Connecticut’s 7 Best Birdwatching Spots This Summer

Harkness Memorial State Park
© iStock.com/mcpuckette

Written by Abdulmumin Akinde

Updated: October 17, 2022

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Connecticut is one of the smallest states in the United States. The state has an east-to-west length of just 110 miles. Yet, it is one of the most ecologically diverse locations, including offshore islands, woodlands, and grasslands. With various habitats, Connecticut’s parks, forests, and wildlife management areas present unique recreation opportunities for visitors, especially bird watchers searching for Connecticut’s best birdwatching spots. 

Connecticut has nearly 450 bird species, which is surprising, considering its small size. Many much larger states along the Atlantic Coast don’t boast as many bird species. These are some of the most notable hotspots in the state, where bird watchers can explore to find different bird species during the summer. 

1. Audubon Center in Greenwich 

scarlet tanager with berry in its mouth

The scarlet tanager can be found in Greenwich Audubon Center.

©iStock.com/BrianLasenby

The Audubon Center in Greenwich is one of the top birdwatching destinations in the southwest area of Connecticut. With 7 miles of hiking trails covering the 285-acre wildlife sanctuary, there are plenty of birds and other wildlife to see. There Audubon Center, located here, is also a great place to visit for some environmental education. 

Common Birds in Audubon Center 

The scarlet tanager, worm-eating warbler, and saw-whet owl are commonly sighted in the Greenwich Audubon Center. You will also find other bird species like the Louisiana waterthrush, ruffed grouse, tree swallow, great crested flycatcher, Baltimore Oriole, and yellow-throated vireo. 

2. White Memorial Foundation 

White Memorial Foundation Connecticut

The white memorial foundation hosts aquatic bird species.

©Jared Franklin / CC BY-SA 3.0 – Original / License

This is a nature reserve in the town of Litchfield & Morris in northwestern Connecticut. The site hosts various habitats, including forests, grasslands, and shrubland. In addition, there are several wetlands, streams, swamps, and vernal pools that host some aquatic bird species. To find various bird species, you can explore the preserve’s 35 miles of woodland roads, hiking trails, and boardwalks.

Common Birds in White Memorial Foundation 

Since the reserve opened over 50 years ago, more than 246 species of birds have been recorded there, and close to half live and breed in the park. Some of the most commonly sighted bird species that typically nest in the park include American kestrels, Cooper’s hawk, and sharp-shinned hawks. In addition, many migratory birds like the redheads, blue-winged teal, American black ducks, and so on can be found in the park on their seasonal migrations. Among the most prolific migratory birds in the park are the mergansers, although you’ll only find them in December and not during summer. 

3. Sherwood Island State Park

Sherwood Island State Park

The Sherwood Island Park is Connecticut’s oldest state park.

©mjbdesignworks/Shutterstock.com

Another fabulous bird-watching location you can visit this summer is the Sherwood Island State Park, 235 acres of land in the Green Farms section of Westport, Connecticut. The Sherwood Island Park is Connecticut’s oldest state park and one of the most diverse habitats to explore. People visit this park for picnics, swimming in Long Island Sound, and bird watching. 

Common Birds in Sherwood Island State Park

The Sherwood Island park is teeming with wildlife of various kinds, including different species of birds. Some of the most common species you’re likely to find include; the American pipit, the Snow bunting, horned lark, Virginia rail, golden-winged warbler, least bittern, and the green-horned owl, among others. 

4. East Rock Park 

East Rock Park

East Rock park is a good place to watch birds.

©Helioscribe/Shutterstock.com

The East Rock Park in New Haven is a very important birdwatching location. It is a green space within a well-developed urban area owned by the City of New Haven. Although it is best known as a destination for watching migrating birds during springs, you can visit the park for birdwatching and other activities at any time of the year. 

Common Birds in East Rock Park

Aside from the migratory birds such as warblers and other songbirds that stop over during their seasonal migration along the coast, birds like raptors and many other species also nest in East Rock Park all year round. The park is generally quieter in the summer, but you will still find interesting bird species like the worm-eating warbler, great crested flycatcher, and rose-breasted grosbeak nesting in shrubs and trees within the park. Others that are less commonly spotted include the blue grosbeak, hermit warbler, summer tanager, and Chuck-will’s widow, among others. 

5. The Coastal Center at Milford Point 

Coastal Center at Milford Point

The Coastal center is a place to hike and watch different bird species.

©iStock.com/Holcy

Located just about 4 miles from the town of Milford, the coastal center is a property that hosts the Smith Hubbell Wildlife Refuge and Bird sanctuary and a nature center. People visit this sanctuary to hike the trails and explore the plains for different species of birds. You can walk miles of Beachland to find birds or hike the boardwalk trail for some beautiful birds. 

Common Birds in Coastal Center at Milford Point

At this coastal center, you get a treasured view of the coast of Connecticut along with plenty of bird species that nest in the area. Some of the most common species you’re likely to spot include the saltmarsh sparrow, glossy ibis, American Oystercatcher, horned lark, osprey, piping plover, and some species of herons. 

6. Station 43 

Blue-winged Teal

The blue-winged teal can be seen in station 43.

©iStock.com/Brian Reinke

Station 43 in South Windsor is a 10-acre reserve that belongs to the Hartford Audubon Society. It is located in the Connecticut River floodplain. The most unique habitat in the reserve includes a pond and the freshwater wetland habitats associated with it.

Common Birds in Station 43

In the bird-watching community, Station 43 is considered one of Connecticut’s most critical bird habitats. The marshlands serve as an important breeding area for various bird species. Some of the most common ones include the American bitter, least bittern, king rail, and blue-winged teal. 

7. Harkness Memorial State Park 

Harkness Memorial State Park

Harkness memorial state park has a booming bird population.

©iStock.com/mcpuckette

Located in Waterford and managed by the State of Connecticut, this 230 acres of land holds several attractions for the general public. However, it has a booming bird population that draws bird watchers from all over the state. 

Common Birds found in Harkness Memorial State Park

In the Harkness memorial park, you will find several species of waterbirds and shorebirds that call the eastern coast of Connecticut home some of the species that nest in this area, including the piping plover and the least tern. The winter migration season brings in hundreds of Canada Goose. However, many water bird species like the common eider, great black-backed gull, and the red-breasted merganser are abundant in this area. 

Connecticut hosts some of the best birdwatching locations in the country. The hotspots above are only a few of the top destinations where you can see exciting bird species. You’ll find different bird species both in summer and throughout the year. Grab your binoculars and start exploring this area for your birdwatching pleasure. 

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About the Author

Abdulmumin is a pharmacist and a top-rated content writer who can pretty much write on anything that can be researched on the internet. However, he particularly enjoys writing about animals, nature, and health. He loves animals, especially horses, and would love to have one someday.

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