News & Visitor Information at the Center at Fairfield
Due to Covid-19, the Center at Fairfield is running outdoor programming only and asking participants of those programs to practice social distancing and wear masks. The Center building is closed, however during summer camp, it will be open to only to registered campers during normal camp hours. We look forward to resuming normal business hours in September. The Nature Store is open; click HERE for details. Click HERE for a listing of current programs.
Something is killing bluebirds and other songbirds to the south. Here’s what you can do to help stop it in Connecticut.
Taking in your bird feeders now might help to keep it from spreading.
July 6, 2021 — An unknown affliction has been killing songbirds in southern, mid-Atlantic states, and mid-west states. Although it seems as if it hasn’t reached Connecticut yet, it’s time to take precautions.
The Connecticut Audubon Society has been monitoring reports and consulting with other experts. They’ve all agreed on a few simple things to do.
Whatever is killing birds might be infectious, so we recommend that you stop feeding birds for the time being.
The birds won’t suffer if you take your feeders down — there’s plenty of wild food available at this time of year. And you can put them back up either when it’s clear that the problem won’t show up here or when it’s over.
Connecticut Audubon will be following the issue closely and will keep you informed of the latest developments and advice.
Here are five precautionary steps to take that might help slow the progress of the affliction or keep it from spreading if it arrives here.
- Stop feeding birds and providing water in bird baths for the time being.
- Bring your feeders and bird baths in and clean them with a 10% bleach solution. This includes hummingbird feeders.
- Avoid handling dead or injured wild birds. Wear disposable gloves if it’s necessary to handle a bird.
- Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a standard precaution.
- To dispose of dead birds, place them in a sealable plastic bag and discard with household trash. This will prevent disease transmission to other birds and wildlife.
We will be taking down feeders at our centers. We will be monitoring birds that visit the two large water features — at the Milford Point Coastal Center and at Birdcraft Sanctuary in Fairfield — and will take appropriate steps if we see birds showing symptoms or if the affliction is confirmed in Connecticut.
Unusual numbers of dead birds were first reported in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky in May. Since then, there have been reports from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.
The afflicted birds include Common Grackle, Blue Jay, European starling, American Robin, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, House Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Carolina Wren.
Many of the birds have been immatures, with swollen eyes and crusty discharges.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection advises that if you see a live bird with these symptoms, don’t try to capture it. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator instead.
If you find a dead bird with crusty eyes, take photos and keep track of the date and location. Then double bag it and discard it in the normal trash stream, taking care not to touch it and not to allow pets to get near it.
Dead birds can be reported to the CT DEEP database.
The Free Library Helps Build a Sense of Community
The Center at Fairfield extends its sincere thanks to Friends of Larsen volunteers, Mary Hogue and Guy Gleysteen, for creating and installing the new “Free Library” box across from the entrance to the Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary.
As Mary notes, “Based on the Friends of Larsen concept of building community, Guy and I thought that by installing a Free Library near the Larsen Sanctuary would help to draw more people to the Sanctuary and help them appreciate the grounds and facility. We would like folks to feel that this place is a part of their world — to enjoy and protect — as much as we do.
“Hopefully, the Free Library will be one more way visitors could become part of the community that supports the Connecticut Audubon, whether by becoming members, participating in programs or volunteering with the Friends of Larsen. We’ve been lucky to live next door to the Larsen Sanctuary and have been able to join field trips, help with gardens and clean ups. By doing so, we’ve met so many fabulous people and have made long-lasting friendships thanks to our connection to the Connecticut Audubon. It’s our hope that the Free Library will be a catalyst to help others be able to do the same.”
Please stop by the Center at Fairfield and become a “patron” of our library by taking, or bringing, a book to share (nature-themed books encouraged). While you’re here, explore the Larsen Sanctuary, which also includes the mile-long Edna Chiboucas Special Use Trail. Your visit will not only enhance your reading list, but could also lead to building a greater sense of community, as well.
For information about the Friends of Larsen upcoming activities, please click here to email Milan Bull.
Chiboucas Special Use Trail
Specifically designed to accommodate wheelchairs, the mile-long Edna Strube Chiboucas Special Use Trail is five-to-seven feet wide and paved with finely crushed stone.
The trail circles through the Larsen Sanctuary’s 155 acres, following an easy grade through the woods, along the edge of a meadow and over several streams and swamps. Interpretive signs stand at intervals along the way, and there are numerous benches available.
The Chiboucas Trail was the first project undertaken by the Wheels in the Woods Foundation. The trail opened in 1999 and was renovated in the spring of 2020 to provide an upgrade and repair damage caused by storms during the previous year.
Many Hands Make Light Work at the Friends of Larsen Sanctuary Work Day
Thank you to the enthusiastic Friends of Larsen Sanctuary volunteers who came out on Saturday, July 11, to fix up the gardens surrounding the Center at Fairfield. Braving the heat and high humidity, they cleaned up garden beds, weeded and mulched – all before a major storm.
Stop by the Center this summer to enjoy the newly refreshed gardens and take a cool walk in the Sanctuary, which includes varied habitats including rolling woodlands, meadows, streams, marshes and ponds.
The Friends of Larsen Sanctuary will be organizing future work days. If you are interested in helping and meeting other like-minded volunteers, please click here to email Milan Bull.
What to do with “abandoned” or “orphaned” birds
May 6, 2020 — 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.
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.
- 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.
Join Connecticut Audubon’s Dr. Science to Discover, Uncover and Explore
In this new video series, Connecticut Audubon’s Dr. Science will take us into sanctuaries and on trails to help us examine nature up close.
During these fun investigations of the natural world, children will discover how different habitats are coming to life in the spring season — right outside our doors! Uncover the mysteries of wildlife not always visible to untrained eyes. Explore the woods, fields, ponds and shore to learn fun facts about native animals and plants, and how we can protect and enjoy our world responsibly, without leaving a trace.
Did you know that skunk cabbage generates heat? Find out in Episode 1: Skunk Cabbage, featured above.
See below for more Dr. Science adventures:
Episode 2: Estuaries, click here.
Episode 3: Beach Grass, click here.
Episode 4: Rockweed, click here.
Episode 5: Mud Snails, click here.
Episode 6: Bivalves, click here.
Episode 7: The Great Blue Heron, click here.
Episode 8: Life Under a Log, click here.
Episode 9: The Wood Frog Story, click here.
Episode 10: Owl Pellets, click here.
Episode 11: Dandelions, click here.
Episode 12: Sunbathing Snakes, click here.
Episode 13: Binoculars, click here.
Adirondack Night 2020 – A “Howling” Success
The Center at Fairfield sincerely appreciates all who made this year’s Adirondack Night – Howl at the Moon, a great success, on Saturday, March 7. Under a nearly full super moon, the Center was once again transformed into a rustic mountain lodge for this festive annual fundraiser. (Click here for more photos by Mike Lauterborn.)
Contributing to the evening’s success were live and silent auctions, as well as an online auction hosted by Black Rock Galleries of Bridgeport. The auction is open for bidding, but will begin to close out on Monday, March 16, so be sure to get your bid in!
Thanks to the hard work and support of many members, friends and community contributors, over $46,000 was raised. An important highlight of the evening was the launch of the Adirondack Night Annual Giving Appeal. There are many underserved children in the area who have never set foot in a nature center. Supporting this appeal will enable more of them to have the life-changing experience of leaving their classrooms to participate in field-based STEM programs that help them build life-long connections to the natural world.
A hearty “thank you” to all our Adirondack Night guests, supporters and volunteers, including event sponsor, Andy Montelli, of Post Road Residential.
Fall 2019 Master Naturalists Complete Training
Graduates will serve as local environmental stewards through volunteer service.
This fall, a class of 25 nature enthusiasts undertook more than 40 hours of classroom and hands-on field investigation to complete The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Naturalist Training Program in Southwestern Connecticut.
Participants came from 19 communities throughout the state, for 10 weeks of classes taught by environmental education and conservation professionals and experts. To study the ecology, biodiversity and conservation needs of varied ecosystems, the weekly sessions took advantage of Connecticut Audubon’s diverse geography and, depending on the weekly topic, met at one of three different locations: the Center at Fairfield and Birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary in Fairfield, and the Coastal Center in Milford. Among the course subjects covered were: plant and bird identification, geology of Connecticut, herpetology, mammalogy, marine ecosystems and climate change.
Graduates will apply their knowledge and skills in different volunteer capacities at of Connecticut Audubon’s nature sanctuaries or facilities.
The Center at Fairfield is a hub of environmental education activities and events throughout the year. The Center has live education animals, exhibit areas, and a Nature Store with a wide variety of birding and nature-related merchandise. The Center’s grounds feature a pollinator garden, live birds of prey compound and adjoins the 155-acre Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary offers visitors seven miles of walking trails featuring streams, ponds, forest, and fields with diverse plant and animal communities, and also includes the mile-long Edna Strube Chiboucas Special Use Trail.
The Chiboucas Special Use Trail opened in 1999 and was refurbished in 2012. Designed for wheelchair use, the Trail was the first project undertaken by the Wheels in the Woods Foundation. It was renovated in the spring of 2020 to provide an upgrade and repair damage caused by last year’s storms. To accommodate wheelchairs, the trail is five-to-seven feet wide and paved with finely crushed rock. It circles through the sanctuary’s 155 acres, following an easy grade through the woods, along the edge of a meadow and over several streams and swamps. Interpretive signs stand at intervals along the way, and there are numerous benches available.
There is a nominal admission fee for non-members or non-residents of Fairfield. Trails are open year-round, seven days a week from dawn to dusk.
Dishwasher – gently used no larger than 23 wide by 24 deep.
If you would like to donate a dishwasher, please all 203-259-6305 ext. 109.
Animal Care requests (please call 203-259-6305 ext. 116):
- 75 gallon aquarium stand
- 100 foot garden hose
- Pump style hand sprayer
- Water dechlorinator 32 ounce
- Timothy hay
- Guinea Pig food (Supreme Selective diet)
- Carefresh paper small animal bedding
- Used bath towels
- Raptor rig – call for details
Visit Our Fairy Garden!
There’s a lot of activity in the green house… little voices chattering with delight as they search for fairies, tiny pigs and ponies in the Fairy Garden exhibit. This teeny garden of whimsy is a miniature landscape. Small-scale plants, foliage that looks like mini forest trees and teensy accessories give the illusion of tiny creatures living in the garden.
This charming garden was created by Master Gardeners Anne Mele, Mary Hogue and Kristine Scerbo with the assistance of green house volunteer Jessie Linderoth.
Fairy gardens are often located in small secluded areas in the garden, giving visitors the impression that they just happen to fall upon this magical place. So come, stumble upon our Fairy Garden, you’re sure to find magic here!
The Fairy Garden is located in the greenhouse at Center at Fairfield and is open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
From I-95: Take Exit 21 Mill Plain Road. Go north on Mill Plain Road for 4.5 miles (Mill Plain Road becomes Burr Street). The Center is on the left.
From the Merritt Parkway: Take Exit 44 Route 58. Northbound: Turn right onto Congress Street at the end of the ramp. Proceed to the first stop sign. Turn right onto Burr Street. The Center is approximately 1 mile along on the left. Southbound: Turn left at the light at the bottom of the ramp, and turn left at the next light onto Route 58. Go under the bridge, and turn right at the light onto Congress Street. Proceed to the first stop sign. Turn right onto Burr Street. The Center is approximately 1 mile along on the left.
From I-84: Take Routes 8 or 25 or I-91 to the Merritt Parkway, and follow the directions, above.