Connecticut Audbon Society

Natural Selections

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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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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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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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Young, Gifted & Wild About Birds presents a fascinating inside look at the Cornell Ornithology Lab’s new birding tools

Young, Gifted and Wild About Birds wraps up for 2023 with a fascinating inside look at the important tools for bird research being developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Kathi Borgmann, Ph.D., the communications manager for the Cornell Lab, will talk about “From Sound Recording to eBird Status and Trends Maps: How Citizen Science Informs Bird Conservation.” It’s scheduled for Thursday, April 13, 7 p.m.

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From the archives: “Something must be done besides saying, ‘Don’t wear feathers and don’t shoot birds.’ ”

March 30, 2023 — Educating the public about bird conservation is a foundation of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s work. For our 125th anniversary, here’s the story, based on archival records, of how our education programs came into being in 1898.

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As migration heats up, here are 10 things you can do to help birds

March 29, 2023 — As spring migration starts to heat up, here are 10 actions you can take to help bring birds back, individually and with others.

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Renewing Hartford’s Urban Bird Treaty

Hartford was designated an Urban Bird Treaty city in 2011. The designation is up for renewal and the Connecticut Audubon Society, Friends of Keney Park, and Park Watershed are collaborating on an update. The result will be better habitat for birds throughout the city’s parks, and more chances for city residents to learn about and enjoy them.  The Urban Bird Treaty is a national network whose goal is to improve bird habitat in urban areas, and help city residents experience and learn about birds and the natural world.

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For our 125th Anniversary, take the 125-Bird Challenge

March 24, 2023 — To encourage you to visit our sanctuaries during our 125th anniversary year, we’ve come up with a fun activity: the 125-Bird Challenge. It’s not a competition. We do hope however that it’s a good incentive. Many of our sanctuaries are big and unique, and are worth a special visit.

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Benjamin D. Williams III: 1936-2023

March 28, 2023 — Our friend and long-time Board member Ben Williams died on March 7, 2023. Knowledgeable, affable, and dedicated to conservation, Ben served on Connecticut Audubon’s Pomfret regional board for 16 years and on the state Board of Directors for 10. As part of the Center at Pomfret’s Science in Nature school programs, he introduced thousands of kids to the wonders of nature and insects in particular.  His booming voice and passion for the subject matter won him great respect and admiration.

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March 2023: Pussy Willow

For March, Sarah W. Middeleer writes about a native plant whose flowers signal early spring. Sarah is a landscape designer whose work focuses on ecology and designing for wildlife. She serves as vice chair of the Connecticut Audubon Board of Directors.

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Mabel Osgood Wright: A lifelong commitment to birds

March 8, 2023 — to help mark the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Connecticut Audubon Society, we’re re-publishing a short account of Mabel Osgood Wright’s life and achievements, written by a subsequent leader of the organization, Kathleen Van Der Aue, now chair emerita. Wright (1859-1934) was among a group of women who founded Connecticut Audubon in January 1898. A prolific author and an important conservationist on the national scene, she went on the serve as president of Connecticut Audubon until 1924.

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Register for a special screening of “Mabel Osgood Wright: Pioneering Conservationist”

Help celebrate Connecticut Audubon’s 125th anniversary with a special online screening of “Mabel Osgood Wright: Pioneering Conservationist,” a film by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Karyl Evans.

Monday, March 20, 2023, 7 p.m. via Zoom.

Wright was among a small group of women from Fairfield who founded the Connecticut Audubon Society in 1898. The filmmaker, Karyl Evans, will open the presentation with an introduction about the movie and how she made it. A Q&A will follow the showing. 

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Single-use plastics are a hazard to birds. This bill will reduce the problem.

February 21, 2023 — Connecticut’s waters are awash in plastics, putting birds and other wildlife at risk. A bill before the General Assembly would help.

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February 2023: Redosier Dogwood

February 21, 2023 — Redosier dogwood (Cornus sericea), also known as red-twig or red-stem dogwood, is a handsome shrub form of the genus Cornus. The fruit of the dogwood genus (Cornus) is eaten by at least 95 species of birds.

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Rat and mouse poisons also kill hawks and owls. Connecticut Audubon supports banning 2nd-generation rodenticides.

February 16, 2023 — Poisons that target rats and mice are especially insidious when it comes to birds. We submitted testimony in Hartford yesterday supporting a ban.

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This pesticide kills pollinators and birds. It’s time to further restrict its use.

February 15, 2023 — The Connecticut Audubon Society submitted testimony yesterday in support of a bill that would ban some uses of a pesticide that is particularly bad for pollinators and birds, and also asked for the proposal to be strengthened. We’ve been collaborating with the CT Pesticide Reform Coalition.

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February 1898: The archives tell a story of ambition and success in building a statewide organization to preserve birds

February 12, 2023 — The group of people who founded the Connecticut Audubon Society 125 years ago was small, and everyone in the group was from the small town of Fairfield, population 4,500. But those realities did not hold them back. They were ambitious and well-organized, and they had plans to be part of something bigger. They didn’t stay local for long. and they didn’t stay small for long either.

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“On Jany 28th 1898 the first meeting of the Audubon Society was held at the house of Mrs. W.B. Glover, in Fairfield”

January 28, 2023 — One hundred and twenty five years ago today, a small group of women organized to be part of a movement spreading across the country. The threat of extinction to a dozen or more birds was real, and the women wanted to do something about it. They formed the Audubon Society of the State of Connecticut

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Nature on Display in New Exhibitions Celebrating Pulitzer Prize-Winning Writer and Photographer

January 21, 2023 – More than half a century ago, naturalist writer and photographer Edwin Way Teale bought a rustic retreat in the heart of northeastern Connecticut. His work at Trail Wood, a 168-acre farmstead in Hampton, inspired a new generation of environmental conservationists to honor the land and continue his legacy. Two public exhibitions that mark Teale’s legacy are opening this month.

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January 2023: Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is a handsome evergreen conifer that offers structure and winter interest to our gardens. It is often overlooked, but cedar has much to offer the home gardener and is a magnet for birds and many species of butterflies and moths.

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Connecticut Audubon’s newest preserve: Stratford Point, a conservation centerpiece in a rich ecological region

January 9, 2023 — Connecticut Audubon is kicking off its 125th anniversary year by announcing the acquisition of the Stratford Point preserve, a 28-acre coastal habitat in the heart of one of the state’s most important environmental regions.

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December 2022: Winterberry

  Homegrown Habitat provides advice on what and where to plant, one per month, written by Sarah W. Middeleer, a landscape designer whose work focuses on ecology and designing for wildlife. Sarah serves as vice chair of the Connecticut Audubon Board of Directors. Write to her at homegrown@ctaudubon.org. Winterberry Ilex verticillata December 15, 2022 — […]

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Keep up with how the media covered Connecticut State of the Birds and the Osprey Nation 2022 report

December 6, 2022 — Connecticut Audubon’s two recent, important reports captured the attention of the news media in the state and beyond. Both the Osprey Nation 2022 report (and the project itself) and the annual Connecticut State of the Birds report broke important news and explained trends in Connecticut bird conservation. Connecticut Audubon members and donors are responsible for the support needed to complete this important work.

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Connecticut State of the Birds 2022: These Species Tell the Story of Conservation Over 125 Years, and Point to the Issues of the Future

December 1, 2022 — Connecticut Audubon’s 2022 State of the Birds report, released today, looks at the health and future of five groups of birds, in Connecticut and beyond, whose conservation history is tied closely to the history of environmental conservation in the United States. Titled “125 Years of Bird Conservation Through Local Action,” the report marks the 125th anniversary of the Connecticut Audubon Society, which was founded in January 1898. (Bald Eagle photo by Julian Hough.)

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Join us on Dec. 1 for “125 Years of Bird Conservation Through Local Action” — the official release of the Connecticut State of the Birds 2022 report

November 27, 2022 — Join us on Thursday, December 1, 11 a.m., on Zoom for the official release of the 2022 Connecticut State of the Birds report. The authors of the report’s articles will join Connecticut Audubon staff to discuss the report and the history and future of conservation. It’s free but you must RSVP to get the link.

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A Look Back: 125 Years and More of Assaults on Birds, and Solutions by Conservationists — Connecticut State of the Birds 2022

November 29, 2022 — To provide context for the 2022 Connecticut State of the Birds report, we are posting the report’s introduction and a conservation timeline. You’re invited to join the senior conservation staff of Connecticut Audubon and the report’s authors for a release-day presentation on Zoom, 11 a.m., Thursday, December 1.

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385 Osprey Nation volunteers mapped 606 active nests in 2022, more than ever

November 21, 2022 — The number of Osprey nests in Connecticut continued to grow in 2022, and the Osprey Nation volunteer monitoring project grew with it, allowing conservationists to keep a close eye on the species and its recovery from near extinction.

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November 2022: Witch Hazel—A native plant with deep roots in Connecticut’s history

November 17, 2022 — Common witch hazel is, in the words of Edwin Way Teale, “a botanical individualist.” As I researched this remarkable plant, I couldn’t agree more. I would add that its individuality extends to historical and cultural realms as well. This large deciduous shrub is the last plant to come into bloom each year in the Northeast; its Y-shaped branches have been used as divining rods to discover underground water; it has played a fascinating role in Connecticut’s industrial history; and its extract has been hailed for hundreds of years as a balm for irritated skin, among other maladies, and continues to be used in cosmetics and personal care products to this day.

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Add your name to a letter supporting the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

November 16, 2020 — Conservation organizations like Connecticut Audubon are starting to make a final push to persuade the U.S. Senate to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. Those of us at Connecticut Audubon have added our name to a letter supporting passage. It’s important to include as many names as possible, so we’re asking you to please consider adding your name as well.

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Tiny transmitters and powerful antennas give a fascinating glimpse of the birds migrating through Connecticut

November 4, 2022 — Some of the most interesting birds recorded at Connecticut Audubon sanctuaries during this year’s fall migration were birds that nobody even saw. These birds had been fitted with tiny transmitters that let researchers using the Motus Wildlife Tracking System follow their movements across thousands of miles. They were detected by Motus antennas at the Center at Pomfret and Deer Pond Farm.

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October 2022: Tupelo

October 24, 2022 — Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) is native to so many regions (from Ontario south to Florida, Texas and Mexico, and west to Michigan and Wisconsin) that it has many other common names, including nyssa, sour gum, black gum, and pepperidge. This elegant deciduous tree is at its ornamental best in fall, when its foliage transitions from yellow to apricot, orange, and bright scarlet.

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This Invasive Plant Symposium can help you improve your property for birds

October 24, 2022 — The Connecticut Audubon Society is co-sponsoring an upcoming symposium that can help you improve your property for birds and plants. The theme is Strategies for Managing Invasive Plants: Assess, Remove, Replace, and Restore.

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News Release: Connecticut Audubon Members Elect Pamela Fraser, Ph.D., as New Chair of the Board

October 17, 2022 — Members of the Connecticut Audubon Society elected Easton resident Pamela Fraser, Ph.D., as the new chair of the Board of Directors, at its Annual Meeting on Saturday, October 15, in Sherman. Fraser succeeds Kathleen Van Der Aue as chair and will serve a 3-year term. Formerly vice chair, Fraser has served on the Board since 2018. In addition to Fraser, they also elected Sarah Middeleer of Newtown as vice chair and Gilles Carter of New Haven as secretary, and re-elected Harshad Kuntey of Glastonbury as treasurer. Newly-elected to the Board were Robert Lamothe of Hamden, Andrew Holmes of Brooklyn, N.Y., Elizabeth Ramsey of Fairfield and New York, and Kevin B. Ramsey, of Fairfield and New York.

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Pamela Fraser nominated as next chair of Connecticut Audubon’s Board of Directors

October 11, 2022 — The Connecticut Audubon Board of Directors has nominated Pamela Fraser, Ph.D., of Easton to become chair. Pam will take over for Kathleen Van Der Aue, who has guided the organization for four years, helped ably by Pam as vice chair.

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Shorebird identification made as easy as possible

September 22, 2022 — There are at least a dozen species of shorebirds still to be found on Connecticut’s beaches in late September. They can be tough to identify. But we’re here to help.

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2022 Annual Meeting of members scheduled for October 15 at Deer Pond Farm

Connecticut Audubon members: come to Connecticut Audubon’s 2022 Annual Meeting and be part of the conservation future. After two years of Annual Meetings via Zoom, we’ll be back in person for 2022.

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Improvements to the Larsen Sanctuary in Fairfield benefit wildlife, Long Island Sound, and the 10,000 people who visit each year

September 6, 2022 — The work at the Larsen Sanctuary is one of at least 20 habitat improvement projects that Connecticut Audubon is undertaking. Those projects encompass more than 450 acres; 12 of the projects are on Connecticut Audubon sanctuaries and eight are in collaboration with other conservation organizations or state and local agencies.

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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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The shorebirds are here, and we’ve scheduled 9 bird walks to help you enjoy them

August 15, 2022 — Shorebird migration is an annual spectacle, and a reminder of how important the state is for shorebird conservati0n. Connecticut Audubon is ready to help you learn all about it — and enjoy it in the process. We’ve scheduled nine shorebird walks over three weeks at four locations. We are also co-sponsoring a shorebird identification program via Zoom.

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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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