Connecticut Audbon Society
Center at Fairfield

Coastal Center at Milford Point

News & Visitor Information at the Coastal Center at Milford Point

Due to Covid-19, masks are strongly encouraged by not required for outdoor programs, participants of indoor programs must wear masks. Participants and staff who choose to wear a mask throughout an outdoor program are welcome to do so.

The Center building is open to the public, masks are required when inside the building (subject to change).
Please continue to enjoy the sanctuary which remains open from dawn to dusk.

Click here for a listing of our current programs.

Herb Sale & Pre-order for Pick up

Saturday, May 7
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

CT Audubon promotes planting for wildlife! Herbs are an easy way to help our pollinators (birds, bees, butterflies, moths, and other insects) and also provide food for people and birds (nectar, seeds, nuts, and insects). Some herbs are also host plants for hungry caterpillars! We are offering herb plants from Pride’s Corner and Gilbertie’s Herb Farm.

Pre-order your herbs in gallon pots for pick up on May 7 or stop by to see the selection of 4” organic potted herbs for sale that day.

Connecticut-grown, Pride’s Corner herbs are all culinary herbs that are also beneficial to pollinators!  The herbs, in gallon (#1) pots, will be pre-sold as the quantity is limited. Please note that all orders with full payment will be reserved as they are received on a first-come, first reserved basis. Each herb, in gallon (#1) pot, is sold at $15.00 (Price includes CT sales tax.). Your herbs will be reserved and labeled with your name when you come to pick them up!

There will be 4” potted organic herbs for sale on May 7th. Price at $5 each they are an excellent addition to your garden or container plantings. These herbs are sourced from Gilbertie’s Herb Farm of Connecticut.

If you can’t make it on Saturday, May 7, there may be herbs leftover for purchase on Sunday, May 8. Sunday hours are 12 – 4 p.m. You can call the center for availability of herbs to purchase. 203-878-7440.





Coastal Center at Milford Point Summer Camp 2022

Summer Camp Registration is Open!  Camps are filling!!
Sessions run weekly June 20 – August 19

Click here to register for Summer Camp 2022 at the Milford Point Coastal Center

Campers will explore, discover, and learn about the natural world.
Three age groups: 5 & 6 years, 7 & 8 years, and 9 – 11 years.
Campers ages 5 and 6 (and older) must have completed Kindergarten by June 2022.

Click here to download the 2022 Summer Camp brochure. 

For complete information, FAQs, and forms click HERE.

For any immediate questions, please email our summer camp director.








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.



Support the Coastal Center

Thank you for your support during the Garafalo Markets ShopRite’s register campaign! You raised more than $27,000 in support bird conservation and environmental education at one of the state’s most important nature preserves, the Coastal Center at Milford Point.



Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite supports Coastal Center programs.





This year funding from Wakefern Corp/ShopRite sponsored our 25thAnniversary programming
which included an inaugural photo contest, a relaunching of our guided canoe and kayak trips and our ever-popular bird walks.

25th Anniversary Grand Prize photo by Matthew Collen

Bird walks at the Coastal Center feature a stop on the beach over-looking the marsh-lined lagoon.

A relaxing paddle in the Wheeler Marsh

Coastal Center at Milford Point – Big Sit! Update

The final bird count is in!  

Our birding team, B.W. Surf Scopers, participated in yet another The Big Sit! competition on Sunday, October 10, 2021. The core members Frank Gallo, Jim Dugan, Patrick Dugan, and Frank Mantlik were grateful for the participation by birders Tom Murray and Stefan Martin. We started at 4:37 a.m., birded over 14 hours straight, then quit at 7 p.m. We tallied 82 species.

Unfortunately, the weather was less than ideal. While the temperatures were seasonable 58-64F, it was mostly cloudy and humid, the winds were strong from the ENE (10-23 mph) all day, and it rained 11:45 a.m. -1:30 p.m. The tide was exceptionally high (3 p.m.), flooding the salt marsh and washing over the road and the sandbar. To read more including ebird list and photos click here 

If you’ve already supported our wonderful Big Sit team, we thank you. And if you haven’t yet donated to this fundraiser, please consider doing so and help us reach our goal!

So far we’ve raised $7,110 and have surpassed our goal of $7000!

We cannot do this without you, and we thank you in advance for your generosity!

Your generous support helps us sustain our important, far-reaching, education and conservation efforts

Click here to help the Coastal Center by making a Big Sit donation.

The Big Sit Platform, October 10, 2021

The Big Sit 2021 birders: Patrick Dugan, Frank Mantlik, Jim Duggan and Frank Gallo














Martins perching on June 26, 2020. Photo © Frank Mantlik

Connecticut Audubon Society
Coastal Center at Milford Point
September 3, 2021

The Purple Martin colony at the Coastal Center had a very successful nesting season. The nest gourds were installed April 2, and the first returning “scout”,
a male, was seen April 15. By the end of April, 25 Martins were counted. The first nests were started mid-May, and the first eggs were laid around June 1. The number of active nests grew to 44 by June 25. A total of 191 eggs were laid, the first chicks hatched about
June 15, and the first few chicks fledged about July 8.

On July 16, our team (augmented by Milan Bull, Deidra Wallin, and Chris Cerillo) assisted CT DEEP biologists in banding 86 chicks – with federal numbered aluminum and orange-colored leg bands – which were then returned to their respective nests. This is one of the largest Purple Martin colonies in Connecticut.

Overall, an estimated 120 chicks fledged (the last one fledged on or about August 1). The adult and young Purple Martins are well on their way to their wintering territory in the Amazon River basin of South America. Have a safe journey, and we will see many of you back in Milford next spring!

Thanks to all the staff and volunteers who helped with this project, including conducting weekly nest checks, and maintaining and cleaning the 71 gourds: Stefan Martin, Milan Bull, Kat Gillis, John Mager, Lori Romick, George Amato, Gilles Carter, and Pam Landry.
Thanks also to all the people who made a donation by adopting one or more gourds. Your support makes this important project possible. 

Frank Mantlik
Coastal Center Advisory Board Member
Milford Purple Martin Team Leader

Purple Martin Nest Check © Frank Mantlik

Purple Martin parents waiting 7/16/2021. © Frank Mantlik

CT DEEP Purple Martin banding tent at the Coastal Center @Frank Mantlik









Nesting season is finished for this year but please watch for updates next spring about how you can 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 check the nests each week — essential tasks for protecting Purple Martins.

Purple Martins are completely dependent on human-made structures, either boxes or gourds, for their survival.

This species was listed as “threatened” in Connecticut until about six years ago. Because of its increasing population, largely the result of the careful management of colonies, its status was changed to “special concern.” 

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

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.

Purple Martins are beautiful, much-admired songbirds, and these popular swallows are sought after as backyard birds all across the U.S., particularly in the south and east. They feed only on flying insects. They are often mistakenly thought to control mosquitoes. That’s not quite true. They feed on a much wider variety of insects including dragonflies, which themselves feed on mosquitoes.

Purple Martins are not easy to attract, requiring certain habitat and landscape conditions, usually open areas near water, but once a colony is established, they will return every year to breed and raise their young. 


25th Anniversary Photo Contest Winners

Thank you to those that submitted photographs to the Coastal Center’s 25th Anniversary Photo Contest.  After careful review of the submitted entries, we have the pleasure of announcing the winners of each category.

We wish to thank Milford Photo for their partnership in the contest, providing the prizes for the winners and for the judging process.



Matthew Collen – submission 3

photo by Matthew Collen










1st Prize – Scott Burton, Submission 1

photo by Scott Burton











2nd Prize – Michael Lello, Submission 3

photo by Michael Lello









3rd Prize – Sandy Schill, Submission 5

photo by Sandy Schill













1st Prize – Kara-Lynn Flockhart, Submission 1

photo by Kara-Lynn Flockhart





















2nd Prize – Beth Malarkey Maroney, Submission 3

photo by Beth Malarkey Maroney











3rd Prize – Gretchen Hayden, Submission 1

photo by Gretchen Hayden











1st Prize – Mathew Collen, Submission 4

photo by Matthew Collen










2nd Prize – Sandy Schill, Submission 1

photo by Sandy Schill









3rd Prize – Song Teoh, Submission 1

photo by Song Teoh









1st Prize – Lily Flockhart, Submission 2

photo by Lily Flockhart



















2nd Prize – Keren Tan, Submission 1

photo by Keren Tan










3rd Prize – Lily Flockhart, Submission 1

photo by Lily Flockhart




















Many thanks to photo contest judge Elisa Deely of Milford Photo
Elisa is a Connecticut-based photographer who received a BFA in photography from the University of Hartford in 2019. Typically, her images are shot on location and taken with a 6×6 or 4×5 camera. Her work focuses on domestic and mundane spaces. She is currently working as a Photo Editor and Fine Art Printer at Milford Photo.



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 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.


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.





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