The Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary
2325 Burr Street, Fairfield
at the Center at Fairfield
Our sanctuaries are open daily year-round, dawn to dusk.
Size: 155 acres
Mixed hardwood forest with shrub habitat, ponds and wetlands. Generally level terrain.
Seven miles of trails and boardwalks, including the mile-long Chiboucas Special Use Trail. It’s designed for wheelchair use, and was the first project undertaken by the Wheels in the Woods Foundation.
The trails at Larsen are kept in good shape and the habitat maintenance is carried out by the Friends of Larsen volunteer group, overseen by Connecticut Audubon staff. To become involved, contact Misty Beyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Center at Fairfield features a birds of prey compound at the rear of the parking lot, for close-up views of hawks, owls, falcons, etc. As of spring 2021, the compound includes two American Kestrels, three Barred Owls, and Red Shouldered Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Turkey Vulture, and American Barn Owl.
Don’t miss the three-mile Fragrance Loop trail, which curves through moist, shady forest and features fragrant native plants and fruit-bearing shrubs that attract birds, bees, and butterflies with their sweet aromas, nectars, and food sources. The Friends of Larsen volunteer group has planted arrowwood and cranberry viburnum, sassafras, sweet pepperbush, buttonbush, and swamp sweetbells along the trail.
Also visit the pollinator garden behind the Center building, where the volunteers planted sweet pepperbush, sweetbells, elderberry, and grey birch.
The Larsen Sanctuary has been birded intensively for several decades. Birders have observed almost 200 species there, including Connecticut rarities such as Prothonotary Warbler and Least Bittern; occasional winter visitors such as Red Crossbill and Pine Siskin; forest nesters such as Scarlet Tanager and Red-eyed Vireo; and about two dozen warblers, mostly during migration.
Larsen Sanctuary eBird hotspot. See four typical lists from four seasons, taken from eBird.
The Larsen Sanctuary is one of three Connecticut Audubon preserves that harbor known populations of the rare New England cottontail rabbit (the Croft Preserve in Goshen and the New York portion of Deer Pond Farm are the others). The New England cottontail is a habitat specialist, unlike the more common eastern cottontail, and requires areas of thick shrubs and tangles. The two species of rabbit are almost identical looking. If you encounter a rabbit at Larsen in shrubby areas far from the Center buildings, there’s a good chance you will have seen the New England cottontail.
The Center at Fairfield buildings include bathrooms and a Nature Store.
News and Program Information
For information about bird walks and other programs at the Center at Fairfield and the Sanctuary, click here.
For news about the Sanctuary and the Center at Fairfield, click here.