Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Piping Plovers are back at Milford Point

Not only are they back, but males are already setting up territories.

Male Piping Plover

Read more about it on the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds blog: 

Sean Graesser
Conservation Technician

Photo by Sean Graesser/ Copyright Connecticut Audubon Society.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder for March 9, Special Edition: Passenger Pigeon

IMG_0504 - Version 2Passenger Pigeon
Ectopistes migratorius

Where to find it: Passenger Pigeons have been extinct for exactly 100 years but on March 12 Connecticut Audubon Society and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies are presenting a talk by Joel Greenberg, author of the new book A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction, at Kroon Hall.

The talk is free and open to the public. One or two preserved Passenger Pigeon specimens from the collection of the Yale Peabody Museum will be on display, to give you a chance to see what they looked like.

How to find it: Kroon Hall is at 195 Prospect St., New Haven. The talk starts at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Burke Auditorium, on the third floor. Parking is available on the street. RSVP to

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder for March 7: Great Cormorant

Great Cormorant - Mindy HillGreat Cormorant
Phalacrocorax carbo

By Andrew Griswold, director of Connecticut Audubon Society's EcoTravel program

The Great Cormorant is the largest North American cormorant and is found on nearly all continents. In the States, it is restricted to the east coast, where it breeds on a just a few rocky island colonies in Maine. It is a regular winter visitor to Connecticut where it replaces the more commonly found summer resident, the Double-crested Cormorant.

The Great Cormorant is known by many other common names across the globe including Great Black Cormorant, Black Cormorant, Large Cormorant, and Black Shag.

Read the entire post here...

Photo by Mindy Hill.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder for February 28: Winter Wren

STATE_Wren,_Winter_KellyAzar2Winter Wren
Troglodytes hiemalis
By Andy Rzeznikiewicz, the land manager at our Pomfret and Trail Wood Preserves.
Where to find it: Winter Wrens can be found throughout the state at this time of year although they are usually hard to find because of their secretive habits. The best place to look is in thick brush near streams. In breeding season, their song is quite loud and distinctive but sometimes in winter one will sing a little bit to make its presence known.

To read the rest of this post, click here...
Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder is edited by Tom Andersen.
Photo by Kelly Azar,

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

On the 100th Anniversary of the Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon, Author Joel Greenberg to Talk at Yale

P3 book cover-1The March 12 Presentation Will Be Based on His New, Acclaimed Book, A Feathered River Across the Sky

Nowhere was nature’s abundance more evident in 19th century America than in the incredible number of Passenger Pigeons. Flocks were so huge that they clouded the sun and took days to pass over villages. These birds fed the colonists and the nation’s westward expansion. They were critical to health of the eastern forests. One such flock, in 1860, encompassed an estimated 1 billion pigeons.

But by 1914, the Passenger Pigeon was gone, driven into extinction.

Introducing the author, and marking the 100th anniversary of the Passenger Pigeon’s demise, Connecticut Audubon Society and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies will present Joel Greenberg, author of the acclaimed new book A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction, on Wednesday, March 12, at Kroon Hall in New Haven.

The talk starts at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Kroon Hall is located at 195 Prospect Street, New Haven.

Greenberg, the author of three previous books, is a research associate of the Chicago Academy of Sciences Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Field Museum. His presentation, including a selection of photos and illustrations, will compare the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon to the extensive effort being made to save two contemporary birds – Whooping Cranes and Kirtland’s Warblers – from extinction.

In addition, the Peabody Museum will display the preserved skins of Passenger Pigeons in its collection. The March 12 talk will be Greenberg’s only appearance in Connecticut.

A Feathered River Across the Sky
has been extensively praised by reviewers. The New Yorker called the book “equal parts natural history, elegy, and environmental outcry… A painstaking researcher, Greenberg writes with a naturalist's curiosity about the birds… Answering even basic questions about the passenger pigeon requires a sort of forensic ornithology, which gives Feathered River Across the Sky an unexpected poignancy at the very points where it is most nature-nerdy.”

The Wall Street Journal said, “Joel Greenberg has done prodigious research into the literature of the passenger pigeon and lays much of it out in this book. For that effort, all who care about the living world owe him a debt of gratitude.”

The fate of the Passenger Pigeon holds important lessons for conservationists today.
Alexander Brash, president of Connecticut Audubon Society, notes: “In the 21st century, as natural habitats are destroyed and bird populations decline, the story of the Passenger Pigeon is a stark reminder of what can happen even to the species that we take most for granted. Joel Greenberg’s dispatch about the passenger pigeon is a stark reminder about the importance of conservation today. Extinction disrupts ecosystems, permanently removes genetic opportunity from the world, and dramatically marks human impacts on planet earth, our only home.”

Copies of A Feathered River Across the Sky will be available for sale and to be signed by the author at the conclusion of the presentation.

Although the talk is free, space is limited. Please RSVP to

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Whats out and about at Stratford Point

During weekly waterfowl surveys I usually always have my camera with me to capture some of the other species in the area.

Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus), this individual a young Gray Ghost

American Wigeon (Anas americana)  feeding on vegetation on an offshore rock

And of course our amazing friends the Snowy Owls are still being seen from time to time.

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)

Sean Graesser
Conservation Technician

Photo by Sean Graesser/ Copyright Connecticut Audubon Society.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder for January 31: Snow Goose

Snow Goose - Cedits to CephasSnow Goose
Chen caerulescens

Where to find it: Snow Goose occurs each winter in Connecticut but only in limited numbers, unlike the massive flocks found on the Delmarva Peninsula and the rice fields of Arkansas. Read the rest of this post here...

Photo by Cephas.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder for January 24: Brown Creeper

Creeper,_Brown_AlanVernonBrown Creeper
Certhia americana

Where to find it: Brown Creepers are found throughout Connecticut in mature woodlands. In the winter, they frequent deciduous forests, often in with mixed flocks of chickadees and titmice. Their main diet consists of insects and larvae that they probe out of deep grooved bark.

To read the full entry, click here.

Photo by Alan Vernon.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Reminder Of Spring

With all of this snow and cold temperatures I thought everyone could use a little reminder of spring.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) 
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Unicorn Clubtail (Arigomphus villosipes)

Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) 
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Sean Graesser
Conservation Technician

Photo by Sean Graesser/ Copyright Connecticut Audubon Society.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder for January 17: Rough-legged Hawk

roughleggedMorganRough-legged Hawk
Buteo lagopus

Where to find it: When this species leaves its tundra breeding grounds it looks for areas with the most abundant food source. In Connecticut this mean marshes and open field areas. Right now one of the best sites to see Rough-legged Hawks seems to be Short Beach in Stratford, where they have been spotted for the last two months. Read the rest here...

Photo by Don Morgan.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Enter the Great Connecticut Audubon Snowy Owl Observation Contest

Photo by Anthony Zemba/Copyright Connecticut Audubon Society
This has been an incredible winter for Snowy Owl sightings in our area. Connecticut Audubon Society is looking to you to help us celebrate and raise awareness of these beautiful birds.

Enter our Snowy Owl Observation Contest by sharing your experience with us, and you could win a first prize of $300 or one of two $100 honorable mention prizes!

Here's how to enter:

Submit a photo, video, or written piece about your experience. Bonus points will be given for creativity! At the end of the season, we will pick a $300 grand prize winner and two $100 honorable mentions. Just post your submission to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the #CTSnowyOwl hashtag!

When you use #CTSnowyOwl, your post will automatically be published on our website.
Here are some Tips & Guidelines:
  • Don't forget to include where and when you saw the bird.
  • If you're submitting a photo, don't limit yourself to close-ups: a shot of a landscape with a Snowy Owl in the distance would be great too! The photo above would be a perfect entry. Anthony Zemba, our director of conservation services, took it in December at Stratford Point.
  • If you haven't seen a Snowy yet, it's not too late. Snowies have been seen across our shoreline, including at our Milford Point Coastal Center; the beaches and marshes in Stratford; Long Wharf in New Haven; and Great Island in Old Lyme.
  • It is very important that you take photos from afar, to avoid disturbing the birds. The best locations are often where you see other birders gathering to observe.
  • If you're not a social media user, you can email your submission to, and we will post your submission for you.
Thank you, and good luck! Remember: #CTSnowyOwl!

Sorry, employees and their families aren't eligible to win (but we hope they'll enter anyway). Winners will be chosen at staff discretion. Contest winner decisions are final.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder for January 10: Lapland Longspur

Lapland Longspur 2Lapland Longspur
Calcarius lapponicus

Each winter, uncommon avian visitors from the north appear in open habitats such as fallow farm fields, coastal beaches, grasslands, and dunes. Among these winter visitors may be the Lapland Longspur, a small songbird in the family Emberizidae – a taxonomic category composed of certain finches, American sparrows, towhees, buntings, and New World sparrows. Lapland Longspurs breed in wet meadows and grassy hummocks of the Arctic tundra of Nearctic and Palearctic regions. Their winter range extends much wider – in North America it covers most of the lower 48 states but is very rare in the southern reaches of the border and Gulf states. They typically begin to appear in Connecticut by mid to late October, stay through much of the winter, then depart by the end of March.

Where to find it:
Those searching for Lapland Longspurs should visit ... click here to read the full post.

Photo by Anthony Zemba/Connecticut Audubon Society

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder for January 3, 2014: Long-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher standing on one leg in Stratford. Photo courtesy of Donna Caporaso.
Long-billed Dowitcher
Limnodromus scolopaceus

Where to find it: A single Long-billed Dowitcher has been present at the Birdseye Street boat ramp in Stratford for the past two weeks where it has been roosting along the shoreline. For a map, click here; for the Connecticut Coastal Access Guide, click here.

How to find it: Look for a larger-sized sandpiper sitting along the shoreline on the left (western) side of the boat ramp near the water’s edge. For the rest of this week's Bird Finder, click here...

Photo of Long-billed Dowitcher standing on one leg in Stratford by Donna Caporaso.