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Natural Selections

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Daily Bird 2024: Canada Warbler

May 24, 2024—The Canada Warbler, with its distinctive black necklace, is a sought-after bird for many birders. Listen for a clear “chip” note followed by an explosive series of short notes often ending in a three-note phrase—a key identifier when searching for this species.

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Going birding this weekend? Help protect the shorebirds by giving them plenty of room.

May 23, 2024—There’s plenty of good birding left in Connecticut during spring migration, and of course the Migration Magic Birdathon runs through May 31. If you’re planning to look for birds at the Milford Point Coastal Center over Memorial Day weekend, please time your visit to avoid the sandbar at high tide.

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Homegrown Habitat, May 2024: Eastern Red Columbine

May 21, 2024— What better way to celebrate this floriferous time of year than to plant the fascinating, bird-friendly Eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)? You can join the welcome party that columbine throws for the beloved ruby-throated hummingbirds: just as the tiny migrants return from their winter sojourn in Central America, columbine unfurls its brilliant red and yellow tubular petals full of sweet nectar. 

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Lights Out Alert for May 21 and May 22

May 21, 2024—Connecticut is on High Alert again for the next two nights as an estimated 700,000 birds will be migrating through the state tonight and tomorrow night. A High Alert notice from the Colorado State University Aeroeco Lab means it’s a good idea to turn out your exterior lights at night. Birds migrate at night and they are often killed or injured when they crash into buildings after being drawn by outdoor lights.

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Halfway through the 2024 Migration Magic Birdathon, here are the leaders

May 17, 2024 — Sixteen days of the month-long Migration Magic Birdathon have gone by. Numbers have started to add up and we’re happy to post the leaders, below.

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Daily Bird 2024: Eastern Whip-poor-will

May 13, 2024 — The first bird of the Migration Magic Big Day was Eastern Whip-poor-will, which the Connecticut Audubon team heard calling at 4:12 a.m.in Meshomasic State Forest, just east of the Connecticut River. It was not a random observation. Whip-poor-wills have become scarce enough in Connecticut that hearing one requires some planning.

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Lights Out Alert for Monday, May 13, and Tuesday, May 14

May 13, 2024—Two of the busiest nights of spring bird migration are upon us, so please make a point of turning out your exterior lights tonight and tomorrow — Monday, May 13, and Tuesday, May 14. Radar predictions from the Colorado State University AeroEco Lab show that about half a million migrating birds will be flying over and into the state each night.

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Connecticut Bird Chaser #3: May 11, 2024

An occasional newsletter for Migration Magic Birdathon Participants and Donors. Notes today on Mondya’s Big Day, Birdathon totals so far, and birds no one has reported yet

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Fine Art photo exhibition and sale for the benefit of the Stratford Point preserve, Saturday, May 18

You’re Invited to an Exhibition and Sale of Fine Art Photography: The Beauty of Birds Featuring the photographs of Robyn Charmel Join us for a celebration of avian beauty as we showcase the work of Robyn Charmel, a passionate wildlife photographer based in Connecticut. With over a decade of dedication to her craft, Robyn has […]

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Migration Magic Big Day 2024

Four of Connecticut Audubon’s most energetic birders have thrown down a challenge. They’re banding together for a Migration Magic “Big Day” on Monday, May 13. Their goal is to see at least 150 species in 16 consecutive hours of birding. Their challenge is for you and all of us to support them by making a per-bird pledge! 

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Daily Bird 2024: Worm-eating Warbler

May 8, 2024—You’re likely to find Worm-eating Warblers in numerous locations during May migration, making it a good species to add to your Migration Magic Birdathon checklist. Connecticut Audubon staffers Deb Eccleston and Stefan Martin saw them at our Birdcraft Sanctuary in Fairfield for several days in a row this month. Seven were reported from Nehantic State Forest in Lyme just yesterday and two days ago a birder reported 13 at West Rock Ridge State Park in New Haven.

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3 Connecticut Audubon Centers are competing against each other in the Birdathon. Show your support!

May 6, 2024—Three of Connecticut Audubon’s centers are participating in Migration Magic in a new way. They’re competing against each other in the Birdathon to see how many species they can find on their sanctuaries during May. It’s the Center at Pomfret vs. the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center vs. the Coastal Center at Milford Point.

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Lights Out: High Alert!

May 6, 2024 — The next three nights look like they will be big bird migration nights, so please turn out your lights to help prevent those birds from crashing into windows.

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Connecticut Bird Chaser #2: May 5, 2024

A newsletter for Migration Magic Birdathon participants & donors. Notes today on Birdathon FOMO, the big week ahead, and Monday’s eBird webinar.

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Connecticut Bird Chaser #1: May 2, 2024

A newsletter for Migration Magic Birdathon participants & donors. Notes today on an upcoming eBird tutorial, early results, and bird walks

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Daily Bird 2024: Great Egret

May 1, 2024 — A stately figure found in wetlands, lakes, and marshes, the Great Egret is a prominent sight during spring migration and through the breeding season. In winter, these birds journey as far south as the southern tip of Central America.

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Lights Out Alert for Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27

April 26, 2024—The first big wave of spring bird migration is upon us. Forecasts show that 249,000 birds are expected to be passing over Connecticut tonight, and 453,000 tomorrow night. Please make sure you turn out your lights tonight and tomorrow night to help prevent birds from getting killed.

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Lights Out Alerts 2024

April 26, 2024—Billions of birds die each year from collisions with buildings. In a country where 30% of the bird population has been lost in recent decades, it’s a serious problem. Migrating birds – confused by city lights at night – are especially vulnerable. But there are a few simple and effective things you can do to help.

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Daily Bird 2024: Pine Warbler

April 20, 2024—The Pine Warbler is a harbinger of spring. In some years, many arrive during the last few days of March, and by mid April they are singing and establishing breeding territories.

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Homegrown Habitat, April 2024: Sweetfern

April 19, 2024—Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina) isn’t actually a fern, but a low shrub in the Myricacea family with somewhat fern-like, aromatic foliage. It is native from Quebec south to Georgia and west to Ontario and Minnesota. This under-appreciated shrub, which grows two to four feet high and four to eight feet wide, has many appealing features including its value to wildlife. 

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Daily Bird 2024: Palm Warbler

April 17, 2024—If you wait until May to look for the delightful Palm Warbler in Connecticut, you might miss your chance. This early migrant is on the move now.

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Simple changes to the state’s outdoor lighting regulations will make Connecticut safer for birds

April 17, 2024—With spring migration peaking soon, efforts to reduce the number of birds that die when they crash into windows and buildings are at the forefront. Connecticut Audubon and its members are part of the solution. This week we collaborated with the Lights Out Coalition of Connecticut to propose simple changes to the state’s outdoor lighting regulations. Those changes are designed to help birds make it safely into and through the state, without crashing into buildings.

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Daily Bird Northern Flicker 2024

April 15, 2024—Northern Flickers aren’t your typical woodpeckers. These handsome birds are just as likely to be hopping on your lawn, searching for ants and grubs, as they are hammering a tree. Their flashy white rump and bright yellow wing feathers make them easy to spot in flight. This is the time of year when Northern Flickers are perhaps most noticeable, because of their loud call.

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Celebrate the Magic of Bird Migration with Connecticut Audubon’s Migration Magic bird festival

April 12, 2024—Connecticut Audubon invites you to Migration Magic, a month-long celebration of the beauty and importance of birds as they arrive back in Connecticut. Share the joy of birds and raise funds for the ongoing work of bird conservation in Connecticut!

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Daily Bird 2024: Green-winged Teal

April 10, 2024—At only 14 inches long, the Green-winged Teal is the smallest North American duck. It might also be the most beautiful (the competition for that honor is tough).

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Daily Bird 2024: Northern Gannet

April 8, 2024—The reports of Northern Gannets flying over Long Island Sound last week were enough to make a desk-bound birder envious. Frank Mantlik, a member of the regional board of Connecticut Audubon’s Milford Point Coastal Center, and Stefan Martin, conservation manager, were among the many birders who knew enough to look for them from the state’s beaches following the mid-week storm. Here’s a report.

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Flaco’s death underscores the importance of rodenticide controls in Connecticut; a new bill would regulate the rat poisons found in the eagle-owl’s body

March 26, 2024—Flaco, the Eurasian Eagle-Owl that escaped from the Central Park Zoo a year ago and died in February, had been poisoned with four different rodenticides. The news underscores the critical importance in Connecticut of passing a new state law to strictly regulate the kind of rat poisons that contributed to Flaco’s death—second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides.

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Federal funds will go toward major conservation and education improvements at the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

March 25, 2024—Two environmental improvement projects planned for the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center in Old Lyme have been awarded funding from the federal government. The Estuary Center will receive $800,000 to improve bird and wildlife habitat, and $500,000 to address climate control and energy efficiency for its historic building.

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Homegrown Habitat, March 2024: Spicebush

March 20, 2024—The tiny, lemon-yellow flowers of spicebush (Lindera benzoin) brighten the landscape just when we need them the most—when wintry weather lingers, and the warmth of spring seems a distant memory from last year.

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Look what landed on the Milford Point Osprey Platform!

Connecticut Audubon Board member George Amato was birding at the Milford Point Coastal Center on Wednesday afternoon, March 13, witnessed this, and let Stefan Martin, our conservation manager know. Stefan quickly pressed record on the Osprey Cam — here it is: 2 minutes of an immature Bald Eagle, in beautiful close-up.

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“In Conversation with Christian Cooper: Observing the Observer”

Join the Connecticut Audubon Society and other organizations for a free special event featuring author, birder, and naturalist Christian Cooper. This engaging conversation, moderated by Connecticut Audubon Board member Robert Lamothe, will feature Christian Cooper discussing his lifelong passion for birding, the beauty of the natural world, and the experiences chronicled in his new memoir, Better Living Through Birding—Notes from a Black Man in the Natural World. 

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“Find (and Photograph) More Birds” — Heather Wolf and the Young, Gifted & Wild About Birds season finale

Join Heather Wolf as she talks about her latest book Find More Birds: 111 Surprising Ways to Spot Birds Wherever You Are.  Heather will share tips on bird-finding close to home and beyond, as well as ways to witness more of the fascinating bird behaviors and drama we all want to see! Thursday, March 28, 2024, 7-8 p.m. via Zoom.

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Testimony of The Connecticut Audubon Society regarding “An Act Concerning the Use of Neonicotinoids,” S.B. 190

Friday, March 8, 2024 — Connecticut Audubon Executive Director Joyce Leiz is testifying in Hartford today on a proposal to regulate a dangerous class of pesticides called neonicotinoids.

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“Trouble on the Beach: Intruders at Nature Preserves are Driving Away Vulnerable Birds” — Young, Gifted & Wild About Birds

March 1, 2024 — The 2023 season was a good one for Connecticut’s most vulnerable beach-nesting birds, American Oystercatchers and Least Terns. Or it least it looked to be so at the start. Coastal rangers were diligent in their patrols, and a streak of good luck kept coastal storms away. Yet one persistent problem counter-acted the success. Throughout the season human visitors and their pets intruded on the roped-off beach areas where these species nest.

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Observing an owl? Here’s what to do to keep you and the owl safe.

Follow these three basic rules no matter which owl — Barred, Snowy, Northern Saw-whet, etc. (borrowed from Project SNOWStorm)

Keep your distance
Respect private property
Don’t feed an owl, ever.

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Bird Finder Revisited: Greater White-fronted Goose

February 22, 2024 — Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) is a rare but regular visitor to Connecticut in winter. Over the last month or so, birders have been observing one at Crosby Pond in Orange and 9th District Road in Somers.

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“Pesticides in Connecticut—Protecting our Birds and Bees,” a free program February 27 in New Milford

February 20, 2024 — The risks that pesticides and rodenticides pose to birds, pollinators and people will be the topic of a program at the New Milford Public Library on Tuesday, February 27, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Joyce Leiz, executive director of the Connecticut Audubon Society, will be among the program’s speakers.

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

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.

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Homegrown Habitat, February 2024: Sweet Birch

February 16, 2024 — A simple pleasure in winter is to take note of unusual bark on trees and shrubs. Many examples exist; bark might be peeling, flaking, or striped, and red, green, white, or a beautiful smooth gray, etc. Sweet birch (Betula lenta), also known as black and cherry birch, exhibits shiny, black bark in its youth, with horizontal lines called lenticels. As the tree ages the bark will develop scaly plates. The bark and twigs emit an aroma of wintergreen when scratched.

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Here’s what you need to know about feeding birds in winter

Movement. Color, drama and song — see it all at your backyard bird feeder! Choosing the right seeds and feeder location (and providing water) will make viewing winter birds much easier. Here’s your guide!

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Next on Young, Gifted & Wild About Birds — Separate and Unequal: Birds and Nature in Connecticut’s Cities

Do the parks and overgrown lots in Connecticut’s poorer urban neighborhoods have fewer birds or does it just seem that way because fewer birders visit those places? The question has important implications not just for birds but for the well-being of neighborhood residents too.  Join us via Zoom on Thursday, February 15, 2024, 7-8 p.m., […]

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Conference: “Neonics, The New DDT — What You Need to Know About the Pesticides Harming Connecticut’s Birds, Bees, Wildlife & People”

The Connecticut Coalition for Pesticide Reform is organizing a conference for advocates, residents, and government officials interested in reducing the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the state.

Date and time: March 11, 2024. Noon to 5 p.m.
Place: McCook Auditorium
Trinity College, Hartford

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These key issues in 2024 will protect Connecticut’s birds and other wildlife. They need your involvement.

The 2024 session at the Capitol in Hartford is an important opportunity for Connecticut Audubon members and supporters to get involved by being part of a team of conservation advocates. The session starts Wednesday, February 7.

Between now and the end of the session in May, we’re hoping to work with you to contact your elected representatives and others on behalf of Connecticut’s birds and other wildlife. The issues that we think are most important, and where together you and we can have the most impact, are: pesticides, rodenticides, light pollution, and climate.

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Summer Camp 2024 Registration Starts Thursday, February 1

Connecticut Audubon summer camps are an excellent balance of fun and discovery. Your kids will explore and thrive in the natural environment. They’ll have up-close encounters with animals, and learn conservation skills to care for local natural resources at home, school, and Connecticut Audubon’s centers and sanctuaries.

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The Mystery and Magnificence of the Snowy Owl

January 21, 2024—Every few years the world of winter birding in southern New England is electrified by the arrival of Snowy Owls from the Arctic. These amazing birds have been studied extensively in recent years by the team of scientists at Project SNOWstorm, including Rebecca McCabe. Join us for her program, via Zoom, on Thursday, January 25, 7-8 p.m. The cost is $9 for Connecticut Audubon members or $12 for non-members.

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Homegrown Habitat, January 2024: American Holly

January 20, 2024 — When the Pilgrims arrived in what is now called Massachusetts, they encountered pyramidal evergreen trees with spiny leaves and red berries that reminded them of a tree back home called English holly (Ilex aquifolium), a symbol of Christmas for centuries in England and Europe. Thus the American holly (Ilex opaca), also known as white holly for the color of its wood, was immediately bestowed with similar reverence and symbolism, which it still retains.

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Joyce Leiz is Selected as Connecticut Audubon Society’s Executive Director

January 13, 2024 — We are happy to announce that the Connecticut Audubon Society Board of Directors has selected Joyce Leiz to lead the organization as executive director.  Joyce has served as interim executive director since June 2023 and has become known throughout the state from her participation in programs, meetings, webinars, and other Connecticut Audubon activities. 

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“The Glass Wall: Making Connecticut’s Buildings Safer for Birds” — a Young, Gifted & Wild About Birds presentation, Thursday, January 18

January 13, 2024 — Young, Gifted & Wild About Birds 2024 starts Thursday at 7 p.m. with a Zoom presentation by Viveca Morris and Meredith Barges about how to make buildings safer for birds. We’ve titled their presentation, “The Glass Wall: Making Connecticut’s Buildings Safer for Birds.” If you’re interested in birds and conservation, you won’t want to miss it.

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Robert B. Braun, former Board president, 1928-2023

The Board and staff of Connecticut Audubon were saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Robert B. Braun of Fairfield on December 26, at age 95.    Bob served as member and president of Connecticut Audubon’s Board of Directors in the 1970s and 1980s. A skilled birder and naturalist from boyhood on, he was […]

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Young, Gifted and Wild About Birds 2024: New insights on observation and conservation in Connecticut and beyond

Young, Gifted and Wild About Birds starts its 4th year with two great January presentations. First, on January 18: “The Glass Wall: Making Connecticut’s Buildings Safer for Birds” Followed on January 25 by: “The Mystery and Magnificence of the Snowy Owl” February and March will bring discussions of urban bird conservation; coastal birds and the hazards of nesting on the beach; and the joys of finding and photographing new birds. Since December 2020 this unique series has brought together some of the country’s most innovative, cutting-edge young scientists, conservationists and bird enthusiasts to discuss their work via Zoom.

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Homegrown Habitat, December 2023: Balsam Fir

December 18, 2023—If you celebrate Christmas, you know the balsam fir (Abies balsamaea) as an iconic symbol of the season. Its symmetrically conical shape and dark-green needles make it a popular Christmas tree, and it is also used extensively for wreaths. Balsam fir bark and needles contain terpenes that lend its foliage a delightful fragrance. But in addition to its beauty, balsam fir has much to offer ecologically. Woodland mammals rely on it for food and shelter, and it offers many benefits to birds. And, as you will see below, it has several interesting characteristics and uses.

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Connecticut State of the Birds 2023

December 7, 2023—The 2023 Connecticut State of the Birds report, released today, looks at five key areas of conservation concern from previous reports—examples of how new knowledge, new realities, increased human effort, and better technologies are either resulting in changes or resulting in the awareness of the need for improvemen

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Homegrown Habitat, November 2023: Northern Bayberry

November 27, 2023—During this gray, dark time of year, the flame-colored leaves we’ve enjoyed so much in the last month or so turn brown and drop onto the cold ground. But an often overlooked shrub lets us know that there is yet life and spirit in the landscape—if we would just take the time to notice.

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Osprey Nation 2023: A decade of careful monitoring shows a large and widespread Osprey population in Connecticut

November 20, 2023—Ospreys are thriving in Connecticut, and interest in these beautiful, fish-eating raptors is thriving as well. This was the 10th year of Connecticut Audubon’s Osprey Nation monitoring program. The volunteer Osprey nest stewards found and mapped 688 active nests. By the end of the season, 881 baby Ospreys had fledged — the most ever recorded by the project. 

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“The mystique of birding” — a leg band found at Milford Point reveals the oldest known Black-bellied Plover in the Western Hemisphere

November 14, 2023—By any account, it was a good day of mid-October birding at the Coastal Center for Chris Unsworth: 50 species and almost 600 individual birds. But it was one bird that he didn’t see—or rather, didn’t see alive—that made the day special. 

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2023 Annual Meeting: Saturday, November 4, at the Fairfield Museum

November 1, 2023 — Please join us on Saturday, November 4, for the Connecticut Audubon Society’s annual meeting. It’s a special event this year to mark our 125th anniversary. The meeting will be held at the Fairfield Museum and History Center, in the heart of the neighborhood where Connecticut Audubon was founded and the first meetings were held.

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Homegrown Habitat, October 2023: Highbush Blueberry

October 23, 2023—Blueberries are bird-friendly native plants with autumn flair. Their delicious summer fruit is packed with vitamins and antioxidants; all sorts of health benefits are attributed to them. Their subtle spring flowers, small white and pink bells, are lovely to look at and entice pollinators. But blueberries become showstoppers in fall, with foliage that turns brilliant red, orange, and purple. In winter their beautifully textured bark ensures the blueberry’s status as a garden plant with four-season interest.

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Connecticut Audubon Society statement on the United Illuminating Railroad Transmission Line Upgrade Project

October 5, 2023—United Illuminating is proposing to rebuild transmission lines along the 25 miles of the Metro North Railroad corridor between Fairfield and West Haven. Transmission lines pose a hazard to birds of all kinds. Between 8 and 57 million birds are killed by transmission lines in the U.S. each year.

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Lights Out alerts for Saturday, Sunday and Monday

September 30, 2023 — An estimated 930,000 birds will be migrating over and through Connecticut tonight, 1.1 million tomorrow night, and and 570,000 Monday night. That means we’re in for three pretty good days of birding. But it also means that a lot of birds are at risk of crashing into things. Please help protect migrating birds by turning your lights out each of the next three nights.

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Homegrown Habitat mail: planting advice

September 28, 2023 — Two Homegrown Habitat readers who live on opposite sides of the Connecticir River—Old Lyme and Old Saybrook—wrote this week seeking practical advice on what and where to plant. We thought you might find Sarah Middeleer’s advice to be useful.

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It’s a good night to help protect migrating birds by turning exterior lights out.

September 27, 2023 — Tonight is a “medium” alert night for bird migration. But “medium” is not nothing; 424,000 birds will be passing over and through Connecticut, as this map produced by Colorado State University’s Aeroeco lab shows. So it’s a good night to help protect those migrating birds by turning out exterior lights

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Rare bird alert: Once again, a Roseate Spoonbill visits Connecticut and the Milford Point Coastal Center

August 25, 2023 — For the fourth time in six years, a Roseate Spoonbill is visiting Connecticut.

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September 2023: Asters

Asters and goldenrods: These two standouts of the late-summer and autumn landscape give new meaning to the oft-repeated garden design phrase “four-season interest,” but from the point of view of our treasured pollinators and songbirds.

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Roseate Spoonbill 2023: a selection of photos

August 28, 2023 — The Roseate Spoonbill that arrived at Connecticut Audubon’s Milford Point Coastal Center on Thursday, August 24, has not caused quite the elation among birders as the spoonbill that spent three weeks in the area in 2018. Still, this year’s visitor is not without its fans. About 30 people climbed the Coastal Center’s observation tower late in the afternoon on Sunday, August 27, to see it in the Charles Wheeler Salt Marsh.

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Volunteer for habitat improvement work at Milford Point

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 […]

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August 2023: Goldenrods (with asters to follow in September)

August 21, 2023 — The dynamic duo of yellow goldenrods and purple asters is one of the glories of the late-summer landscape. These members of the aster family often grow near one another, for good reason – bees, who benefit greatly from both genera, are attracted to the combination of purple and gold. Robin Wall Kimmerer, botanist and author of Braiding Sweetgrass, says of goldenrod and asters, “Their striking contrast when they grow together makes them the most attractive target in the whole meadow, a beacon for bees. Growing together, both receive more pollinator visits than if they were growing alone.”

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Catch up with these conservation stories in the Connecticut news media

August 10, 2023 — It has been a good summer for bird conservation, and that has caught the attention of editors and reporters throughout Connecticut.

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Homegrown Habitat Mail: Great, basic advice on planting for the benefit of birds and pollinators

August 2, 2023 — Responding to a question about what to plant on a specific property, Homegrown Habitat author Sarah Middeleer instead responded with advice that almost any homeowner can use.

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Northern Bobwhite joins the list of breeding birds at the Bafflin Preserve in Pomfret. But for this grassland species, there’s more to the story

July 31, 2023 — One of the great things about the bird world is that you just never know. You never know, for example, when a species that hasn’t nested in the state in 20 or 30 years will suddenly settle down and raise a family on your sanctuary, which is what a pair of Northern Bobwhite did this year at Connecticut Audubon’s Bafflin Preserve in Pomfret.

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Tips to help protect shorebirds if you visit Milford Point

Late summer and early fall are great times to go birding at the Milford Point Coastal Center. But because Milford Point is first and foremost a nature preserve, we ask that you enjoy the birds without disturbing them, especially on the sand spit.

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Combine tough little birds and diligent conservation with a bit of luck, and the result is a record year for threatened Piping Plovers at Milford Point

July 24, 2023 — This looks like a record year for Piping Plovers at Milford Point. Sixteen pairs of this federally-threatened species nested along the sandbar in 2023. As of today, 25 young birds have fledged and six others are preparing to.

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At a stronghold for Purple Martins, volunteers and staff band 89 baby birds

July 17, 2023 — Young Purple Martins make a squawking noise that sounds like what the movies imagine a pterodactyl might sound like — harsh, insistent, un-birdlike — only not as loud That’s how some of the nestlings at the Milford Point Coastal Center were expressing themselves the other morning during the center’s annual Purple Martin banding session.

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July 2023: Blazing star

July 17, 2023 — In July and August the native meadow flowers start to shine. A standout is blazing star (Liatris spicata), also known as gayfeather due to its feathery flower heads. Its showy purple flowers appear on stalks two to four feet, but occasionally to six-feet high, blooming progressively from the top down.

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It looks like maybe another peak year for Connecticut’s Ospreys, but Osprey Nation needs your help to confirm that

July 10, 2023 — Halfway through the 10th season of Connecticut Audubon’s Osprey Nation monitoring program all indications are that 2023 will be close to another peak year for these fish-eating raptors. Osprey Nation volunteers have mapped information for 480 active nests in 2023.

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Protecting the Milford Point birds over 4th of July weekend

June 29, 2023 — We will be locking the gate to the Milford Point Coastal Center parking lot over the Fourth of July weekend to help protect the nesting birds. We know this might be inconvenient if you were hoping to spend part of the weekend birding there. But holiday weekends draw far too many non-birders than is safe for the Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers that nest there. When you include the added disturbance caused by fireworks, it’s a potential disaster for the birds.

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Lowell P. Weicker

The Connecticut Audubon Society and its Board of Directors is saddened to hear the news of Lowell P. Weicker’s death. The former Governor and Senator was a friend, and a longtime supporter of environmental protection in general and of Connecticut Audubon in particular. His wife, Claudia, is the chair of our Roger Tory Peterson Estuary […]

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June 2023: Trumpet honeysuckle

Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), also known as coral honeysuckle and woodbine, is a twining, perennial vine originally native to the southeastern United States. Having naturalized to many more northern and western regions, it is now also considered native in many northeastern and midwestern states, including Connecticut. 

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Looking to a future where all can share and experience the joys of nature

March 28, 2023 — For the past several years there has been an important and renewed focus on issues of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in our society and institutions. Accordingly, the Connecticut Audubon Society and other Audubon societies across the country have been involved in discussions about the mixed legacy of John James Audubon. At the heart of these discussions is the issue of what his legacy means at a time when our diversity is recognized as a great strength, and inclusivity is viewed as essential to our progress.

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Congratulations to Samantha DeMarco & Kalel Attonito for their first-place photos in the 2023 Birdathon Photo Contest

June 8, 2023 – The Connecticut Audubon Society congratulates Samantha DeMarco of Milford and Kalel Attonito of Darien, the winners of the 2023 Migration Madness Birdathon photo contest. Samantha’s winning photograph featured a Great Blue Heron and a Black-crowned Night Heron along the Derby Greenway. In the Young Birder category, 10-year-old Kalel Attonito won first place for a photo of a Ruddy Turnstone at the shore.

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Canaries outside the coal mine: Are Connecticut’s birds being affected by smoke from Canada’s wildfires?

June 7, 2023 — People who live in Connecticut and beyond are able to take refuge from the smoky air by staying indoors. Birds can’t do that, obviously. So how is the smoke from the Canadian wildfires affecting birds? It’s impossible to say for sure but one answer is: it can’t be good.

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General Assembly passes a ban on fishing for horseshoe crabs

June 5, 2023 — A bill that would ban the harvest of horseshoe crabs in Connecticut has passed the Connecticut General Assembly and is awaiting the signature of Governor Ned Lamont. The language of the bill is simple: “no person shall engage in the hand-harvesting of horseshoe crabs or the eggs of horseshoe crabs from the waters of this state.”

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3 new conservation laws: Connecticut Audubon members speak out successfully, as bills to protect shorebirds and migrating birds pass in Hartford

June 21 update — Governor Ned Lamont signed the Lights Out bill into law yesterday.
June 9, 2023 — Three important environmental bills supported by the Connecticut Audubon Society and its members passed the Connecticut General Assembly in Hartford in recent days and have been sent to Governor Ned Lamont to sign into law.

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Great fun for enthusiastic participants in 2023’s Migration Madness and Birdathon

2023 Migration Madness participants: 360 2023 Birdathon participants: 68 Species seen: 176 $$$ raised for bird conservation: $13,000 Scroll to see the prize winners and complete leaderboard for the 6th Annual Migration Madness Birdathon. June 5, 2023 — Congratulations to Joanne Bourque of Pomfret and Frank Mantlik of Stratford, the big winners in this year’s […]

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State Senate Action Alert: Lights Out

May 24, 2023 — The State of Connecticut has a chance to become part of a growing movement to protect birds. Please ask your state Senator in Hartford to become a co-sponsor of House Bill 6607, “An act concerning the nighttime lighting of state-owned buildings at certain times for the protection of birds.”

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May 2023: Chokeberry

This month’s Homegrown Habitat plants are the chokeberries. Write to author Sarah Middeleer at homegrown@ctaudubon.org. Red and black chokeberries are two closely related shrubs that are highly attractive to birds and pollinators but are also appealing additions to the garden. They are both native to our region and are tolerant of widely varying growing conditions.

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Lights Out Alert tonight, which means it’s likely that many, many birds will be landing here in the morning

May 20, 2023 — Yet another big bird migration night tonight — half a million, give or take. So please turn out your lights. All the reasons for doing so are in the previous Lights Out posts. But half a million birds is a good reason to make one late push for Connecticut Audubon’s 2023 Migration Madness Birdathon. You’re helping conservation in Connecticut by turning out your lights. Take the next step and participate in the Birdathon. It’s a fundrraiser for bird conservation in the state, and you can do your part by signing up or making a pledge.

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Governor Lamont proclaims June 4, 2023, as Connecticut Audubon Day in the state!

May 30, 2023 — the state of Connecticut is celebrating our organization’s 125th anniversary with an official proclamation by Governor Ned Lamont declaring June 4, 2023, as Connecticut Audubon Society Day. Then on June 7, the celebration of the founding continues as Connecticut Audubon presents two programs in conjunction with the Fairfield Museum and History Center. It was on June 4, 1898, that the Audubon Society of the State of Connecticut held its first annual meeting of members. Two hundred and fifty people crowded into Fairfield Town Hall on that Saturday.

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Lights Out Alert for Thursday, May 18

May 18, 2023 — It looks like another big night for migrating birds — a Lights Out High Alert night. Please make sure you turn out your lights tonight to prevent birds from getting killed.

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Lights Out Alert for Monday, May 15

May 15, 2023 — It looks like Connecticut is in for one more night of really big songbird migration — which is great for Tuesday morning birders but not so great for the birds, if they crash into lighted buildings. So please, Lights Out again tonight.

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Lights Out Alert/Great Birding Alert for May 12

May 12, 2023 — Almost half a million birds will be flying over Connecticut again tonight — emphasis on “again” because the skies were similarly crowded last night.

1. Make sure you turn out your lights tonight to prevent birds from getting killed.
2. Make plans to go birding tomorrow, because it sounds like it will be another great day.

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Rededication of Hartford Urban Bird Treaty creates a new agenda for conservation of the city’s birds

May 19, 2023 — A coalition of federal and city officials along with statewide and local conservation groups renewed their commitment today to improving Hartford as a place for birds to thrive and for people to enjoy them. Coalition members joined with city residents at Keney Park in Hartford to officially rededicate the Hartford Urban Bird Treaty. A program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Urban Bird Treaty is a national network that works to improve bird habitat in urban areas.

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Lights Out Alert/Great Birding Alert for May 11

May 11, 2023 — Almost half a million birds will be flying over Connecticut tonight. You should be on high alert for this and do two things …

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Re-dedication of Hartford Urban Bird Treaty set for Friday, May 19, at Keney Park

May 12, 2023 — Join us at Keney Park in Hartford on Friday, May 19, for the official 2023 rededication of Hartford’s Urban Bird Treaty — a multi-organization plan to improve bird habitat in the city and offer more opportunities for city residents to learn about and enjoy birds.

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Lights Out Alert for May 6, 7, and 8! 

May 6, 2023 — Nighttime migration is increasing over Connecticut the next few nights. An estimated 250,000 birds will migrate through Connecticut’s skies Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights. Help keep these birds safe by turning off your outside lights tonight and drawing your blinds.

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Advocacy Alert: Email your representative in Hartford to support a state Lights Out bill

May 3, 2023 — The State of Connecticut has a chance to become part of a growing movement to protect birds. You can help by taking action today on this important Lights Out bill. Please ask your House member in Hartford to vote yes on House Bill 6607, “An act concerning the nighttime lighting of state-owned buildings at certain times for the protection of birds.” House Bill 6607 would require state-owned buildings to turn out exterior lights between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. each year in April and May, and from August 15 to November 15.

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Here’s what to do and not to do when you find a bird or other animal that seems abandoned

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 about dealing with distressed wildlife.

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Heather Wolf, author and bird photographer, to judge 2023 Birdathon photo contest

May 10, 2023 — An undisputed highlight of Connecticut Audubon’s Migration Madness Birdathon, scheduled for May 20 and 21, is the annual photo contest. Each year, birders send us a selection of the best photos they took while participating in the Birdathon. We forward them to a judge — we don’t include names or time stamps, just the photos, so the judging is anonymous — who picks the winners. This year we are lucky to have Heather Wolf as the photo contest judge.

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Young birders wanted for the Connecticut Young Birders Club!

April 19, 2023 — The Connecticut Young Birders Club is back, and Connecticut Audubon is helping to recruit new members. It’s open to anyone age 11 to 19. Field trips, camaraderie, great fun while learning about birds.

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April 2023: Serviceberry

Homegrown Habitat’s native plant for April is serviceberry, which blooms throughout Conneticut’s woods this time of year. Homegrown Habitat is written by Sarah W. Middeleer, a landscape designer whose work focuses on ecology and designing for wildlife. She serves as vice chair of the Connecticut Audubon Board of Directors. Write to her at homegrown@ctaudubon.org. Serviceberries […]

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A billion birds a year are killed when they crash into buildings. You can help by turning out the lights

It’s gut-wrenching to find a dead bird crumpled on the ground next to a building. Unfortunately, it is also all too common. Birds migrate at night and this spring there is a great opportunity for you to do something that directly benefits birds: turn out the lights.

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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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