Connecticut Audbon Society

Natural Selections

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Daily Bird nesting season special: Louisiana Waterthrush and Northern Waterthrush

June 24, 2022 — These warblers are active, vociferous birds, habitual tail-waggers easily told from our array of other warbler species. Telling them apart is another matter. Habitat is a key to sorting out the waterthrushes, because their habitat preferences are quite different. Knowing their songs also helps.

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Daily Bird nesting season special: Ovenbird

June 23, 2022 — Ovenbirds are hard to miss. “TEAcher, TEAcher, TEAcher” rings out through the woods. Olive-backed with dark streaks and spots on the breast, Ovenbirds resemble a combination of Veery and Wood Thrush, although their orange cap gives them away if their singing has not already.

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House of Representatives passes the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

June 23, 2022 — The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. The bill authorizes $1.3 billion to be distributed each year to help states carry out their federally-mandated wildlife action plans. Connecticut would receive almost $12 million a year for the protection of birds and other wildlife.

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Daily Bird nesting season special: Scarlet Tanager

June 22, 2022 — Scarlet Tanagers are a fairly common forest nesting bird in Connecticut. Most of the larger and many of the smaller forested areas of the state will have nesting pairs. They are mainly associated with oak forests but also look for them in other deciduous as well as mixed conifer forests.

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Daily Bird nesting season special: Chimney Swift

June 20, 2022 — Chimney Swifts are aerial insectivores with a round, cigar-shaped body and long, curved wings. They are grayish-brown overall, with a black tint around the eyes and small black bill. The cigar-shaped silhouette of the Chimney Swift is the key identification characteristic. You can also listen for the peaceful chatter sound they make as they fly around in search for food.

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Daily Bird nesting season special: Clapper Rail

June 17, 2022 — Despite its large size, Clapper Rail is not an easy bird to locate. These marsh birds are known for their elusive nature and are more often heard than seen. The grasses that make up salt marshes hide them well and provide crucial habitat for feeding and nesting.

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Daily Bird nesting season special: Wood Thrush

Jue 16, 2022 — Now is the perfect time to hear the beautiful, flute-like call of the Wood Thrush throughout — as its name would indicate — the woods of rural Connecticut. Listen in the early morning and evening along quiet roads or paths. Follow the call and find the bird and you’ll see that it has a reddish-brown head, back, wings, and tail, and large white dark spots on a white breast and undersides.

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Daily Bird nesting season special: Alder Flycatcher

June 14, 2022 — A small hunter of insects, the Alder Flycatcher is one of the interesting members of the Tyrant flycatcher family. The Empidonax genus within this family is made up of nondescript dull olive individuals who are most reliably differentiated from one another by their unique songs and calls. Alder Flycatcher is very difficult to separate from Willow Flycatcher, other than by voice.

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Daily Bird nesting season special: babies are scampering around Milford Point. Here’s how to help keep them safe.

In the sanctuaries …
June 13, 2022 — So far, so good for the Piping Plovers nesting on the Milford Point sandbar. Twenty baby birds have hatched and adults are still incubating eggs on three other nests. It’s an incredibly perilous time out there for this federally-threatened species. The birds can’t fly yet and are at the mercy of storm tides and predators. Which is where you come in.

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Daily Bird nesting season special: Black Skimmer

June 10, 2022 — Black Skimmers are amazing-looking and are uncommon enough to be worth watching for. It helps if you pick the right spot. In Connecticut that’s often the Milford Point Coastal Center or Sandy Point in West Haven.

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Daily Bird nesting season special: Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

June 9, 2022

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Nyctanassa violacea
Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are birds of marshes and wet meadows but are not widely distributed across the state. These waders live in or near our coastal wetlands and forage in tidal marshes, tide pools and along the shore of Long Island Sound where they feed on crustaceans, largely fiddler crabs.

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Two videos: practical advice to improve your yards and gardens for wildlife

June 9, 2022 — This is such a great time of year for gardening and yard work. These two videos are on our YouTube channel, and we want to bring them to your attention again. They include practical advice to improve your property for wildlife.

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Daily Bird nesting season special: Purple Martin

June 8, 2022 — Look for Purple Martins in and around any of several dozen colonies of man-made houses or gourds throughout Connecticut. There’s a colony of 71 gourds at the Coastal Center at Milford Point. Connecticut Audubon staff and volunteers check the nests weekly throughout the breeding season; as of the most recent check, on June 3, 26 gourds had nests. Nest building is likely  to continue and increase for a couple of weeks — in 2021, the colony had 44 nests, and in 2020 it has 37.

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Daily Bird nesting season special: Bobolink

June 7, 2022 — With updated information on safe dates for mowing fields in which Bobolinks nest. Bobolinks are found in large grasslands (hay, pasture, airports), of at least 10 acres in size usually. Fields with hills tend to have more birds; they usually nest on the top of the hill or the side in the thick grasses. If you’re in the right area, it’s an easy bird to locate. The males will sit on the top of a clump of grass or nearby tree or shrub and sing, defending their territory from other males; the males also sing while flying low over the grassland.

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Daily Bird nesting season special: Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting by Michael Audette June 12

June 6, 2022 — Until the end of June, the Daily Bird will feature Connecticut’s nesting species, including information on where to find these beauties. The series starts with Indigo Bunting.

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2022 Migration Madness: Hundreds of people enjoy a great weekend of birds

June 6, 2022 — Great weather, energetic and enthusiastic participants, and one truly amazing bird species added up to a great Migration Madness weekend. One hundred and eight people participated in the weekend’s Birdathon, the fundraising centerpiece of the weekend celebration. Read more to see the prize winners and complete leaderboard for the 5th Annual Migration Madness Birdathon.

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2022 Birdathon Photo Contest winners

June 2, 2022 — One thing is clear: the judges of the Migration Madness Birdathon Photo Contests admire a good hummingbird photograph. For the second year in a row, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird is our first-place winner in the adult birder category; in 2020, a hummingbird photo won third-place. This year’s winning photo was taken by Robert Gerard, of Madison, on Friday, May 13, at the Stewart B. McKinney National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Westbrook.

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New pesticide restrictions signed into law

June 2, 2022 — A pesticide restriction bill that passed the General Assembly in Hartford with the strong support of Connecticut Audubon’s grassroots advocates was signed into law yesterday by Governor Ned Lamont. Public Act 22-142 makes it illegal to use chlorpyrifos on golf courses or for any cosmetic or non-agricultural use.

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Summer’s here and the time is right for helping the shorebirds at Milford Point

In the Sanctuaries. May 26, 2022 — The shorebirds on the Milford Point sandbar need your help again. It’s early in the season but there are already 11 Piping Plover nests and two American Oystercatcher nests on the sandbar. Dozens of migratory shorebirds are feeding and resting there now too.

We’re trying to balance the birds’ needs with the understandable wish on the part of birders and others to visit and view the birds. So please be careful to avoid roped off nesting areas and nests protected by wire enclosures.

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Advocates act to ensure passage of new pesticide bill

May 23, 2022 — Timely advocacy on the part of Connecticut Audubon members and others around the state led to passage of a bill in Hartford that will cut the use of an insecticide that’s dangerous to birds.

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A great day for a celebration of the new National Estuarine Research Reserve

May 23, 2022 — Three decades of collaborative work culminated on Saturday, May 21, in an official celebration in Groton of Connecticut’s new National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The reserve encompasses 52,000 acres of the lower Connecticut River and the Connecticut waters of Long Island Sound east almost to the Rhode Island border. With the Sound sparkling in the bright sunshine, government officials and dozens of well-wishers gathered at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus on Saturday to mark the official designation.

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New horseshoe crab rules might help migrating shorebirds

May 20, 2022 — The state of Connecticut has set new rules in hopes of protecting horseshoe crabs. The shorebirds that eat the crabs’ eggs might benefit as well. The rules shorten the season for commercial fishing of horseshoe crabs and lower by 70% the number of crabs that can be caught.

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Spring migratory birds: Hooded Warbler

Usually first noticed by a ringing “weeta, weeta, weeteeo” song, a Hooded Warbler sighting highlights almost any bird walk in the Connecticut woods. Hooded Warblers reach the northern edge of their breeding range here in Connecticut (although there is a breeding population in southern Ontario), generally arriving during the first week of May and setting up housekeeping almost immediately. Hooded Warbler would be a great bird to add to your list during the Migration Madness Birdathon, May 13-15.

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Spring migratory birds: Black-throated Blue Warbler

The Black-throated Blue Warbler, stunningly unique in its adult male garb, is quite average in other ways. It’s never as rare or hard to find as a Mourning Warbler, and never as abundant at the height of migration as a Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler, or a Palm Warbler.

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Spring migratory birds: Blackburnian Warbler

One of the most strikingly colored of our wood-warblers, this species’ flaming orange throat was responsible for its colloquial name of “Fire Throat.” With yellow and black on its neck and face, black wings with a large fused white wing bar, and black streaks on a yellow to white belly, the male is unique among our North American warblers. Females are a muted version of the male, showing two narrower wing bars.

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Op-ed — The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act: an unprecedented opportunity that is good for wildlife and people

The time for the U.S. Congress to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is now.

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Spring migratory birds: Black-and-white Warbler

May 3, 2022 — Although every warbler species is unique, the Black-and-white Warbler stands out, and for a variety of reasons. Many warblers exhibit bright and flashy colors, but the aptly named Black-and-white Warbler is just that: black and white. Yet it is far from drab: the ornate and contrasting stripes conjures the exotic pattern of a zebra.

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Spring migratory birds: Canada Warbler

When searching for Canada Warbler, it is important to become familiar with its unique song. One of my favorite ways of locating a Canada Warbler is by slowly driving along Greenwoods Road in Peoples State Forest, listening for its clear, loud chip note, followed by an abrupt, explosive series of short notes that regularly ends with a three-note phrase.

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Spring migratory birds: 20 warblers

May 2, 2022 — To put you in the mood for the 2022 Migration Madness Birdathon, we present one minute’s worth of warblers. Give it a look — guaranteed to make you smile.

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“Spring Migration: Global Ecology in Connecticut’s Treetops” — a Zoom presentation with Yale’s Scott Yanco

May 2, 2022 — When we watch songbirds migrate through Connecticut, we’re seeing more than just beautiful creatures flitting through the tree canopy — we’re witnessing a tiny part of an amazing global-scale ecological process.  In conjunction with the 2022 Migration Madness Birdathon, you’re invited to a special Zoom program on the topic.

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Spring migratory birds: Magnolia Warbler

The Magnolia Warbler is certainly one of the most beautiful and sought after migrants by birders throughout the state. Although during a good migration year it can be found in many habitat types ,it prefers flowering hardwoods, particularly oaks where it can be seen foraging among the flowers for tiny insects and caterpillars.

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Spring migratory birds: Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler
Setophaga virens

They haven’t arrived quite yet but you’ll be hearing them soon.

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Spring migratory birds: Yellow Warbler

 “Sweet, sweet, sweet, ain’t I sweet!” sings the Yellow Warbler, and indeed it is sweet to hear this most vocal of warblers warming up the early spring season with song.

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Spring Migratory Birds: Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler
Setophaga palmarum

Palm Warblers arrive earlier in April on their way to Canada. But some are still around so it’s not too late to look for them — and for their wagging tails.

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Action alert: ask your state Senator to vote yes to ban horseshoe crab fishing

April 27, 2022 — Support for a ban on horseshoe crab fishing is growing in the Connecticut General Assembly. But for the proposal to become law, Connecticut’s State Senators need to hear from you now. Please ask your state Senator to vote yes on HB 5140, An Act Concerning the Hand-Harvesting of Horseshoe Crabs in the State.

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Spring Migratory Birds: Northern Parula

April 26, 2022 — The Daily Bird is alive and well, brought back to celebrate spring migration and to prepare us all for the 2022 Migration Madness Birdathon. We start with Northern Parula, written by Connecticut Audubon Executive Director Patrick Comins. Videos by Gilles Carter, a member of Connecticut Audubon’s Board of Directors.

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Action Alert: Speak Out In Favor Of This Pesticide Control Bill

April 26, 2022 — The Connecticut General Assembly is moving forward with a law to restrict the use of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that can kill birds and beneficial insects. Please act now to tell your House member to vote yes.

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The 5th Annual Migration Madness Birdathon, May 13-15, 2022

The Connecticut Audubon Society invites you to a weekend of great birding and bird-related programs: the 5th annual Migration Madness Birdathon, set for May 13, 14 and 15, 2022. It’s a friendly competition to see as many species as possible in Connecticut over the weekend of May 13, 14 and 15. It’s also a way for you to contribute directly to bird conservation in Connecticut.

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As Ospreys continue to thrive, Osprey Nation needs more volunteers to monitor nests. Help if you can!

April 9, 2022 — Osprey nesting season is underway! 2022 marks the 9th year of the Osprey Nation monitoring project. The number of nests in Connecticut has grown to more than 900. Ospreys are an incredible conservation success story but their growth means we need volunteers to help monitor nests. About 300 remain unspoken for. Can you help by being a volunteer Osprey Nation steward?

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Important progress in the U.S. Senate for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

April 8, 2022 — One of the most important environmental bills in a generation has cleared a hurdle in the U.S. Senate.  The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act on Thursday, April 7, and is sending the bill to the full Senate for consideration. The bill would bring almost $12 million a year to Connecticut for the protection of birds and other wildlife.

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Celebrate Earth Day 2022 with Mountainfilm!

March 25, 2022 — Make sure your Earth Day 2022 activities include Mountainfilm! If you’ve participated in our Mountainfilm online screenings before, you know how great they are. A dozen or so short movies with themes connected to Mountainfilm’s mission of using the power of film, art and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world.

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Join Connecticut Audubon’s Stefan Martin in an online discussion about how to deal with invasive plants on your property

March 24, 2022 — Connecticut Audubon’s Habitat Steward Stefan Martin joins a group of other experts in an online discussion designed to help you figure out which plants on your property are invasive and what to do about them. It’s set for noon on Thursday, March 31.

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Video preview of Thursday’s grassland birds presentation: Young, Gifted & Wild About Birds, with Shannon Curley and Jose Ramirez-Garofalo

March 21, 2022 — The number of birds in North America has fallen by about 30 percent over the past 50 years, and grassland birds have suffered particularly large losses. But something of a miracle is happening to grassland species on a very small scale — and on Staten Island, of all places. At the 2,000-acre Freshkills Park, formerly the site of the world’s largest landfill, 1,000 acres have been restored to grasslands. And grasslands birds are thriving. In just a short time Freshkills has become the home of 300-plus pairs of nesting Savannah Sparrows, 82 pairs of Grasshopper Sparrows, and 8 pairs of Sedge Wrens, plus Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks.

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The story of Smith Richardson on Zoom, Tuesday, March 22

March 16, 2022 — Connecticut Audubon’s Smith Richardson preserve in Westport is one of the few places in Connecticut where visitors can see a significant habitat restoration project while it is in progress. It’s well worth a trip. But whether you go or not, you can learn about the project first-hand from the volunteer who spearheaded much of the work. On Tuesday, March 22, at noon Charles Stebbins will tell the Smith Richardson story, during a Lunch and Learn program on Zoom hosted by the Apsetuck Land Trust.

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Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center presents Season of the Osprey filmmaker in live Zoom

March 15, 2022 — Connecticut Audubon’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center is presenting  a free, interactive Zoom presentation on Thursday, April 7, at 6 p.m.: An evening with filmmaker Jacob Steinberg, producer and director of the PBS Nature program Season of the Osprey.

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From garbage dump to grassland bird oasis: Young, Gifted & Wild About Birds with Shannon Curley and Jose Ramirez-Garofalo, March 24.

March 14, 2022 — Young, Gifted, and Wild About Birds returns on Thursday, March 24, with a presentation on one of the more amazing bird success stories of the 21st century — the transformation of the world’s largest garbage dump into a grassland oasis teeming with Sedge Wrens, Grasshopper Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, and Eastern Meadowlarks.

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Action alert: Support a bill in Hartford that would help shorebirds by saving horseshoe crabs

March 2, 2020 — The shorebirds that pass through Connecticut during migration rely on horseshoe crab eggs for the energy to continue migrating. You can help them by supporting a bill in Hartford that might increase their numbers.

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Action alert: Help pass a bill in Hartford that would restrict the use of two pesticides

March 1, 2022 — Connecticut Audubon is supporting a bill in Hartford that would restrict the use of two pesticides that kill beneficial insects and other small creatures, many of which birds rely on for food. You can help get them passed.

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Young, Gifted, and Wild About Birds: Artist Jenny Kroik

February 25, 2022 — Young, Gifted, and Wild About Birds turns to the arts! Join the fun on Thursday, March 3, 7 p.m., when artist and illustrator Jenny Kroik talks about birds, painting — and painting birds. You might know Jenny’s work from The New Yorker and other magazines. She teaches painting at the New York Botanical Garden and elsewhere.

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Action Alert: Help protect the natural resources of the Salmon River State Forest

February 11, 2022 — A proposal to create mountain biking trails in Salmon River State Forest could end up being a win-win for conservation and for responsible outdoor recreation. But for that to happen, we need you to please write to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and ask that provisions be made to protect the site’s natural resources.

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Feb. 10, 12:30 p.m.: “High Tide for Salt Marsh Birds” on Zoom

February 4, 2022 — For the next Young, Gifted, and Wild About Birds, we drill down from big-picture climate change issues to one habitat and four birds in Connecticut that are being affected by climate change today. Sam Apgar, a Ph.D., candidate at UConn, is the presenter and her talk is called “High Tide for Salt Marsh Birds.” Scroll to the bottom for a short video preview of Sam’s presentation.

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52,000 acres in Connecticut designated as Nation’s 30th National Estuarine Research Reserve

January 14, 2022—A large section of Connecticut’s southeastern coast, encompassing ecologically rich tidal marshes, and shallow coves, bays and rivers, has been designated as the country’s 30th National Estuarine Research Reserve. The new reserve is the first in Connecticut. It covers about 52,000 acres in and around the lower Connecticut and Thames Rivers.

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Brooke Bateman, Ph.D.: “Birds Are Telling Us It’s Time to Act on Climate Change”

January 13, 2022 — This might be the most important presentation you see all year: Dr. Brooke Bateman, lead climate scientist for the National Audubon Society, will explain how Connecticut can protect bird habitat while also making huge strides toward its climate change goals. Dr. Bateman’s presentation — “Birds Are Telling Us It’s Time to Act on Climate Change” — will expand upon her article in the recent Connecticut State of the Birds Report, “Three Million Birds Are Gone. How Do We Bring Them Back?”

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Major victory for birds and wildlife as House committee in Washington passes the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

January 20, 2022 — An environmental bill that would bring almost $12 million a year to Connecticut for the protection of birds and other wildlife was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee yesterday and now moves to the full House of Representatives for a vote.

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Young, Gifted & Wild About Birds 2022: The next generation has arrived, and you can catch them on Zoom

January 6, 2022 — Connecticut Audubon’s online series, Young, Gifted, and Wild About Birds, starts this month with the first of five Zoom presentations — combining conservation science with the joy and fun of getting to know the bird world. Young, Gifted, and Wild About Birds 2022 presents compelling, cutting edge ideas and voices.

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Action Alert: Speak out today to protect horseshoe crabs and shorebirds

December 15, 2021 — Connecticut Audubon needs you to speak out in favor of a proposed change to state regulations that are likely to benefit shorebirds. The change, proposed by Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, would lower the number of horseshoe crabs that can be caught in the state. That is likely to help species such as Red Knot and Semipalmated Sandpiper, which rely on horseshoe crab eggs for food during their migration through Connecticut.

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Birds of the Year 2021: Join us on Zoom for all the fun!

December 9, 2021 — It’s December, and at Connecticut Audubon that means it’s time for our annual Birds of the Year list. This year we’ll be taking to Zoom to present our picks for Birds of the Year. But there’s a new wrinkle. This year we want to include your picks as well!

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W. Bradley Morehouse, former President of Connecticut Audubon

December 8, 2021 — Milan Bull, who has been a member of Connecticut Audubon’s staff for 50 years, sent word this week that an old friend, W. Bradley Morehouse, died on December 4 at his home in Southport. He was 98.

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CT State of the Birds 2021: To recoup the loss of 3 billion birds, what is the most important thing to do now?

December 6, 2021 — Restoring a bird population that has fallen by 30 percent over 50 years will require a slate of conservation activities. There’s no time like the present. But which activities are paramount? For the 2021 Connecticut State of the Birds report, we asked experts around the country: What do you think is the most important thing to do now to stabilize and restore the bird population?

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A bird-lover’s guide to the 2021 CT State of the Birds report

December 1, 2021 — The starting point for the report is a study published in Science in September 2019. Written by 11 top ornithologists from the U.S. and Canada, it shows that over the last 50 years, North America has lost about 30% of its birds. In other words, there are three billion fewer birds in North America today than there were in 1970.

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Young, Gifted, and Wild About Birds 2022

January 6, 2022 — The next generation has arrived with great hopes and plans for the future, and you can see and hear about their work in Young, Gifted, and Wild About Birds 2022.

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Osprey Nation 2021 Report: Reasons to celebrate, including lots of Ospreys

November 22, 2021 — We’re releasing the Osprey Nation report for the 2021 season today. It shows that this year, 342 volunteer stewards submitted data on 814 nests. Of those nests, 558 were active. The 558 pairs of Ospreys that occupied those nests produced 858 fledglings. Both numbers are by far the highest since the project began.

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Please join us for the release of Connecticut State of the Birds 2021. December 2, via Zoom.

November 16, 2021 — At noon on Thursday, December 2, we’ll bring together on Zoom a group of the nation’s top bird conservationists to talk about the Connecticut State of the Birds 2021 report. It’s free, and you’re invited.

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A network to help protect birds expands at Connecticut Audubon

November 15, 2021 — Since 2018, Connecticut Audubon has been part of a growing communications network that lets conservation scientists (and everybody else) see which routes birds take when they are migrating and where their journeys lead. The network is called the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. It relies on tiny transmitters attached to individual birds, and a series of antennas erected throughout the U.S. and Canada. A few months ago, our third antenna array was erected, at the Center at Pomfret.

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National Estuarine Research Reserve proposal progresses

October 21, 2021 — Progress toward establishment a new estuary reserve in southeastern Connecticut reached a milestone this week, when the official period for commenting on the project’s draft environmental impact statement ended. Connecticut Audubon is a strong supporter of the National Estuarine Research Reserve.

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Dave Engelman Volunteer Benchmark Awards for 2021

October 21, 2021 — Four volunteers who have worked hard over the years to help improve Connecticut’s environment and help local people enjoy birds and the outdoors were the recipients of Connecticut Audubon’s annual Dave Enelman Volunteer Benchmark Awards.

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Connecticut Audubon welcomes four new members to the Board of Directors

October 21, 2021 — Members of the Connecticut Audubon Society elected four new members of the Board of Directors at the organization’s annual meeting today. They also elected a slate of officers to lead the organization.

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Public hearing and comment period set for the National Estuarine Research Reserve

September 28, 2021 — The federal government has scheduled a public meeting and is taking formal comments on the new environmental impact statement for the proposed National Estuarine Research Reserve in southeastern Connecticut. The reserve would would encompass the Lord Cove and Great Island Wildlife Management Areas in Old Lyme, and Bluff Point and Haley Farm—some of the best wildlife habitat on the Connecticut River estuary and in southeastern Connecticut.

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Annual Meeting 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Beautiful animals that aren’t birds: Cecropia moth caterpillar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Things you can do to help birds right now: landscaping

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

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

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

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Important Coastal Center law enacted in Hartford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Something is killing birds to the south. Taking in your bird feeders now might help to keep it from spreading.

July 6, 2021 — An unknown affliction has been killing songbirds in southern, mid-Atlantic states, and mid-west states. Although it seems as if it hasn’t reached Connecticut yet, it’s time to take precautions. The Connecticut Audubon Society has been monitoring reports and consulting with other experts. They’ve all agreed on a few simple things to do.

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

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

In the Sanctuaries…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Volunteers and early adopters are helping Connecticut’s Purple Martins

In the Sanctuaries …

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

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Yellow Warbler

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

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Black-throated Green Warbler

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

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Daily Bird: Black-bellied Whistling Duck, a rarity

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

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

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

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2021 Birdathon Photo Contest Winners

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

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Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Black-throated Blue Warbler

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

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

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

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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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