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Connecticut Audubon Society acquires Stratford Point, a haven for hundreds of birds

Provided Photograph
Gilles Carter / CTAudubon

The Connecticut Audubon Society is celebrating its acquisition of the Stratford Point preserve.

More than 300 bird species have been recorded at the 28-acre coastal habitat, which sits on a peninsula in Stratford jutting into Long Island Sound and the mouth of the Housatonic River estuary. Birds spotted there include the snowy owl, white-tailed kite and purple martin, according to the conservation group.

Patrick Comins, executive director of the Connecticut Audubon Society, said the land hosts a diverse array of habitat that is “really important to maintain” because it provides a migratory stopover for many birds and is also a wintering area for other species.

Stratford Point was already protected by a conservation easement, but Comins said his organization can take a more proactive role as stewards of the property now that it owns it.

He said that means planting more native plants on the land and “making sure it isn’t overrun by invasive plants.” He said his group will also ensure “the areas that are meant to be open grassland remain as open grassland.”

Stratford Point stayed undeveloped for decades because it was once the site of a trap and skeet range owned by Remington Arms and then DuPont. That shut down in 1986, and there was a large cleanup of lead shot and target fragments in the early 2000s. Corteva Agriscience, which bought DuPont in 2019, donated the land to the Connecticut Audubon Society last month.

Provided Photograph / Connecticut Audubon
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How you can enjoy Stratford Point

Stratford Point is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The organization does hope to be able to open it on the weekends in the future.

Dogs are not allowed, even on a leash.

Comins said the best times of year to visit are March through May for the spring migration and then July through November for the fall migration.

Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that dogs are not permitted at Stratford Point.

Jennifer Ahrens is a producer for Morning Edition. She spent 20+ years producing TV shows for CNN and ESPN. She joined Connecticut Public Media because it lets her report on her two passions, nature and animals.