News and Visitor Information at Deer Pond Farm
Deer Pond Farm covers 850 acres of rugged hardwood forest, meadows, and wetlands straddling the border of Connecticut and New York.
Situated between elevations of 900 and 1200 feet, there are many vistas to enjoy along the trails.
About 650 of its 850 acres are upland forest; 125 acres are forested wetlands; and 59 acres are meadow.
Deer Pond Farm includes a network of 15 miles of trails. The sanctuary is open year-round, seven days a week, from dawn to dusk. All trails are accessible from the visitor parking lot at 57 Wakeman Hill Road, Sherman, CT.
About 100 species of birds have been reported on or near the property during breeding season, including forest birds such as Broad-winged Hawk and Scarlet Tanager, marsh birds such as Virginia Rail, and early successional specialists such as American Woodcock, Eastern Towhee, and Chestnut-sided Warbler. There are two eBird hotspot locations: Deer Pond Farm (CT Audubon) and Deer Pond Farm, CT Audubon (Dutchess Co.). Thank you for reporting your bird observations.
Mammals include bobcat, coyote, several bat species, fisher and long-tailed weasel, beaver, black bear and, of course, deer.
Numerous amphibian species breed in its 11 vernal pools, including Wood Frog, Spring Peepers, and Spotted Salamanders. To date, two turtle and four snake species have been confirmed.
Directions – click here.
Deer Pond Farm Trail Map – click here.
Deer Pond Farm Suggested Hikes – click here.
Injured, “Abandoned” or “Orphaned” Wildlife – click here.
Please note: dogs, horses, fishing, swimming, camping, fires, hunting and collecting are not permitted.
Thank you for staying on the trails.
Deer Pond Farm Staff:
Cathy Hagadorn, Director (email@example.com)
Birds You Can See at Deer Pond Farm
Click on each month to view bird list:
Visit our YouTube channel, CTAudubonSociety to view videos from Deer Pond Farm and other centers.
Notes From the Field
Interested in what has been going on at Deer Pond Farm lately? Read on for updates from the sanctuary!
2022 In Review:
- 830 volunteer hours!
- Programs and Events:
- 47 guided programs with 375 attendees
- 9 events with 458 attendees
- Invasive Plants:
- Of the 97 invasive plants found in Connecticut, 39 species have been found on Deer Pond Farm.
- 17 of the species found here underwent active management.
- Volunteers, staff, and contractors spent 455 hours managing invasive plants in 2022.
- Nest Boxes:
- 4 pairs of Purple Martins (PUMAs) fledged 14 young from our Purple Martin colony. Of those 14, 10 were banded in conjunction with licensed bander Laurie Doss and the CT DEEP Wildlife Division. Click here to learn more about the importance of banding.
- 52 Eastern Bluebirds fledged from the 12 bluebird boxes located throughout the sanctuary. Additionally, 17 Tree Swallow and 4 House Wren fledged from the bluebird boxes.
- 23 hatched Wood Duck eggs were found within three Wood Duck boxes.
- A courting male and female American Kestrel were observed in the spring, and signs of successful nesting was observed in the Kestrel box for the first time since it was installed in 2021!
- With the close care and attention of volunteers and staff, the Pollinator Garden continued to thrive despite this summer’s drought. It played a vital role in supporting our local pollinator population, as well as providing habitat for our other birds and insects. Additionally:
- The pollinator garden and Garden Gaggle volunteers made it possible for us to participate in Monarch Watch, reporting sightings of the now endangered Monarch Butterfly within our garden and across the sanctuary.
- The rain gage, located within the garden, provided critical information on rainfall levels – or lack thereof!
- The successful growing season allowed for the collection of native annual and perennial seeds at the end of the summer. Eight different seed varieties were collected from the Pollinator Garden and are ready for planting elsewhere on the sanctuary, expanding the growth of pollinator-friendly native plants beyond the borders of the garden.
- Extensive trail maintenance and improvements were undertaken by contractors, volunteers, and staff. Trails were levelled, drainage issues were addressed, and overall conditions improved for a better visitor experience.
- Working in conjunction with contractors and state agencies, projects addressing the health of the forest continued in 2022. Visitors may see signs of new and ongoing projects alongside trails as you explore Deer Pond Farm. We’re always happy to answer questions!
2022 Autumn Recap:
- After being stalled at 151 bird species observed at Deer Pond Farm, we have at long last bumped our list up another notch to 152 species! Last week, Stefan heard an Evening Grosbeak flying over the Pollinator Garden. There have been a few other reports of this species visiting elsewhere in Connecticut this fall, so keep your eyes peeled and ears open, especially if you have a platform feeder stocked with sunflower seeds. Their color pattern is quite striking!
- With their leaves fallen, trees are no longer wicking water from the ground. Now is a great time of year to keep an eye out for vernal pools as they start to re-fill. Wood Frogs and Spotted Salamanders depend on these seasonal wetlands for their eggs and larvae to develop – think ahead to the sweet sound of Spring Peepers!
- Volunteers and staff have continued the hard work of clearing invasive plants from areas of Deer Pond Farm. Recently the focus was on a patch of highly invasive Burning Bush that was encroaching on native Ground Pine. Although sought after for its ornamental value, Burning Bush is quickly outcompeting native plants for resources. One great alternative for ornamental planting is Highbush Blueberry, which also has bright red foliage this time of year.
- Our Pollinator Garden continues to share its bounty with us. As the growing season wraps up, volunteers and staff have been collecting seeds from this year’s growth. These seeds will be planted in other areas of Deer Pond Farm, continuing to support our pollinators and the re-introduction of native plant species throughout the property.
MOTUS Wildlife Tracking System:
The MOTUS receiver at Deer Pond Farm is one in over 1,600 receiver sites worldwide tracking the movement of birds, bats, and insects fitted by scientists with tiny transmitters. In September and October, our receiver detected one Bicknell’s Thrush, one Bobolink, one Veery, two Swainson’s Thrush, and two Black-throated Blue Warblers. After being detected by the receiver at Deer Pond Farm, the Swainson’s Thrush was next located in Costa Rica! These records are helping scientists worldwide learn about the migration and movements of birds in detailed ways that were not possible before the MOTUS system.
In addition to Deer Pond Farm, the Connecticut Audubon Society has MOTUS receivers at the Center at Pomfret and the Shepaug Dam in Southbury, CT. Click here to read more about MOTUS at the Connecticut Audubon Society.
2022 Summer Recap:
- Volunteers and staff have been hard at work removing invasive plant species found at Deer Pond Farm. Much of this work has been targeted on vulnerable habitat locations, allowing important native plants to thrive. Over 300 hours were spent by staff, volunteers, and vendors this summer removing encroaching invasives.
- Our Habitat Enhancement plots, found around the Cathedral Trail Loop, were planted in 2019 to restore native habitat for our local birds and wildlife. As these enclosures continue to thrive, volunteer plants – or plants that were not intentionally introduced – are also able to take advantage of the extra protection from browsing deer. This year, two native flower species not found elsewhere at Deer Pond Farm were discovered within one of these exclosures – White Turtlehead and New England Aster. It’s a good reminder to always keep an eye out, you never know what you’re going to find!
- After successfully banding and fledging 10 Purple Martin chicks from our PUMA nest gourds in July, our colony had a surprise for us – a late nest of four additional chicks! Those four successfully fledged in August, bringing a total of 14 PUMA chicks fledged from our wild colony. That is five more than last year, and a huge conservation success!
- The Pollinator Garden is not only an important source of food and shelter for our native pollinators, it is also a certified Monarch Waystation. This year, Deer Pond Farm participated in the Monarch Calendar Project, compiling sightings of Monarch caterpillars or butterflies and submitting them to Monarch Watch for further study. Monarch Butterflies are now listed as endangered – learn what you can do to help their struggling populations!
If You Build It, They Will Come (Back!) – A Purple Martin Success Story
For the second year in a row, Deer Pond Farm’s wild Purple Martin colony has hatched the next generation of fledglings.
Licensed bird bander and Purple Martin Conservation Association Board Member Laurie Doss was on site in early July, 2022 with Kent Land Trust Interns and Deer Pond Farm volunteers and staff to age, weigh, and band our 10 Purple Martin young. Each now has a silver federal band and state bands in site specific purple and green – so they can be identified as a Deer Pond Farm hatchling no matter where in the world they travel!
Our Purple Martin Monitoring Team, made up of Deer Pond Farm volunteers and staff, was an integral part of this success story. They ensured the health and safety of our colony through weekly checks, while staying up to date on conservation practices and education. Huge thank you to our Purple Martin Team for stewarding this conservation effort!
This is an important conservation success story for our local Purple Martin population. Purple Martin swallows are cavity nesters, and rely exclusively on artificial nest sites such as our Purple Martin Nest Gourds due to the loss of their natural nesting habitat. Because of this, they are facing declining populations and have become a species of special concern in Connecticut.
Spring 2022 Updates:
- Our volunteer Habitat Helpers (pictured right) continue the fight against invasive plants throughout Deer Pond Farm. This spring, the focus was on Garlic Mustard and Japanese Knotweed found around the main campus area. Approximately 150 pounds of Garlic Mustard was removed during a single session! Our other Habitat Enhancement projects throughout the sanctuary are being closely monitored by volunteers and staff.
- The Garden Gaggle volunteers have been busy preparing the Pollinator Garden for its growing season. The mulch is down, the plants are waking up, and soon the garden will be abuzz with pollinators and nectar-feeding birds.
- The first Eastern Bluebird chicks of the 2022 season have hatched! Our volunteer Bluebird Monitors have been keeping an eye on more than 20 Bluebird eggs in 6 nests utilizing the Bluebird houses at Deer Pond Farm.
- A male Purple Martin scout was recently seen exploring the pond and the Purple Martin Nest Gourds, the first of the season at Deer PondFarm. Our Purple Martin Monitoring volunteers are closely monitoring for signs of any further arrivals!