Connecticut Audbon Society

 

Natural Selections

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Annual Meeting 2021

September 22, 2021 — On Thursday, October 21, at 6 p.m, Connecticut Audubon members will gather on Zoom for the organization’s 2021 Annual Meeting. It promises to be a fascinating meeting, highlighted by a keynote presentation by CJ Goulding, titled “Jordans in the Great Outdoors: How You Can Gear Up to Create Change.”

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Bird feeders can go back up among signs that the condition affecting birds is easing

Friday, August 20, 2021 — For those of you who have taken down your bird feeders this summer — a sincere thank you for caring about Connecticut’s birds. The good news: It’s OK to start feeding birds again. But if you decide to do so, there are still a few precautions you should heed.

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Working to protect the shorebirds on the Milford Point sandbar — with your help.

In the Sanctuaries …
August 16, 2021 — For the good of the migrating shorebirds feeding and resting now at Milford Point, Connecticut Audubon has decided to schedule no group walks to the Milford Point sandbar for the rest of August. We are also asking for your help in giving the shorebirds plenty of room to feed and rest when you visit on your own.

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Video: Experts discuss “Dying Birds: What we know and what we don’t know”

August 14, 2021 — Watch the video of our Zoom discussion, “Dying Birds: What we know and what we don’t know,” recorded August 9, 2021. The discussion was designed to give you the latest information on the unidentified condition that has been killing birds in Connecticut and in many states to the south and west.

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A special online presentation: “Dying Birds: What we know and what we don’t know”

August 9, 2021 — Join us Wednesday, August 11, for a special free lunchtime Zoom discussion called “Dying Birds: What we know and what we don’t know,” featuring top experts from the state of Connecticut, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, and the Connecticut Audubon Society. The discussion is designed to give you the latest information on the unidentified condition that has been killing birds in Connecticut and in many states to the south and west of here. Register below!

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Beautiful animals that aren’t birds: Cecropia moth caterpillar

In the Sanctuaries …
Sherman, August 9, 2021 — On a routine walk at Deer Pond Farm to check on a habitat improvement project, Jim Arrigoni found a creature he had never before seen in his many years as a conservation biologist: the caterpillar of a cecropia moth.

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Things you can do to help birds right now: make your windows bird-safe

August 6, 2021 — A bird doesn’t see a window as a barrier. If the window reflects the sky and trees, a bird thinks it’s flying into the sky and trees. The result is often a dead bird — lots of them. The best estimates show that up to a billion birds a year are killed when they fly into windows, walls, and other structures.

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Things you can do to help birds right now: Keep your cat indoors

August 5, 2021 — Don’t let the cat out of the house. Outdoor cats kill an estimated 1.3 – 4 billion birds in North America every year (they also kill 6.3–22.3 billion mammals annually).

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Things you can do to help birds right now: Nix the pesticides

August 4, 2021 — Pesticides are poison, plain and simple. If you apply pesticides to your property to kill insects, you’re killing the food that Connecticut’s birds rely on. And while you might think you’re targeting mosquitoes or ticks, you’re also killing butterflies and bees of all sorts.

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Things you can do to help birds right now: landscaping

August 3, 2021 — Taking down your feeder now won’t be a burden for birds because there’s plenty of wild food available. Even so, there are still small things you can do in your yard that can make life easier for birds. Native plants host native insects that are in turn food for birds and other wildlife. Hundreds of species of pollinators and birds live in Connecticut. Ninety six percent of all birds rear their young on insects, and it takes a lot: 4,000 to 9,000 caterpillars, for example, to raise just one nest of baby chickadees!

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3 dead birds in Connecticut show similar symptoms to dead birds elsewhere so “please don’t feed” recommendation remains

August 2, 2021 — Please don’t put your bird feeders back up yet.  The state of Connecticut reported that it has tested three dead birds, and that  preliminary results suggest that the “cases match” what’s been seen in dead birds suffering from this condition elsewhere. In other words, there’s some evidence that the condition that is killing birds in southern, mid-Atlantic, and mid-western states has reached Connecticut.

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Important Coastal Center law enacted in Hartford

In the Sanctuaries…
August 2, 2021 — We are happy to be able to tell you about the success of a bill in Hartford that allows Connecticut Audubon to sign a new lease for the Milford Point Coastal Center and to continue operating that great nature sanctuary.

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Here’s how to help birds while your feeders are down

August 7, 2021 — One of the best things you can do for birds right now is to take down your bird feeder. Or if you’ve already taken it down, leave it down. Hummingbird feeders and bird baths included. The nature of the condition that has killed birds through many states, including Connecticut, is unknown but if it turns out to be infectious, minimizing the number of places where birds gather close together is prudent. There are other ways to help birds though. Here’s a list of actions we compiled in 2020. They’re even more relevant now.

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Thank you for remaining vigilant about helping to halt the spread of the mystery bird-killing condition

July 26, 2021 — To everyone who has taken down their bird feeders over the last three weeks, let us offer a sincere thank you. We continue to think it is the best way to try to stop the spread of the condition that has been killing birds in southern, mid-Atlantic, and mid-western states. The condition remains unidentified. Most of the afflicted birds have been recent fledglings. Many are blinded and seem to suffer from neurological damage before they die. It’s unknown if the condition spreads from bird to bird, but if it does, this is an especially important time of year, with migration about to start.

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Something is killing birds to the south, part 2. Here’s a Q&A explaining what you need to know.

July 7, 2021 — An unidentified disease has been killing songbirds in the southern, mid-Atlantic states, and mid-west states. Here’s what Connecticut residents need to know.

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Something is killing birds to the south. 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.

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To protect the beach-nesting birds, the Coastal Center parking lot will again be closed over the Fourth of July weekend

Correction: The Coastal Center gates will be locked at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 1, and reopened at sunrise on Tuesday, July 6.

In the Sanctuaries…

June 28, 2021 — Baby birds are trying to survive, fireworks will light the night sky, revelers will be looking toward the beach. At Milford Point, those three things are not compatible. And so once again the Connecticut Audubon Society will attempt to minimize the disturbance to beach-nesting birds by closing the Coastal Center parking lot for the Fourth if July weekend.

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Vote for us – 2021 Top 20 Places to Take Kids Survey

June 28, 2021 — Connecticut Audubon is again in the running for the annual KidsOutAndAbout survey of the Top 20 Places to Take Fairfield County Kids. Your vote will help make more people aware of the education programs and great experiences offered for all ages at our centers around the state. The survey runs through July 1.

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A guide to keeping shorebirds on the Milford Point sandbar safe when you visit in August

August 14, 2021 — Shorebirds gathering now on the sandbar at Milford Point need to rest without disturbance in order to have the energy to complete their migration from the far north to Central and South America. Visitors who get too close while walking, photographing, or viewing through scopes and binoculars will scattered the flocks and deprive them of that rest. But there’s a span of time each day during which you can visit the Milford Point sandbar without disturbing the shorebirds. That time span is from roughly four hours before low tide until three hours after.

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Purple Martin count: 122 eggs, 64 chicks, squirming and growing on schedule

In the Sanctuaries
June 28, 2021 — The Purple Martin colony at the Milford Point Coastal Center is thriving this summer. The number of nests in the 71 gourds has increased by 19% over last year — 44 nests, compared to 37.

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Not a Zabulon skipper or an American snout: a rare harvester at Birdcraft

In the Sanctuaries …
June 24, 2021 — A visit to Birdcraft Sanctuary in Fairfield yesterday resulted in an an exciting rare butterfly sighting for Connecticut Audubon Executive Director Patrick Comins.

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Anglers and bird lovers: your help needed to spread the word about fishing line recycling

June 21, 2021  — Your help is needed to get out the word about a serious hazard to local wildlife – especially if you love to fish. Discarded monofilament fishing line is dangerous to birds, fish and other wildlife, which can easily be injured, strangled or killed by line caught on piers, branches, and bushes. Fishing line also imperils swimmers and damages propellers and outboard motors.

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Keeping in touch with the experts: Deveaux Bank and its Whimbrels, the White House, Capitol Hilll

A Whimbrel at Milford Point, photographed recently by Frank Mantlik. Size is hard to judge without another bird in the photo but the long, down-curved bill is unmistakable.

June 20, 2021 — If you attend our lectures and read our reports, you know the names Deborah Cramer, Desiree Narango, and Tykee James. Catch up on what they’ve been doing: Deborah wrote about one of the great ornithological discoveries of recent decades, Desiree wrote to urge the White House to transform its grounds into a biodiversity hub, and Tykee led a bird walk for staffers on Capitol Hill.

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A redstart at Birdcraft and a long-shot coincidence lead to a “uniquely thrilling” experience

In the Sanctuaries …
June 16, 2021 — A visitor arrived last month at Birdcraft Sanctuary in Fairfield bearing a message from afar. That alone would have been amazing. But the message turned out to be personal, in a way — and an incredible coincidence that left the sender and the receivers with chills.

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Volunteers and early adopters are helping Connecticut’s Purple Martins

In the Sanctuaries …

June 8, 2021 — Six weeks after they returned from their wintering grounds, Purple Martins are laying eggs in the cluster of nest gourds at the Milford Point Coastal Center. That’s right on schedule. The team of volunteers and staff that monitors and maintains the gourds conducted its weekly check on Friday, June 4, and found eggs in 19 of the 71 gourds — a total of 76 eggs in all. Martins were building nests in 39 gourds, so it’s likely that many more eggs will follow.

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Yellow Warbler

June 5, 2021 — “Sweet, sweet, sweet, ain’t I sweet!” sings the Yellow Warbler, and indeed it is sweet to hear this most vocal of warblers warming up the early spring season with song. Also among the most common of warblers here in Connecticut, the Yellow Warbler is aptly named: it is yellow! While the male proudly displays bold chestnut stripes down his breast, the female is pure yellow tip to toe. No wingbars, no tail spots, just yellow, highlighted by a big black eye, like a round lump of coal.

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Black-throated Green Warbler

June 3, 2021 — One of the perils of birding is the affliction known as “warbler neck.” And Black-throated Green Warblers (Setophaga virens) are adept at causing it. From high in the pines or hemlocks of our Connecticut woodlands, the distinctive, buzzy “zee, zee, zee zoozee” (or “See, See, See Suzie”) song of the Black-throated Green advertises its presence and invites prolonged studies through binoculars until 1) the bird is spotted or 2) your neck gives out.

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Daily Bird: Black-bellied Whistling Duck, a rarity

June 1, 2021 — The first state record of Black-bellied Whistling Duck was in mid August, 2018, when one showed up in Essex. Now six have been found in Watertown —  the second state record. Back in August 2018, Andy Griswold, Connecticut Audubon’s EcoTravel director, wrote about the species for our old Bird Finder feature. We’ve revised it for today’s Daily Bird.

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A tough weekend for birds on the Milford Point sandbar means protection work must increase

In the Sanctuaries
June 10, 2021 — A succession of high tides during the full-moon period combined with a days-long storms washed away more than a dozen coastal waterbird nests at Milford Point over Memorial Day weekend. There’s still time for some of the birds to try a second nest — with your help the nesting season won’t be a total loss.

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2021 Birdathon Photo Contest Winners

May 26 — Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Migration Madness Birdathon Photo Contest. They emerged as the top shots our of almost 100 photos entered, as chosen by this year’s judge, Mary Grace Leone.

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Black-throated Blue Warbler

Don’t miss the beautiful videos on this!
May 25, 2021 — The Black-throated Blue Warbler, stunningly unique in its adult male garb, is quite average in other ways. It’s never as rare or hard to find as a Mourning Warbler, and never as abundant at the height of migration as a Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler, or a Palm Warbler.

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The Blue Plan passes and is now Connecticut’s official Long Island Sound planning policy

May 24, 2021 — Long a priority for Connecticut Audubon’s advocacy work, the Long Island Sound Blue Plan is now the official policy of Connecticut. The state General Assembly voted to adopt the Blue Plan on May 14. The plan is a guide to help decision-makers in their deliberations about which areas of the Sound are most valuable for conservation, the economy, recreation, etc.

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Beaver rides the current and lumbers up onto the beach at Milford Point

May 24, 2021 — The beaver pictured here lumbered up onto the beach at the Milford Point Coastal Center over the weekend, presumably after floating or swimming down the Housatonic River. It undoubtedly wasn’t the first beaver to show up there but it was unusual nonetheless.

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2021 Migration Madness Birdathon in Review: Exhaustion, Elation, Satisfaction — All in All, a Great Weekend

May 23, 2021 — Great weather, dozens of enthusiastic participants, and scores of bird species all made for an amazing 2021 Migration Madness Birdathon. Almost 100 people participated and 72 submitted checklists. Well over 200 people participated or made donations. They saw a total of 207 species of birds and raised $18,906 for bird conservation in Connecticut.

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Legislative committee unanimously passes Coastal Center lease bill

May 19, 2021 — Good news from Hartford: the bill authorizing a new lease for Coastal Center at Milford Point has made it out of committee. Following Friday’s hearing, the Government Administration and Elections Committee voted unanimously today to pass HB 6679, which was introduced by Representative Frank Smith of Milford. Thank you to Rep. Smith, to the committee, and to everyone who spoke or sent a message in favor of the bill!

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Blackpoll Warbler

May 19, 2021 — Though Blackpoll Warblers are fairly common in Connecticut, we are likely to see them only in spring and fall migrations, when they are among the last warblers to migrate. They don’t breed in the state or most of New England, and nest further north than any other warbler species.

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Migration Madness Birdathon 2021 Leaders

May 15, 2021 — Checklists are still coming in from the 94 people who have registered for the Migration Madness Birdathon. Here are the leaders after the first day and the number of species each person saw. Participants can submit lists anytime before midnight on Monday, May 17, so there are many more lists to come.

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Worm-eating Warbler

May 12, 2021 — During migration Worm-eating Warblers may be seen at any of the typical warbler stopovers, such as Connecticut Audubon’s Birdcraft Sanctuary in Fairfield and East Rock Park in New Haven.

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Migration Madness 2021 Grand Prize: an original owl carving being created specially for the Birdathon

May 12, 2021 — We just received the details from bird carver Keith Mueller about the carving he is creating for the 2021 Migration Madness Birdathon grand prize. Keith is an amazing artist, and it is an incredible honor to have him create an original work just for the Migration Madness Birdathon, May 14-16.

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Blackburnian Warbler

May 11, 2021 — One of the most strikingly colored of our wood-warblers, this species’ flaming orange throat was responsible for its colloquial name of “Fire Throat.”

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Magnolia Warbler

May 10, 2021 — The first time I really noticed a warbler was in my backyard in Milford when I was 10 years old with my dad’s binoculars. It was a Magnolia Warbler in a Flowering Dogwood at about eye level. For a 10 year old it seemed impossibly beautiful and I had no trouble looking it up in my field guide.

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Hooded Warbler

May 7, 2021 — Usually first noticed by a ringing “weeta, weeta, weeteeo” song, a Hooded Warbler sighting highlights almost any bird walk in the Connecticut woods. Hooded Warblers reach the northern edge of their breeding range here in Connecticut (although there is a breeding population in southern Ontario), generally arriving during the first week of May and setting up housekeeping almost immediately.

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20 Warblers in 60 Seconds

May 7, 2021 — Got a minute? Connecticut Audubon Board member Gilles Carter put together this fun video: “20 warblers in 60 seconds” to celebrate the upcoming Migration Madness Birdathon.

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Black-and-White Warbler

May 6, 2021 — Although every warbler species is unique, the Black-and-white Warbler stands out, and for a variety of reasons. Many warblers exhibit bright and flashy colors, but the aptly named Black-and-white Warbler is just that: black and white. Yet it is far from drab: the ornate and contrasting striped pattern conjures the exotic pattern of a zebra.

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Purple Martins are back and you can help them directly by adopting a nest gourd

In the Sanctuaries …
May 3, 2021 — Purple Martins have been gone from the Coastal Center since early September, probably wintering in the Amazon basin. But they’re back now, and you can help them thrive.

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These special walks at our centers are perfect for Birdathon participants

May 5, 2021 — With the Migration Madness Birdathon approaching, we’ve scheduled 19 bird walks at our centers to help you add to your Birdathon lists. The event is set for May 14, 15 and 16. It’s a weekend-long celebration of Connecticut’s birds during a peak migration weekend.

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Chestnut-sided Warbler

May 5, 2021 — This time of the year, Chestnut-sided Warblers are migrating through and can be found in numerous habitats. They nest in old field and scrubby habitat throughout Connecticut, a declining habitat type as forests mature and fields get developed and converted to lawns.

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Northern Parula

May 4, 2021 — Today marks the start of the Daily Bird’s warbler extravaganza. We have 19 warblers lined up for you, many with first-rate HD video by Connecticut Audubon Board member Gilles Carter. The first is Northern Parula, written by Connecticut Audubon Executive Director Patrick Comins.

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Tune up for the Migration Madness Birdathon with these 8 great bird videos

May 2, 2021 — Take a close look at these videos of Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Hooded Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Orchard Oriole, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Redstart, Belted Kingfisher, and Louisiana Waterthrush. And then sign up for the Migration Madness Birdathon, May 14-16.

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The country’s most important bird protection law is safe, thanks to a vast grassroots advocacy effort

May 27, 2021 — Thanks to a nationwide grassroots advocacy effort that included members of the Connecticut Audubon Society, the long-standing protections of the country’s most important bird protection law will remain intact. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced recently that it was revoking changes made in 2018 that weakened the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

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Daily Bird: Common Raven

April 28, 2021 — Common Ravens are among the earliest birds to construct nests, sometimes even while snow still blankets the ground in early March. Listen for its throaty croak, an identification dead give-away that is unlikely to be confused with Common Crow or Fish Crow, Connecticut’s other two big, all-black birds.

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Daily Bird: Noisy Spring Woodpeckers — Northern Flicker

April 27, 2021 — If Northern Flickers are breeding near where you live, you know it. Their calls pierce the woods in April, loud, long, and persistent. Take the time to look for the bird too because, as Andy Rzeznikiewicz says in today’s Daily Bird, “their various colors and markings are spectacular.”

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Daily Bird: Noisy Spring Woodpeckers — Pileated Woodpecker

April 23, 2021 — Woodpeckers are noisy this time of year. If you happen to live near a pair of Pileateds, you’ll know it. Add their loud territorial call to that of Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Common Flicker, and Downy Woodpecker, and you have a woodpecker cacophony.

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An injured Herring Gull at Milford Point: add face masks to fishing line, nets, and balloon strings on the list of litter that imperils birds

In the Sanctuaries
April 23, 2021 — They are the latest menace to wildlife — Covid protection masks that are lost or thrown on the ground and get tangled around birds’ wings, necks, and legs. On Monday, April 19, two members of Connecticut Audubon’s staff at the Milford Point Coastal Center found a young Herring Gull completely caught in a mask.

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Ten Ways to Help Birds: Number 1 — Advocate!

April 22, 2021 — We’ve made a list of 10 things you can do to help birds, and we’re counting them down one day at a time until today, Earth Day! Thank you for all you do to make a difference for conservation!

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10 Ways to Help Birds: Number 2 — Reverse the climate crisis

April 21, 2021 — The biggest threat to birds is climate change. Birds are already starting to feel the heat right here in Connecticut. It’s a global problem with local and regional implications, and with local and regional opportunities for meaningful action. The most effective action is collective but that doesn’t mean we should ignore individual action.

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Daily Bird: Eastern Bluebird

April 21, 2021 — One of the most sought after birds to attract to one’s yard! Males are a brilliant bright blue year round with a rusty colored breast, females are more grayish blue with a rusty breast and flanks. Their song is a thrush-like gurgle, often soft but sometimes surprisingly loud and forceful.

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10 Ways to Help Birds: Number 3 — Support open space preservation

April 20, 2021 — The bottom line for birds is habitat. They need suitable places to nest, spend the winter, and rest and feed during migration. It’s critical that you support the acquisition, preservation, and proper management of open space, including forest land, on the state and local level.

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Migration Madness Birdathon, May 14-16. Register now!

April 30, 2021 — You’re probably planning on going birding in mid-May. If you are, why not sign up for the 2021 Migration Madness Birdathon and get in on the fun? It’s scheduled for the weekend of May 14 – 16. Whether you are young or old, expert or novice, you’re invited.

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10 Ways to Help Birds: Number 4 — Landscape with native plants to attract insects and birds

April 19, 2021 — Even small yards can have a big impact on birds and insects. Earth Week is a good time to start revamping or enhancing your property. Native plants host native insects that are in turn food for birds and other wildlife. Hundreds of species of pollinators and birds live in Connecticut.

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Video preview: Earth Day Backyard Bioblitz, Thursday, April 22

April 19, 2021 — Registrations are trending up for this year’s Earth Day Backyard Bioblitz. It’s set for Thursday, April 22 — all day. But you don’t have to stay in your backyard. Connecticut Audubon’s sanctuaries will all be open. Cathy Hagadorn, director of Deer Pond Farm in Sherman, has some ideas about what you might find there on Earth Day.

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Video preview: Dr. Desiree Narango talks about her April 21 Zoom presentation, “The birds, the bees, the flowers and the trees”

April 17, 2021 — In her upcoming presentation in Young, Gifted, and Wild About Birds, Dr. Desiree Narango will talk about which plant species can attract those birds to your yard or nature preserve. She’ll tell you how to choose which trees and shrubs to plant. She’ll also go deep into the amazing biodiversity you’ll find in your own yard: Butterflies, moths, caterpillars, bees, birds, all illustrated with wonderful photos. Wednesday, April 21, 7 p.m., via Zoom.

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10 Ways to Help Birds: Number 5 — Join!

April 18, 2021 — You’re probably already a member of the Connecticut Audubon Society. If so, thank you! But if you’re not, give yourself an Earth Day gift and join!

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10 Ways to Help Birds: Number 6 — Cut out the pesticides

April 17, 2021 — Pesticides are poison, plain and simple. If you apply pesticides to your property to kill insects, you’re killing the food that Connecticut’s birds rely on. And while you might think you’re targeting mosquitoes or ticks, you’re also killing butterflies and bees of all sorts – Connecticut has over 300 species of native bees!

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What to expect during the 2021 Earth Day Backyard Bioblitz? Hundreds of species of plants and animals

April 16, 2021 — If you’re thinking about participating in the 2021 Earth Day Backyard Bioblitz, take a look at what happened last year: Well over 200 people from throughout Connecticut submitted 2,619 observations of 663 species — 444 plants, 86 birds, 38 insects, and 31 fungi.

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Daily Bird: April Migrants — Pine Warbler

April 16, 2021 — Of all the warblers that breed in Connecticut, the first to return in spring is the Pine Warbler, arriving in mid- to late March, just ahead of Louisiana Waterthrush. 

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10 Ways to Help Birds: Number 7 — volunteer for bird monitoring, habitat improvement work

April 16, 2021 — We have two state-wide projects that directly benefit birds and also rely on volunteers – Osprey Nation and the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds. We also doing habitat improvement work throughout the state. It’s important and rewarding work — a chance to help birds directly near where you live.

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10 Ways to Help Birds: Number 8 — Keep your cats indoors

April 15, 2021 — Don’t let the cat out of the house. Outdoor cats kill an estimated 1.3 – 4 billion birds in North America every year (they also kill 6.3–22.3 billion mammals annually).

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Daily Bird: April Migrants — Palm Warbler

April 14, 2021 — If you wait until May to look for spring warblers in Connecticut, you might miss seeing this gem. At this time of year Palm Warblers have entirely bright yellow underparts with fine dark steaks on their breast sides. They have a rusty red cap that is most colorful in males, an eyebrow that is just as yellow as the breast, and olive-brown upper parts without wing bars.

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10 Ways to Help Birds: Number 9 — shop sustainably

April 14, 2021 — Over the last 50 years, the population of birds in North America has falled by almost 30 percent. Shopping sustainably won’t solve the whole problem. But it’s one of a number of positive actions you can take. It’s a good Earth Day resolution.

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Daily Bird: Osprey

by Joe Attwater
April 12, 2021 — There is perhaps no other bird along the coast of Connecticut that ushers in warm weather better than the Osprey. March into early April is when these magnificent birds make their way back to the state from wintering grounds on the west coast and South America, just as spring is starting to ramp up.

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10 Ways to Help Birds: Number 10 — Make your windows safe

April 13, 2021 — If early January is for New Year’s resolutions, the coming of Earth Day is a good time to make your own environmental resolutions. As with many other issues, individuals can take meaningful action to protect birds from killing themselves on windows. But that’s just one idea. Today starts our list of 10 ways to help birds. We’ll be counting them down, one each day til Earth Day, Thursday, April 22.

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Deer Pond Farm in Sherman is the place to be for a great Earth Week bird walk, Saturday, April 24

In the Sanctuaries …

April 12, 2021 — Spend the Saturday morning of Earth Week at Deer Pond Farm looking for (and no doubt finding) Red-shouldered Hawks, Pileated Woodpeckers, Louisiana Waterthrushes, Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows and many more migratory and breeding birds.

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This guided bird walk at the Coastal Center on April 23 is a great way to celebrate Earth Week

In the Sanctuaries …
April 11, 2021 — Join Stefan Martin, our habitat steward, for an Earth Week walk along the marsh, beach, and upland areas of the Milford Point Coastal Center in search of migrating songbirds and shorebirds. Friday, April 23, 8 to 10 a.m.

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Learn your spring migratory birds during this April 21 Earth Week walk in Groton

April 10, 2021 — Spring is a great time to go birding in Connecticut. Dozens of species move into and through the state from wintering grounds further south. The diversity can be overwhelming, especially when identifying warblers high in the canopy or picking out songs in the dawn chorus. But we’re here to help. Join us for an Earth Week Spring Migration Bird Walk at the Avery Farm Nature Preserve in Groton.

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Celebrate Earth Week with an April 20 morning walk at the Larsen Sanctuary in Fairfield

In the Sanctuaries
April 9, 2021 — Botanist and naturalist Jim Cortina, along with Connecticut Audubon volunteer Burt Boardman, will lead a nature walk for adults focused on learning about plants and animals in the Larsen Sanctuary. The destination is Deer Meadow. Along the way, there will be stops to examine the springtime signs and emergence of a great variety of wildlife.

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Daily Bird: House Finch

April 8, 2021 — Though year-round residents in Connecticut, House Finches become much more active in spring as they gear up for breeding season. They’re rarely alone, traveling in small, noisy flocks. Listen for the jumbled song of the males, who may sing throughout the year.

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Volunteers of Friends of Larsen Sanctuary in Fairfield complete “one for the books”

In the Sanctuaries
April 8, 2021 — The volunteers of the Friends of Larsen Sanctuary group could hardly contain their enthusiasm after spending a long day planting native trees and shrubs recently. Guided by Charlie Stebbins, Misty Beyer, Mary Hogue, and George Neamonitis, they planted 79 native trees and shrubs along the Fragrance Loop trail, near Farm Pond, in the pollinator garden, and along the entrance.

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Daily Bird: Spring waterfowl — Green-winged Teal

April 7, 2021 — There were scores of Green-winged Teal on the marsh at Milford Point yesterday, and good numbers in recent days at Shell Beach in Guilford. They peak in abundance during March but there are still a number of Green-winged Teal scattered about the state in other locations as well.

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Daily Bird: Eastern Phoebe

April 6, 2021— Eastern Phoebe is one of the first songbirds to arrive back in Connecticut during spring migration. They’re mainly insect eaters, particularly flying insects. They’re a common species that can be found around most homes and outbuildings, and readily build their nest on small ledges under overhangs in buildings, on outdoor lights and under bridges.

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Earth Day Backyard Bioblitz 2021: A Great Family Activity

April 5, 2021 — Birds are returning, flowers are blooming, insects are buzzing. And no doubt you’re spending more time outdoors. That means it’s time for Connecticut Audubon’s second Earth Day Backyard Bioblitz. It takes place in one day — Earth Day, April 22, 2021. The Earth Day Backyard BioBlitz is free and it’s fun but you must register to participate.

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Daily Bird: Spring waterfowl — Blue-winged Teal

March 31, 2021 — As spring takes hold, our marshes, both inland and coastal, will really begin to awaken. One of our most familiar and easily-observed groups of birds, the ducks, are in peak migration and can be seen readily in most wetlands. Keep an eye out for the dapper Blue-winged Teal among the flocks of familiar waterfowl.

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The Housatonic Valley Association wants to hear from birders

March 31, 2021 — If the Housatonic River north of New Milford is one of your birding destinations, the Housatonic Valley Association wants to know what you think. The association is looking for ideas for how to make the river area more welcoming, safer, and cleaner for recreation opportunities.

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Daily Bird: White-faced Ibis

March 30, 2021 — Birders found a White-faced Ibis — an uncommon visitor to Connecticut’s coast — at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison today.

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Board Chair Kathleen Van Der Aue Honored for “Patient and Purposeful” Collaborations on Behalf of Birds

March 30, 2021 — Kathleen Van Der Aue, the chair of Connecticut Audubon’s Board of Directors, has been honored by the Connecticut Ornithological Association with an award named for Connecticut Audubon’s founder, Mabel Osgood Wright, the pioneering conservationist who in many ways inspired Van Der Aue’s own conservation work.

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Daily Bird: Great Horned Owl

March 29, 2021 — Great Horned Owl is one of the earliest nesting birds in Connecticut, and you may already start to see the downy heads of chicks poking out the top of their stick nests this time of year.

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In the thick of it with the rare New England cottontail: An interview with cottontail expert Lisa Wahle

In the Sanctuaries …

March 28, 2021 — Rare and elusive, New England cottontail rabbits live throughout the northeast, including on at least three Connecticut Audubon sanctuaries. In this video interview Lisa Wahle talks about the project; the difficulty of identifying them in the field; their range; and the Connecticut Audubon sanctuaries where they find refuge.

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Daily Bird: Spring waterfowl — Wood Duck

March 26, 2021 — This time of the year Wood Ducks are found in good nesting habitat. That includes almost all freshwater bodies and wetlands with nearby large trees and adequate cover.

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Wildlife After Dark: A free Zoom presentation about fishers and other mammals at Deer Pond Farm

In the Sanctuaries
March 25, 2021 — The birds of Connecticut Audubon’s sanctuaries are well-documented. But what about the large, formidable weasels called fishers? Wildlife biologist Katerina Gillis is working on it. On Thursday, April 1, at 7 p.m., she’ll walk you through what she’s learned in a special free Zoom presentation filled with amazing images from her game cameras.

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Nest Boxes for New Canaan’s Birds

In the Sanctuaries … March 24, 2021 — Breeding season is underway and birds needs places to nest, so Connecticut Audubon staff spent this morning in New Canaan helping volunteers put up nest boxes at the Bristow Bird Sanctuary. The work is part of a series of habitat improvements that the New Canaan Conservation Commission, […]

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Daily Bird: Spring waterfowl — American Black Duck

March 24, 2021 — Breeding season is starting so look for American Black Duck mainly in freshwater wetlands such as shallow ponds, marshes, and beaver ponds. Some nesting occurs in saltwater marshes as well.

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Daily Bird: Spring waterfowl — Ring-necked Duck

March 22, 2021 — Ring-necked Ducks appear on Connecticut’s shallow freshwater lakes as soon as the ice disappears in late winter and early spring. As with many waterfowl, if you pick the right spot and don’t try to get too close, they can be fairly easy to observe with binoculars or a scope. Also like most waterfowl, they are strikingly beautiful.

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Daily Bird: Bonaparte’s Gull

March 19, 2021 — They are most likely to be seen during spring migration through Long Island Sound, which peaks from now to early-April, when with some luck the larger flocks may be found. When in flight, these flocks stay very tightly together and can be quite acrobatic as they weave back and forth through the air. Look for them feeding on barnacle larvae on the water’s surface. This annual phenomenon known as a plankton “bloom” occurs in March and April, coinciding with the Bonaparte’s Gull migration.

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Daily Bird: Black-headed Gull

March 17, 2021 — A great find at any time of the year, but more likely in the late winter and early spring, this small, hooded gull is normally found associating with large flocks of Bonaparte’s Gulls but often consorts with larger gull species such as Laughing and Ring-billed Gulls.

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Connecticut Audubon’s Hartford Advocacy List for 2021

March 16, 2021 — Helping to change laws, in Hartford and Washington, by speaking out and writing is an incredibly effective way of protecting the environment. Connecticut Audubon Public Policy/Advocacy Committee has chosen a handful of important bills in Hartford to speak out on in 2021. Here’s a list, with links to our written testimony.

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Banded oystercatcher returns to Milford Point

In the Sanctuaries …

March 16, 2021 — The focus of attention at the Milford Point Coastal Center last week was the yellow leg-wear of a visitor to the outer sandbar. The visitor? An American Oystercatcher, banded with a yellow leg identification tag.

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Scott Weidensaul lecture in partnership with Ridgefield Library and Ridgefield Garden Club, March 23

March 12, 2021 – Join us on Zoom at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23, for a special presentation by author Scott Weidensaul, author of numerous books, including Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds, which was nominated for a Pultizer Prize.

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Daily Bird: American Woodcock

March 10, 2021 — A harbinger of spring, American Woodcocks arrived in Connecticut in February again this year rather than in March. Their flight displays and calls are an amazing spectacle that should be witnessed by all who appreciate nature and yearn for spring to start.

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Daily Bird: Wilson’s Snipe

March 9, 2021 — Wilson’s Snipe are starting to show up in Connecticut. These game birds are cryptically and physically similar to American Woodcock but they are readily distinguishable by a head-striping pattern opposite that of Woodcock: longitudinal rather than latitudinal.

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International Women’s Day 2021: Our Founder, Written by Our Board Chair

March 8, 2021 — In honor of International Women’s Day, we went into the archives for this beautiful short biography of our founder, Mabel Osgood Wright, written by our Board Chair, Kathleen Van Der Aue.

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During these unprecedented times we are grateful to our funders who have graciously supported Connecticut Audubon as we develop online and distance learning programs. These programs have been made possible in part by:

  • The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut
  • John P. Flanagan Foundation
  • NewAlliance Foundation
  • Savings Bank of Manchester Foundation
  • The Community Foundation of Greater New Haven
  • The Nordson Charitable Foundation
  • The Perkin Fund
  • The Scripps Family Fund for Education and the Arts
  • The SpringRiver Private Foundation Trust
  • The Valley Foundation
  • Virginia B. Squiers Foundation
  • The Waterfall Foundation
  • Wakefern
  • ShopRite
  • Garofalo Markets
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