Feed and Count the Birds in Dec. at Sharon Audubon

Do you enjoy watching the birds at your feeders but don’t know what types of birds they are? Do you like to feed the birds, but are not sure which types of seed to offer or what kind of bird feeder to fill? Harlan will help you to understand which types of seeds most birds prefer and why, which feeders work best for your bird feeding set up, and how to identify some of the common species visiting your feeder this winter. All bird seed and bird feeders will be on sale as part of the Mega-Nature Store Sale this day, so you can leave the Center knowledgeable, prepared and stocked up for the winter bird feeding season!

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The Audubon Sharon Nature Store Sale takes place through December 13th. During the sale, you’ll find great discounts on various types of bird feeders, bird seed (including their very own Northwest Corner Blend,) t-shirts, toys, kids’ books, field guides, knick-knacks, coffee, ornaments, bird baths and so much more! Everything in our store will be on sale during the Mega-Sale on Dec. 6th and 7th!

On December 14, the Sharon Audubon is sponsoring an all day event called Trixie Strauss Christmas Bird Count that is free and open to the public. Audubon Sharon will once again be taking part in this count and they love to have people join them!

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The count area is a 15 mile circle with its center at Hotchkiss School, and includes good birding areas in Sharon, Salisbury, Amenia and Northeast. Teams from all over the state and country take part in Christmas Bird Count. The numbers are compiled and reported to help better understand flock formation and migrations.

For more information and for store hours, contact the Audubon Center at (860) 364-0520 or www.sharon.audubon.org. For holiday event information www.litchfieldhills.com

April Fun at Audubon Greenwich

Spring gets into full swing in April at Audubon Greenwich. There are many family fun events taking place here that will provide fun for the whole family.

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On Saturday, April 12, for example,two exciting walks are planned. The Ponds and Vernal Pools walk will teach you how to search for salamanders, frogs and more and will take place from 2 p.m. – 3:30. All ages are welcome on this walk. RSVP is required so call Ted Gilman at 203-869-5272 x230 to reserve your spot.

There is also a springtime sunset and moonlight walk from 7:45 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. Participants will seek out the sights, sounds, and smells of a spring evening visiting field, pond, forest, and lake in search of wildlife. Participants will also listen overhead and look up at the moon in search of silhouettes of night-flying springtime bird migrants. This walk is good for kids Ages 7 and up. Space is limited and an RSVP is required to Ted at 203-869-5272 x230.

greenwich audubon hike

The month of April is ends with two events. The first is a documentary film, called Unacceptable Levels from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturday April 26. Learn more about common chemicals, how their effects can be more profound on children than on adults, and how the Conn. General Assembly’s Children’s Committee has proposed legislation, “An Act Concerning Children’s Products and Chemicals of High Concern,” which, if passed, could authorize studies that will guide recommendations to protect children. This event is suitable for adults and interested youth. Location: Cole Auditorium, Greenwich Library (101 W Putnam Ave). Call Jeff Cordulack at 203-869-5272 x239 with questions and RSVPs are appreciated to greenwichcenter@audubon.org.

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On Sunday, April 27, there will be a Nature Art Class with Adriana Rostovsky from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. This class will show participants how to create textures and collages with nature’s treasures found outdoors. These sessions will focus on using natural items like cones, pods and seed heads to create nature-themed decorations. All ages’ welcome. $25 for first two people; $5 per additional participant. RSVP and advance payment required to greenwichcenter@audubon.org or Jeff at 203-869-5272 x239.

The Audubon Greenwich is located on 613 Riversville Rd. For more information greenwichcenter@audubon.org

Spring into spring at Bent of the River Audubon

Bent of the River Audubon located on 185 East Flat Hill Road in Southbury is celebrating the return of spring migratory birds this April with several programs that are sure to help you enjoy this annual migration.

Bluebirds
Bluebirds

On April 4 for example at 6:30 p.m., Bent of the River is hosting a program called “Timberdoodling”! Participants will meet in the Bent of the River Parking Lot (members free, non-members $5) to observe one of North America’s most intriguing mating displays as the male American Woodcock struts, peents, flies, and whistles his way into the females favor. Past walks have proven very successful in witnessing this impressive display. In addition, we are also likely to see the courtship flight of Mourning Doves, and hear the classic “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all” call from our resident Barred Owls, all with a background symphony of Spring peepers. This is a very popular program and registration is limited so register soon. Rain cancels this event. Registration is required. Please email Jim Drennan at jdrennan@audubon.org or call (203)264-5098 ext. 303.

On Tuesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. the Land Management Staff of Bent of the River will present information on how Audubon manages sanctuaries for birds and other wildlife at the Kingsley Room in the Southbury Public Library on 100 Poverty Rd. in Southbury. This free event will include information on how to improve landscapes at home to provide better habitats for birds and other wildlife. The focus of this evening will be on shrub and grassland habitat species including butterflies, dragon flies and the plants they need to survive and thrive. This presentation is perfect for gardeners interested in improving their gardens and landscape while spending less maintenance time! The meeting is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Please email Jim Drennan at jdrennan@audubon.org or call (203)264-5098 ext. 303.

Jewels of the Blue — Eastern Bluebird management will be the topic of discussion on Thursday, April 17 at 7 pm at the historic barn at Bent of the River Audubon Center. The cost for this program is $3 for members and $5 for non-members. It has been estimated that the Eastern Bluebird population has decreased 90% since the mid 1800’s due to the introduction of the starling and house sparrow from Europe. These species are more aggressive than the bluebird and will kill both adults and eggs to take over the nesting location. However, since the late 1960’s, populations have been recovering due in large part to the popularity of constructing bluebird nest boxes designed to keep starlings out and educating the public about how to deal with house sparrows. Bent of the River land manager, Jim Drennan, will lead a discussion on how best to attract, care for, and manage your bluebirds, and relate the challenges Audubon faces caring for their 25 Bluebird nest boxes. If time permits, there will be a walk into the meadow to observe bluebird habitat.
Registration is required. Please email Jim Drennan at jdrennan@audubon.org or call (203)264-5098 ext. 303.

For more information about Bent of the River visit http://bentoftheriver.audubon.org. For information on the Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com.

May at Audubon Greenwich

The Greenwich Audubon, http://greenwich.audubon.org
is celebrating May in style with a series of events that will be fun and educational for lovers of nature.

Lady Slipper
Lady Slipper

On two Wednesdays, May 15 and May 22, there is a bird walk from 7 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. at Fairchild Wildflower Garden on North Porchuck Road. For this free event RSVP to 203-869-5272 x230 and don’t forget to bring your binoculars and camera

On Saturday, May 18 and May 25 there will be a bird walk at the Main Sanctuary on Riversville Rd. from 7 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. Morning bird walks are a spring tradition at the Audubon and participants are asked to RSVP to 203-869-5272 x230 and to meet at the Greenwich parking area on Riversville Road.

Also on Saturday, May 18, the Audubon is hosting a program from 2 pm. – 3:30 p.m. called Fast Food Feasts for Songbirds. As neo-tropical migrants return from their wintering areas, emerging insects and other invertebrates provide them with essential foods. Participants will search for feeding birds visit local plant life in search of insects, spiders, and other creatures that make quick treats for spring’s hungry avian travelers.

To finish up the month of May, on the 25th the Audubon Greenwich is hosting Turtle Time with Ted Gilman from 2 p.m. – 3:30. Participants will learn about turtle natural history, nesting behavior, how to help protect turtles, and meet some of our local turtle species. The program is finished with a hike to Mead Lake in search of nesting turtles. This program is appropriate for all ages. Please. RSVP to 203-869-5272 x230.

Birds of New England
Birds of New England

When visiting the Audubon, don’t miss the Birds of New England now on display in in Kiernan Hall at Audubon Greenwich through July 16th. While in New England and the North Atlantic coast, John James Audubon observed many, possibly hundreds of species of birds that lived or migrated here. Audubon painted many of these species, 52 of them while actually on location in New England, and 34 prints are included in this exhibition.

For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Creating Habitat Oases for Migrating Songbirds

Join Audubon’s Patrick Comins and Michelle Frankelon April 28 at the Garden Education Center of Greenwich on 1 Bible Street in Cos Cob for a special presentation and walk through Greenwich’s Montgomery Pinetum to learn about simple ways to enhance backyards, school grounds and public parks to provide quality habitat for migrating songbirds. This event is co-sponsored by Audubon Connecticut, Greenwich Tree Conservancy, Bruce Museum and Garden Education Center. An RSVP is suggested to the Greenwich Tree Conservancy at 203- 869-1464. The program takes place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Garden Education Center of Greenwich
Garden Education Center of Greenwich

The Audubon’s Habitat Oases program identifies, improves and conserves important stop-over habitat for migrating songbirds all along the Atlantic migratory flyway, focusing on urban and suburban areas and other landscapes where there is limited quality habitat. The program, performed in collaboration with Audubon chapters, state and municipal parks departments, and other groups, engages volunteer birdwatchers – citizen scientists – in migratory songbird surveys of urban/suburban green spaces. The surveys help to determine the characteristics of high quality stop-over habitat and which species of plants are most beneficial as food sources for migrating songbirds.

Audubon and its partners are using the results of this study to promote the protection of critical stop-over habitats by helping government agencies, corporations, land trusts, and other landowners make informed land use and land protection decisions
They also work to improve the quality of public and private lands as stop-over habitat for migrating birds by guiding the management and landscaping practices of natural resource managers, private landowners and professional landscapers
and strive to develop regionally-specific lists of “bird-friendly” native plants that may be used to guide landscaping practices in parks, gardens and backyards.

Patrick Comins is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, and has worked in the bird conservation arena for the last 15 years. Patrick began his career with the Connecticut Audubon Society, doing bird surveys on the coast at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge and then worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a biological technician at the refuge. He has been with Audubon Connecticut as the Director of Bird Conservation for Connecticut since 2000, overseeing Connecticut’s Important Bird Areas and other conservation programs. He is the principal author of Protecting Connecticut’s Grassland Heritage. Patrick is a past resident of the Connecticut Ornithological Association and was the 2007 recipient of their Mabel Osgood Wright Award. He has written several articles on bird conservation and identification for the Connecticut Warbler and is currently chairman and vice president of the Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

Michelle Frankel, Ph.D., is a Conservation Biologist with Audubon Connecticut and is coordinating the Habitat Oases program in CT, and facilitating the implementation of the program in a number of other states along the Atlantic migratory flyway. Michelle previously worked with Audubon of Florida, where she originally piloted the Habitat Oases program. Prior to her work with Audubon, she was Education Director for Earthspan, a nonprofit that develops and applies advanced technologies for wildlife conservation. Michelle received her Ph.D. in behavioral ecology from Boston University, focusing on forest fragmentation effects on migratory songbirds. She subsequently pursued a post-doctoral fellowship with Tel Aviv University and the International Center for the Study of Bird Migration in Israel, where she studied the impacts of urbanization on the globally-threatened Lesser Kestrel.

Audubon Greenwich celebrates spring

If you are looking for signs of spring, don’t miss the April events at Audubon Greenwich, http://greenwich.audubon.org located on 613 Riversville Rd. in Greenwich.

Go on a bird walk this spring
Go on a bird walk this spring

On Wednesday, April 17 from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. visitors are invited on a morning bird walk at the Fairchild Wildflower Garden area on North Porchuck Rd.

Benjamin T. Fairchild developed the Fairchild Garden as a wildflower sanctuary on abandoned farmland he purchased in 1890. After his death in 1939, Mrs. Elon Huntington Hooker, with the help of local garden clubs, raised the money to purchase the sanctuary. It was donated to the National Audubon Society in 1945. It is not a formal garden, but a natural area, with introduced wildflower species and some interesting rocks into the landscape. The unique feature of this 135-acre sanctuary is its variety of wetland habitats. These include a stream, pond, wetland meadow, red maple swamp, hillside wetland, emergent freshwater marsh and a wetland scrub thicket. The sanctuary also boasts eight miles of trails winding through deep shady gorges under cover of mature deciduous forest, and a grove of white pines. The Fairchild Wildflower Garden becomes a birding hot spot in the late spring and early summer seasons.

To continue the spring birding tradition, the Audubon is offering a Bird Walk on the trails at their main sanctuary located on Riversville Road from 7 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Later in the day, the Audubon will host a spring flower walk lead by a naturalist that will explain the histories, ecological niches and insect pollination partners
Of the various spring flowers found here. This walk is good for ages 5 and up.

Rounding out a month of walks, on April 24 the Audubon will host a springtime sunset and moonlight walk from 7:45 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. Participants will seek out the sights, sounds, and smells of a spring evening visiting field, pond, forest, and lake in search of wildlife. Hikers will also listen overhead and look up at the moon in search of silhouettes of night-flying springtime bird migrants. This event is good for ages 7 & up. Please note that space limited & RSVP required.

For questions and reservations to the events sponsored by the Audubon Greenwich call Ted Gilman at 203-869-5272 x230. For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com