native bird species that benefit from habitat improvements.

The last several years have seen great improvements at the Milford Point Coastal Center. But there’s more to be done — and you can help.

We are recruiting volunteers to help remove invasive plants and replace them with native plants, which have much higher conservation value.

It is the kind of hands-on work that makes an immediate difference not just for birds but for pollinators, small mammals, and other wildlife as well.

Our goal is to establish a corps of volunteers to help on an ongoing basis. The crew will work at the direction of habitat steward Stefan Martin, who is overseeing improvement projects at several Connecticut Audubon sanctuaries.

If you can help or you’re interested in learning more, please email our volunteer coordinator, Erika Pollock, epollock@ctaudubon.org.

Mobile App

Explore our centers and sanctuaries on your mobile device

Soar through our centers and sanctuaries with this free app, which highlights unique and interesting features at each stop. Take one of our tours while you’re onsite or plan ahead with detailed directions and maps to your nearest Connecticut Audubon location.

Features include:

  • Tours of our Centers and Sanctuaries
  • Bird IDs with photos and descriptions
  • Tips on how to create a native garden for birds and pollinators
  • Interactive maps

 

 

For Android and other non-Apple devices, visit the web-based app. Software platform © Cuseum, Inc.

This App was made possible by Planet Fuel Charitable Fund.


 

Coastal Center Sanctuary Rules

Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of our grounds before your visit:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any questions, please contact the center.

 

 

General Information

The boardwalk leading to the Sound. Photo courtesy of Anthony Donofrio.

Connecticut Audubon Society’s Coastal Center at Milford Point is located on an 8.4-acre barrier beach, 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 and preservation of Long Island Sound’s ecosystem, and the birds and habitats it supports. Visitors to the center have access to the Sound and to 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.

We offer a full range of educational programs and 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 encompass the 8-acre Smith-Hubbell Wildlife Refuge and Bird Sanctuary, a boardwalk and three other observation platforms, including a 70-foot covered  tower for panoramic vistas.

Viewers from around the world watch the Center’s seasonal Osprey Cam, operated from our 18-foot tall nesting platform.

Directions

 

 

 

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