Fall 2016 newsletter
I’d like to start off by sending my sincerest gratitude and thanks to the NVAS board of directors for their amazing hard work and dedication. Without whom our organization would have most certainly have ceased to exist. The members of our chapter are a special group of people; people who take great care and make a conscience effort to preserve our natural environment and protect it from the many dangers we as a species create. NVAS since the late 1970’s has made every effort to organize and educate the residents of the Naugatuck Valley. It is my hope that we can continue our work for many more decades to come and it is with this hope I write this letter to our members. Our chapter has been faced with the very same difficulties that many if not most volunteer organizations struggle with today, lack of active participation. I, like you, struggle every day to find the time for even the simplest things and I find that there are never enough hours in the day. I understand that we all have good intentions and do our best to help where and when we can. Our members use their hard earned money to support National Audubon and in turn their local chapter and at the risk of sounding ungrateful I can say that money isn’t always the answer. The help we so desperately need is often much more challenging to offer. We need your time; time to help educate; time to help organize and orchestrate; and most importantly time to help preserve and protect. Your chapter stands at a crossroads with decision on the path to take resting in the hand of its members willing to step forward. I don’t say this to scare or threaten it is simply a statement of fact. If we are to continue as a strong and viable volunteer organization then we need our members to help us lead the way. If you see yourself as one of these leaders or even an individual who would like to get involved in simpler ways please contact any member of your NVAS board and we would be happy to receive you. Thank you very much for your help and consideration.
Carl Almonte, President NVAS
Fall Bird Migration By Donna Rose Smith
As you read this, bird migration is already underway, shorebirds moving through the state now along with land birds and hawks. Quick look at the ctbirds list serve (1), one notes that birders are out scanning the shoreline, marshes, local patches and skies wherever they travel or simply from their backyard looking for migrants. Not a birder you say. You don’t need to be a dyed-in-the-wool expert bird watcher to enjoy one of natures’ amazing events.
You may have noticed that American robins are hard to find. Some robins have indeed started to head south. Most are done nesting and with the drought are foraging in the woodlands searching under leaves and seeking out berries to fuel up for their journey south. Some robins will be arriving in Connecticut to spend the winter along with a few hermit thrushes, sustaining themselves with fruits that persist on trees and shrubs.
Stand outside on a clear cool night and listen closely, you may hear chirp and chip sounds drifting down from the evening sky. Yes, that is the sound of thrushes, warblers, and sparrows flying overhead headed to the southern U.S., Central America, or Brazil. (2)
If you find yourself on nearly any hill top on a sunny cool day in autumn after the passing of a storm, look up. You may see hawks gliding by heading in a southwesterly direction on their way down the Atlantic flyway.
You may have noticed more chipping sparrows in your yard, I know I have. They are on the move too. They love to eat the grass and weed seeds they find at the edges of the lawn. This is a good reason not to manicure the lawn to perfection, better yet leave a patch your yard to go somewhat wild, (invasive species should be controlled), more sparrow food!
Don’t know what the bird I have been talking about in the article are and want to find out? Would you like to learn to identify birds by sight and sound? Join us for one of the Sunday family bird walks.
Fall Bird Walks with Donna Rose Smith
October 2nd, 8 a.m. Osbornedale State Park, meet at the Kellogg Environmental Center.
November 27th, 9 a.m. Osbornedale State Park, meet at the Kellogg Environmental Center.
Nest Box Monitoring, reported by Stephanie Tucci
There were a total of 10 nest boxes monitored for the 2016 season at Kellogg Environmental Center. There were multiple attempts of House Wrens trying to take over House Sparrow nests and vice versa. The Bluebirds had 3 successful nests with 10 birds fledged. Tree Swallows had 3 successful nests with 14 birds fledged. Tree Swallows typically have 6 eggs in each brood while Bluebirds only have 4. However, Bluebirds will attempt to nest a second or third time each summer while Tree Swallows will only nest the one time.
One adult tree swallow was found deceased with puncture like wounds early in the season inside a box. This was likely from nest box competition with a House Sparrow. The following week a House Sparrow nest was removed from the same box. One House Wren was found deceased on the ground outside of a box that a House Sparrow took over. In addition, 2 Tree Swallow fledglings were found deceased with a Bluebird nest built on top of them. The week before, Bluebirds were observed trying to build their nest on top of the whole brood of Tree Swallows in that box. In another nest box, a Tree Swallow fledgling was found deceased, likely from natural nest competition.
Compared to last year, there was an increase in House Wren nests and House Wren competition with House Sparrows. There was a significant decrease in Tree Swallow nests and therefore a decrease in fledglings. Bluebird nest success and fledged birds stayed the same. There was also an increase in House Sparrow nest attempts but the amount of eggs stayed about the same.
THANK YOU to Elizabeth Setaro and her sons for monitoring nest boxes at Naugatuck State Forest! There are a total of 10 nest boxes at Naugatuck State Forest. Liz and her sons monitored throughout the spring and summer and reported 2 successful Bluebird nests with 7 fledglings and 5 successful Tree Swallow nests with 21 fledglings! Compared to last year’s results at Naugatuck State Forest, this year saw a slight increase in Tree Swallow and Bluebird success.
Purple Martins had a rough start to the season this year at multiple colonies throughout Connecticut. The Purple Martin house at the Kellogg Center had no activity from Martins this year but we will continue to observe and monitor in the 2017 season.
If you have any interest in monitoring or would like to find out more information please contact Naugatuck Valley Audubon.
Nest Box Monitoring at Naugatuck State Forest 2016
Nest box monitoring at Naugatuck State Forest began the last week of March and boxes were monitored through the end of July.
The ten boxes were checked on a weekly basis and findings were recorded. Boxes were checked for nesting material, eggs and chicks.
A car mechanic mirror was used to look into the nest without disturbing it. Nests were avoided when the young were close to fledging. Old nesting material was cleaned out after the chicks fledged and then the box was monitored again.
This year 12 tree swallow chicks fledged and 5 blue bird chicks fledged. This was very exciting since there were no bluebirds the previous year. Twice blue birds used the same nesting box with 3 chicks fledging followed by 2 chicks fledging.
By the end of the season house wrens had taken over 5 of the 10 nest boxes.
I thoroughly enjoyed visiting NSF and checking on the boxes. It is very exciting to see nature in action!
The Young Naturalist Program has proven to be fun, educational, and rewarding experience for all who have taken part. Turnout has been great and I hope that it continues to grow this year as we offer some programs again and develop new programs. Your ideas and suggestions are welcome so let us know what is on your mind. We could always use a helping hand so tell us you are interested and come early to assist in organizing and taking a leading role. Check the FB page or website for details and updates. Looking forward to seeing you and having great time enjoying nature.
Young Naturalist Programs in Matthies Park, Beacon Falls. Meet at picnic table by parking lot. For details, check Facebook and website.
Life in our Waterways-Macro invertebrate Sampling
September 24, 8:00 AM
Plant and Leaf Pressing October 15, 9:00 AM
Building fairy Houses November 12, 9:00 AM
Eagle watch at Shepaug Dam, December date TBD
Winter Tracking February 18, 2017
What is in our Vernal Pools, March date TBD
Phantasms & Fallacies; The Pitfalls in Bird Identification
September 21, 2016 at 7:00 PM Kellogg Environmental Center
500 Hawthorne Avenue, Derby, CT
Why do some people find an inordinate amount of rarities? Why are some individual birds misidentified by large groups of people? In this entertaining talk, Julian Hough answers these questions - and more - by looking at the connection between our brain and the process of bird identification and how we all are susceptible to making mistakes in the field.
Originally from England, Julian spent all his time birding around the British Isles in the pursuit of rare birds.
His focus on field identification led to extensive travel to India, Nepal, China, Australia, Europe, and Central and South America.
He has worked as a research biologist for both Long Point (Canada) and Cape May Bird Observatory (USA) and was part of a team that documented ‘morning flight’ at Cape May in the late 80s.
He formerly worked as a journalist on Britain’s top-selling bird magazine Birdwatching and his work has been published in many books and periodicals, notably the recently award-winning “Rare Birds Where and When” that he produced and was written by the late Russell Slack.
He has served as member of the CT Avian Rare Records Committee for more two decades and currently resides in New Haven, Connecticut with his young son Alex.
Donation: $3.00 for members; $5.00 non-members; under 12 Free
Refreshments will be served.
In The Eye Of An Eagle – Connecticut’s Bald Eagles
Larry Fischer, President of Western Connecticut Bird Club and a federally licensed raptor bander
Wednesday October 19th at 7 PM
Hosted By Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society
Kellogg Environmental Center, 500 Hawthorne Avenue, Derby, CT
The bald eagle was considered extirpated from CT by the mid-1950’s. As breeding populations in eastern Canada and northern Maine began to recover in the late 1970’s migrant Bald Eagles began to appear in CT during the winter months on open rivers and at hydroelectric dams. In 1992 CT had its first nesting pair of Bald Eagles since the early 1950’s. Join raptor researcher Larry Fischer as he recounts this remarkable comeback with slides, digital photos, and anecdotes, starting from the earliest winter residents to CT’s first nest, to the present population of nesting eagles. Join Larry as he scales some of CT’s tallest trees to come face to face with eaglets in their CT aeries
Donations: $3.00 for members; $5.00 non-members; children under 12 Free.
Refreshments will be served
The Birds of Iceland
Pete and Barb Rzasa
November 16, 2016 at 7:00 PM Kellogg Environmental Center
500 Hawthorne Avenue, Derby, CT
Iceland is often called “The Land of Fire and Ice” because of the many volcanoes and glaciers that populate the country. The country is also a noted birder’s paradise famous for its population of Atlantic puffins, ptarmigan, artic terns, harlequin ducks and white-tailed eagles. Sea birds such as northern fulmars, gannets, guillemots, kittiwakes and great skuas are found in abundance along Iceland’s 3,700 miles of coast. Lake areas provide habitat for great northern divers, red-necked phalaropes, and tufted ducks. Inland areas host short-eared owls, European golden plovers, Eurasian woodcock, whimbrels, gyr-falcons and common redshanks amongst other birds.
Naturalists Peter and Barbara Rzasa will present a slide show of several Icelandic birds that they photographed in Iceland while traveling Iceland’s 832-mile long Ring Road and on their visit to the West Fjords. Join us as they provide information and interesting stories, and a brief overview of Iceland and its natural history.
On display will be their collection of Iceland’s volcanic rocks and ash as well as guide books, literature and nature field guides.
December 14, 2016 at 6:30PM
Tour Of the Osborne House decorated for Christmas.
Holiday Meeting Tour of the Osborne House decorated for the holidays by local garden clubs. Afterwards join us for refreshments and our usual holiday festivities.
Christmas bird count December 18, 2016. Come join us for the 117th annual citizen science project. Never know what is waiting to be seen, harsh weather will postpone til next weekend. Start with owl check at 4:30, group meeting at Kellogg Environmental Center at 7:00 AM for planning out rest of day. See our website and Facebook page for details, or email us.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 7:00 PM
Members Night; Popcorn and PJ’s
Short presentations and talks Family Night! Wear your PJs and be comfy and cozy munching popcorn and enjoying a bit of Show & Tell from Members like You, as well as us on the Board! So if you have anything you would like to share with the group; images, specimens, stories, just let us know and we will schedule you in! Or just arrive and we will work you in! (Just possibly there will be a prize for the best PJs!
Newsletter Spring 2016
From the Board of Directors, Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society
Our Board of Director and Committee member list is sparse and we are in dire need of people who have an interest in taking an active role making Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society a viable and thriving chapter. Do you like to write? Are you friendly and outgoing? Or have a good head for numbers and order? Our treasurer will be stepping down in June, so we need someone to take over. If you can take good notes and have an interest in publicity/marketing, we would enjoy having you do board meeting minutes, write some press releases, and maintain the website. Writing skills could also be put to use as newsletter editor. We need people to help monitor nestboxes in Derby at Osbornedale Park and empty the fishing line bins at Picketts Pond. Once a week, pick your weather to enjoy the walk!
Job Descriptions (more-or-less, flexible, and negotiable): We could use help on all committees and in all positions so no interested party will be turned away! Students and Interns of all Ages Welcome!
President: Carl Almonte Vice President: Sophie Zyla
Conservation and Education; Sophie Zyla, Donna Rose Smith
*Treasurer: Dick Wilmot, Jeff Ruhloff; Handle all cash & checks, deposit into accounts, balance checkbook, pay bills, accounting for funds, monthly statements for board meetings, collect donations at programs.
*Secretary: Stephanie Tucci, Jeff; Take notes at all meetings, provide meeting notes to board & committee members, assist with newsletters and mailings, assist with marketing, promotional, educational materials.
*Website: Stephanie, Jeff; Keep website up-to-date & accurate, update design as needed to keep up with current trends, track blog writings by high school students.
*Fundraising and Grant Opportunities: Sophie; Develop fundraising possibilities, track grant opportunities, present opportunities to board and committee members.
*Field Trips: Sophie; Investigate field trip opportunities, arrange field trips, develop trip descriptions for marketing & promotional materials.
*Programs: Sophie; Investigate program options, arrange programs with presenters, confirm all details & locations, write program descriptions for marketing and promotional materials.
*Advocacy & Research: Sophie; Research areas of community concern which NVAS may want to become involved, write advocacy materials, track happenings in all the towns within the NVAS Chapter area, develop ways in which NVAS can play an active role or become involved in those communities.
*Membership & Recruiting: Sophie; Attend fairs, shows to promote NVAS. All should be involved on a daily basis! Business cards are provided for promoting NVAS programs & activities which provide so many opportunities for involvement by all age groups.
*Publicity & Marketing: Sophie, Jeff; Work with committee members on developing & distributing promotional materials, develop new ideas & areas for publicity & marketing, assist with promoting NVAS at fairs & events.
*Newsletter: Sophie, Jeff; Organize newsletter, articles, work with committee members on newsletter materials, print, prepare newsletters for bulk mailings, confirm accuracy of member & email lists, send email newsletters, send email updates prior to programs.
*Hospitality: All; work with Treasurer on collecting donations at programs, greet & socialize with guests, recruit new members, coordinate refreshments for programs, setup refreshments & cleanup after programs, track supplies, purchase supplies.
*Social Media; Sophie: maintain Facebook page, setup online surveys, explore new online ways of contact
High School Coordinator; Aidan Morgan; recruit students & guide in writing for blog, integrate with class curricula
*Young Naturalists; Sophie, Donna Rose, Jeff : write curriculum, research locations, purchase & track supplies, prepare handouts
*Construction Crew; Jeff, Aidan, Baldo, Frank; build nest boxes, owl boxes, predator guards, repair existing installations
Photography and Journalism; Sophie; select locations & topics, take appropriate photographs, write & edit as needed
Nest Boxes: Stephanie; coordinate volunteers & maintenance
Barn Owl Project; Jeff, Aidan: select sites, work with property owners, build boxes & install, monitor
*Priority positions in need of assistance or being filled
There are so many opportunities and possibilities, and too few of us! With your help and enthusiasm Naugatuck Valley Audubon can grow into the future!
The River few have ever Seen
Music Video Presentation by Kevin Zak of Naugatuck River Revival Group Wednesday April 20th 7pm Kellogg Environmental Center Derby
Take a journey down the often unnoticed Naugatuck River in a music video produced by Kevin Zak. You will visit a variety of ecosystems including one found below the water’s surface. Discover the world of predator and prey, songbirds, fishing birds, fish, and sea lamprey. See how conservation efforts are helping educate the public, promote recreation, and help restore the river. Learn what the threats are and what is being done to protect the river.
The River touches many towns! Beginning in Winchester, Norfolk, and Goshen the waters converge in Torrington and flow 39 miles to its confluence with the Housatonic River in Derby. The Naugatuck has a watershed area of 311 miles in portions of 27 towns, is the only River contained entirely in CT, and is the largest tributary of the Housatonic River. Join us to explore some of its magic and see what you can do it keep the river flowing and beautiful!
Naugatuck River Revival Group is a non-profit started by its President Kevin Zak with Sondra Harman as Executive Director. Zak is a member of the Waterbury Greenway Advisory Committee and Naugatuck River Greenway Committee and is also involved in a Post University micro bead study, and in DEEP River Herring migration monitoring on the river.
Naugatuck River Revival Group Find and “like” on Facebook!
Donation: $3.00 for members; $5.00 non-members; under 12 Free
Refreshments will be served
Bird Walk May 7, Saturday 7 AM-9:30 AM
at Bent of the River with Ken Elkins
There is none better to explore the fields, shrub, and woodlands of Bent of the River with than Ken Elkins. Since he works here and this is a property he loves and knows well, he is up-to-date on who may have arrived, has stayed in their favorite habitat, or may have left to continue on their migratory journeys. Ken also has excellent hearing when it comes to all those calls and songs, even those out in the distance, which helps to differentiate species and help to locate a bird!
Bring your binoculars, scope, camera, and notebook to record all the species we may hear and see! While geared toward adults and teens, we will be available to lend a hand with all the Young Naturalists so be sure to bring them along!
Audubon Center at Bent of the River, 185 E Flat Hill Rd, Southbury. Meet in the dirt parking area at Bent of the River for a leisurely bird walk around some great habitats found at Bent of the River. Free and open to all!
bentoftheriver.audubon.org Find and “like” on Facebook!
Meet Live Birds from A Place Called Hope
With Christine & Todd
Sunday May 15th at 1 PM Kellogg Environmental Center
While unknown at this time what species, the program will include two diurnal and two nocturnal Birds of Prey! You will see birds that were once wild, and having been rehabilitated from injuries too severe for release, have become Educational Ambassadors. You will learn about their environment along with tips on how to lessen human conflicts.
A Place Called Hope is a non-profit organization run mostly by volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitators who specialize in rescue, rehabilitation, re-nesting, and release of Birds of Prey within Connecticut. Their goal is to reunite wildlife into the natural world after a short stay. Come learn about Birds of Prey and the role and life of a rehabilitator and why we need them.
After the presentation we will take a walk through the Osbornedale gardens and, if time allows, a bird walk around some of the park where NVAS maintains the bird houses.
www.aplacecalledhoperaptors.com Find and “like” on Facebook!
Donation: $3.00 members, $5.00 non-members, under 12 Free
Preserving Our World’s Wild Canines
by Frank Vincenti of The Wild Dog Foundation
Sunday, June 5th at 1 PM
Kellogg Environmental Center
Frank Vincenti from Wild Dog Foundation will take us into the amazing world of the coyotes we share our neighborhoods with. Learn about the reasons for human and wildlife conflicts and what active role you can take in minimizing those conflicts, and in turn save lives. You will surely gain some insight to the role of this important predator in their environment, our communities, and in the world.
Frank is passionate about Wild Dogs and has been involved in educational programs in many locations of NY and CT. He has a wealth of information on natural history, ecology, research, and personal experience to share with us. Bring your curiosity and questions and be prepared to have a glimpse into the life of the often unseen, and too often feared, Eastern Coyote.
We hope you walk away with knowledge that will inspire a new appreciation for this amazing predator and a desire for coexistence with not only coyotes but our other large mammals.
Since there is no fee for hosting this program we request that donations go directly to Wild Dog Foundation so these educational programs may continue to reach many communities.
Wild Dog www.wilddog.org Find and “like” on Facebook!
Young Naturalist Programs - always Free
More information will be on our website, and on Facebook.
Anyone interested in attending or assisting please contact Sophie at firstname.lastname@example.org or check going on the Facebook invite so we have enough handouts!
April 23 (tentative) is macro invertebrate sampling in a local stream.
May 7, Saturday bird walk at Bent of the River in Southbury
August butterflies and dragonflies are to be found. We will meet at a location that has both to watch and identify them.
TBD: See the micro world through a microscope, a new program being developed; Date to be determined location Matthies Park, Beacon Falls
Have you wondered what to do with ordinary flashlight batteries? Bring them to the next meeting and drop them off. We are making arrangements to have them recycled instead of throwing them in the trash. Or, if there is a hazardous waste program near you they should be able to accept them; April 23 in Beacon Falls for residents of Beacon Falls ∙ Bethlehem ∙ Middlebury ∙ Naugatuck ∙ Oxford ∙ Southbury Thomaston ∙ Waterbury ∙ Watertown ∙ Woodbury
We have many avenues to achieve our mission of education and conservation. Our ongoing projects include monitoring nest boxes in Osbornedale Park and Naugatuck State Forest. (Volunteers welcome!) We also have installed fishing line recycling bins, which get heavy use. All fishing line collected is recycled, more importantly is removed from the environment. We are finalizing plans to apply a grant and matching funds to a native plantings garden at Kellogg Environmental Center. Our monthly programs cover a wide range of topics, from invasive species to pesticide use to learning about the many creatures we share the planet with. Our Young Naturalist programs give a first hand introduction to citizen science learning and research. We are hosting a blog from Kennedy High School students; please stop by at “naugatuckvalleyaudubon.wordpress.com” A flyer on litter has been developed and has been distributed to several other conservation groups.
Preventing bird into glass collisions!
Some of you may have seen the recent postings on our Facebook page about the need to keep birds from crashing into windows. We received a mailing from Feather Friendly, a company that manufactures a window film for both do-it-yourself and commercial use. Looks great, recommended by American Bird Conservancy, which also has much info about bird friendly windows on their website.
Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society Newsletter Fall 2015
Wednesday, Sept 16, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Learn about Honeybee history, uses, and current research with Al Avitabile
Join us to learn about honey bees from an expert in the field. Al Avitabile has worked with honey bees since 1965 when a swarm clustered on a Forsythia bush outside his office at the UCONN campus in Waterbury. Since then, Al has published in scholarly peer review journals as well as popular bee magazines including: American Bee Journal and Bee Culture. Earlier this year the Travel Channel filmed Avitabile working with bees at Winvian luxury resort in Morris, CT, which will be aired in November, so make sure to keep an eye out for him! Al Avitabile is co-author of “The Beekeeper’s Handbook” , now in its fourth edition, and owner of Columbine Gardens in Bethlehem. Currently Al is the program chairperson with the CT Bee Keepers Association and Emeritus Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Connecticut. He was a Director of the Waterbury UCONN campus, and he always is helping people who are new to beekeeping.
*** Bring the children as we will offer a Young Naturalists Program during the adult program . This will be a companion to the adult program, so everyone will learn about bees.***
Suggested donation of $5.00/adult; NVAS members $3; age 12 and under free. Light refreshments will be served.
Lighthouse Point Park Migration Festival Sunday, September 20, 2014 8:00 to 3:00 Come celebrate the spectacle and mystery of migration at one of the best places to see migrating wild hawks in New England! Requested donation $5.00 per car For more information call the New Haven Parks office 946-8027
Young Naturalist Program Sunday September 27, 11:00 AM Preserving a Piece of Nature
What better way to learn all about the vegetation around us than by taking home a small piece carefully pressed? Your work can become the beginnings of a species monograph, a piece of art, or a personal source of vegetation identification.
Young Naturalists will have some supplies to take with them to start their collections so please let us know if you are joining us. But don't let that stop you from coming along at the last minute! Free and open to all and while geared toward children 7 and up we can accommodate everyone.
*** Location has not been decided yet so please check website & Facebook***
email@example.com or call Sophie 203-231-4218
Tuesday October 20, 2015 at 6:30PM
Join Dr. Nicholas Bellantoni PhD, Emeritus State Archeologist, for an informative presentation on the history of vampires in Connecticut, Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 6:30 pm. Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society and the Kellogg Environmental Center present this special seasonal program for all to attend.
Always informative and entertaining, Nick’s knowledge of Connecticut history and cultural activity blend to provide an informative program on the mythologies of vampires. Learn how research and study of early colonial activities developed the belief of vampire behavior and the on-going fear of the undead. Specifically related to the study of remains from Jewett City and other locations in Connecticut, the stories related from the area told of strong adults wasting away and dying for unexplained reasons. Was it due to departed family members consuming their energy and blood? What else could be possible? And did these stories help build the image of Bram Stoker’s Dracula? Dr. Bellantoni spends an evening taking you on the journey into the past to see what the bones, grave and history tell us about the myth and fact of the situation.
The program is offered free of charge, but donations are accepted to help support NVAS educational programs. Please call to register your attendance, space is limited. For further information, directions, or to register please phone (203) 734-2513 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Young Naturalist Program Sunday November 15 Building Fairy Houses
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (new time) meeting at Kellogg Environmental Center Parking lot 500 Hawthorne Ave, Derby
Amphibians and reptiles are not the only ones needing a home for the winter! Fairies of the woods also need a place to live. We will make our way into the woods to build Fairy Houses out of some of the natural materials found in the nearby area.
***Location has not been decided yet so please check website & Facebook***
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 7:00 PM Get Ready for Winter Bird Feeding!
Did you know you can feed your birds in winter without breaking the bank? What foods should you offer? For that matter, which birds are still here? Join Margaret Robbins to learn the answers to these and many other winter birdfeeding questions. She'll discuss how to attract the birds you want to see, what to feed them to help them through those cold, snowy days and nights and how to do it economically. Bring any problems or questions for the question/answer period after the talk. There will also be handouts and a free raffle! Margaret Robbins is the owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Brookfield, a backyard bird feeding and nature store she opened in June 2007.Margaret’s fascination with birds began at a young age while watching her parents’ feeders. She is now an avid birdfeeder and birder with a life list of over 450 different species. Margaret has taken bird biology classes at Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology and has taught bird biology, nesting, bird-feeding and identification classes. Before opening her store, Margaret was employed by National Audubon Society at their Greenwich, CT Center.
Wednesday December 9, 7:00 PM Tour of the Osborne House Decorated for Christmas
Holiday Meeting Tour of the Osborne House decorated for the holidays by local garden clubs, with the theme of “Holiday at the Farm”. As they have done for more than twenty years, volunteers create the beautiful holiday decorations. The talented and committed volunteers represent the Derby Garden Society, Garden Club of Orange, Long Hill Garden Club, Naugatuck Garden Club, Olde Ripton Garden Club of Shelton, Oxford Garden Club, Pomperaug Valley Garden Club of Woodbury, Roxbury/Bridgewater Garden Club, Women Redefining Retirement, and Ye Olde Kellogg Garden Club.
Afterwards join us for refreshments and our usual holiday festivities.
Please bring an unwrapped toy for donation to a local charity.
Christmas Bird Count December 20, 2015, 4:00 AM for owls, 7:00 AM for birds. Now entering its 116th year, this is a valuable yearly snapshot of what birds are where. It is a day long event, not required to do everything. Join NVAS or a group in your area for a day out birding and adding to citizen science. Please email us at email@example.com if you can join us.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 7:00 Members Night! Wear your PJs and be comfy and cozy munching popcorn and enjoying a bit of Show & Tell from Members like You! So if you have anything you would like to share with the group; images, specimens, stories, just let us know and we will schedule you in! Or just arrive and we will work you in! (Just possibly there will be a prize for the best PJs!
Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 7:00 PM A Bird in the Hand
Corrie Folsom-O'Keefe, Audubon CT Important Bird Area Program Coordinator, will give a presentation on the bird banding program at Bent of the River as well as some of the Be a Good Egg, Shorebird Surveys, Piping Plover Monitors, and other ways you can become a Citizen Scientist.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 7:00 PM Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy Ben Sonnenberg, Educational Director, will have live birds as part of the program so be sure to join in on a great event. If you have not had an opportunity to visit their facility in Litchfield this will be your chance to see some of the species they have, and hear about the work they do.
April 20, May 18, June 15
Programs for these dates are to be announced, please check our website and Facebook page.
Young Naturalist programs will be back in the New Year.
Join the Eagle Watch at Shepaug Dam in January.
February will be our Winter Tracking.
March is the time for all the creatures of Vernal Pools.
April will be our Woodcock and Owl Walk.
May is time for migratory birds.
June is macroinvertebrate sampling in a local stream.
July brings lightning bugs.
August butterflies and dragonflies are to be found.
More information will be in the next newsletter, on our website, and on Facebook
We will be having a spring migration walk in 2016 at Bent of the River in Southbury. We are looking for someone with birding expertise, some time, and knowledge of the Naugatuck valley area who could lead some other walks. There are many birds that stop here, or call it home, we just have to get out to find them.
Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society
From your Editors Sophie Zyla and Jeff Ruhloff
We wish to extend a big thank you to all our supporters, volunteers, and contributors; we keep moving forward with your support!
I, Jeff Ruhloff, attended a rally in Naugatuck on Saturday in opposition to the CPV Towantic power plant in Oxford. This was organized by the Naugatuck River Revival Group, and there has been coverage in the local newspapers. There is a site walk and public hearing this Thursday, January 15th at Oxford High School. The story begins in the 1990’s when there was first an application to build a plant near the Oxford airport, with a permit received in 1999. The initial company apparently went out of business, but the permit has been sold down the years. Somehow, there has never been quite the push to build the facility, and after 15 plus years, and all the changes in needs and knowledge, isn’t it time to let that old permit go? If the new investor really believes this is a worthy project, able to stand on merit and go through the application process, shouldn’t they? Or is this just an attempt to run something through without full public scrutiny?
We had a good day all around for the Christmas bird count on December 7, 2014. Six of us turned out, with two parties owling at 4:00 AM to report 3 Saw-whet owls and two Great Horned owls. For the rest of the day, we had 45 species with the following notable birds; Bald Eagle, Great Blue Heron, Brown Creeper, Northern Pintails, and a Black and White Warbler.
Bird news from the nestboxes was also good for 2014. We did spot Purple Martins flying near the new house, even if they did not move in. We remain hopeful for 2015! Bluebird nest boxes at Kellog had three nests with 14 fledged, and one successful nest with five fledged from Naugatuck State Forest (NSF). Tree Swallows had one successful nest at Kellog with five fledging, and six nests with 26 fledged at NSF. The two new style houses ended up with House Sparrows and House Wrens also claimed houses as theirs. No House Sparrows fledged and 35 eggs were removed from their nests. Also Sparrow Spookers were used successfully on one of the Eastern Bluebird houses as their young did fledge. Thank you to our monitors for giving them all a chance! Dennis, Carol, Fran, Stephanie, Jeff, and Sophie made it work. We will need monitors again this year so let us know if you are interested in joining the team. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NVAS is happy to announce the introduction of a Young Naturalists Program! The events will be geared toward age groups 5-8 and 9-12 but families are welcome to join in on the fun. Donna Rose Smith will be our Naturalist Guide along with the help of Sophie Zyla, Andrea Hicks Klaben, Jeff Ruhloff and possibly a couple of other assistants. This program is quickly becoming popular and attracting volunteers and young naturalists so we are really excited and looking forward to lots of fun and learning! While we are still in process of finalizing the details below are the preliminaries. Be sure to check the NVAS website and Facebook page for updates! *Please let us know if you are a Young Naturalist joining us so we can be sure to have enough handouts - BUT don't let that stop you from joining us at the last minute!
Saturday February 28th 9 -10:30 am - Wildlife Tracking – (Location TBD) – Who wanders the fields, shrub lands, and woods unseen by us? Can we tell who made the tracks and chew marks we find on looking closer as we walk about? Is it possible that our nose knows and we can tell simply by sniffing out clues? Join Naturalist Donna Rose Smith, Sophie Zyla, Andrea Klaben, Jeff Ruhloff, and possibly a few other assistants for some great winter fun, and yes, we are hoping for snow! *Please let us know you are joining us so we can be sure to have enough handouts - BUT don't let that stop you from joining us at the last minute!
Saturday March 28th 9-10:30 am – Vernal Pool Explorations – at Matthies Park in Beacon Falls – Vernal pools are wetland wonderlands full of amazing species of frogs, toads, salamanders, egg masses, hatchlings, beetles, bugs, fingernail clams, assorted birds, and possibly even a snake or turtle. Put on your water boots and get ready to get a bit wet and dirty while we discover the wonders of vernal pools with Naturalist Donna Rose Smith, Sophie Zyla, Andrea Klaben, Jeff Ruhloff, and possibly a few other assistants. *Please let us know you are joining us so we can be sure to have enough handouts - BUT don't let that stop you from joining us at the last minute!
Saturday April 25th 7:00 – 9:00 pm – Woodcocks and Owls in the Night – at Audubon Bent of the River in Southbury – Come listen as the American Woodcock winds up for take-off and see if you can track his course to the sky and back down to the ground! Not an easy task at first! As darkness sets in we will listen and see if we can spot any owls that may be wandering about the woods. Naturalist Donna Rose Smith, Sophie Zyla and possibly a few other assistants will be there to guide your steps through the night. *Please let us know you are joining us so we can be sure to have enough handouts - BUT don't let that stop you from joining us at the last minute!
Saturday May 16th 9 – 10:30 am – Beginner Birding – at Audubon Bent of the River in Southbury – Bent of the River is a lovely place to find a wide assortment of birds fluttering and flying about. Bring your binoculars if you have them and you will be guaranteed to find some birds and brush up on your identification skills. Naturalist Donna Rose Smith is excellent at calls, songs, silhouettes, and will have Sophie Zyla, Andrea Klaben, Jeff Ruhloff, and possibly a few other assistants on hand to help you explore and learn to be a birder even if you are already an amateur! *Please let us know you are joining us so we can be sure to have enough handouts - BUT don't let that stop you from joining us at the last minute!
And we have not completely left the adults out of the fun activities!
Saturday May 2nd 7-10:00 am – Birds, Birds, and More Birds! There is none better to explore the fields, shrub, and woodlands of Bent of the River with than Ken Elkins. Since he works here and this is a property he loves and knows well, he is up-to-date on who may have arrived, has stayed in their favorite habitat, or may have left to continue on their migratory journeys. Ken also has excellent hearing when it comes to all those calls and songs, even those out in the distance, which helps to differentiate species and help to locate a bird! Bring your binoculars, scope, camera, and notebook to record all the species we may hear and see! While geared toward adults and teens, someone will be available to lend a hand with youngsters so bring them along!
Date TBD – at Audubon Bent of the River (BOTR) - Invasive Plants: Which are BOTR priorities and why, how do remove them, can we eat them? Jim King will take us on a walk through the property pointing out the trials and tribulations of invasive plant removal. Jim and his group of volunteers have been slaving away on this project for some years now and, well, I’ll let him tell you what he has done and the progress he has made. Along with that, once the plants are removed, then what? More and more often we hear about using native plants in the landscape. But which should you plant to benefit birds and wildlife yet keep your lovely landscape plans? My thoughts, (Sophie Zyla), since I like to cook and am always on the search for some new recipes is Let’s Eat Them! We will have some handouts available so just come and enjoy the day!
Date TBD – Work Party at Kellogg Environmental Center - Calling the gardeners, landscapers, naturalists, and those who just like to be involved with outside work! NVAS will be working with Osbornedale State Park in an invasive removal project and native plant bird friendly garden near the ponds across from Kellogg Environmental Center. As the weather begins to warm, check for dates and times on the NVAS website or Facebook page. We will have some handouts on the varieties of invasive plants that we will deal with and offer training as we go, so no experience necessary! There will also be handouts on native plants that benefit birds and wildlife available. Just bring a sense of humor and join us for some outdoor fun and exercise.
NVAS is working on scheduling other field trips and programs so check the website and Facebook page for updates on dates and times. Monthly programs have not been scheduled as of yet due to staff shortages. We need your assistance! Please let us know if you are interested in making a commitment to help the evening of the program and possibly assist with making some of the speaker arrangements and advertising. email: email@example.com
Projects in process and waiting for warmer weather are:
*No experience needed to volunteer and all ages are welcome so join in the fun!*
Fishing line recycle bins to be installed at Picketts Pond at Osbornedale State Park in Derby
Fishing line recycle bins at a couple of other locations depending on volunteer assistance for monitoring. Some options include: Indian Wells State Park in Shelton, Derby Dam in Derby, Pink House Cove, and Quillinan Reservoir in Ansonia
We could use your help in any or all areas of building, installing, and monitoring these bins. Once they are installed, monitoring at whatever day and time is convenient for you to de every 1-2 weeks during warm weather fishing season and once a month or so during winter seasons.
These bins are very important to the health and safety of our wildlife! All fishing line collected is sent in for recycling as monofilament may take up to 600 years to decompose. That is a very long time to cause extensive damage if it is left in the environment- see the Barn Swallow in a tangle.
Volunteer Positions Available on the Board of Directors
Please consider becoming a member of the Board of Directors at Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society. We Need You! We ask that you make a monthly board meeting and attend events as you can. This is a great opportunity to have a say in what directions the chapter goes and what projects we take on. There are many roles you can pick from depending on your schedule and how much time you have to offer. Presently we are looking for (No Experience Required as We Will Train You):
Hospitality Chair: Attends monthly programs, helps with setup and cleanup, and collects money at the door. Socialize with those in the audience, especially new members and guests. Attend other events and assist as your interests and time allow.
Assistant Program Chair: Research possibilities for guest speakers for monthly programs and options for other events as they arise. Contact speakers to confirm costs, program details, speaker bio, and make any other required arrangements. May write or assist with the promotional materials.
Assistant Treasurer: Assist with balancing the checkbook, tracking expenditures and allocated dollars, providing monthly statements to the board, deposit money into the account, and any other record keeping that may be required.
All - around Volunteers: To assist with programs, events, man event tables, design marketing, promotional, and educational materials, Young Naturalists Program assistants, invasive plant removals, landscape and native gardening, lead field trips and bird walks, monitor bird houses, construction of bird houses and fishing line bins, recruiting, mailings, photographer, journalist, researcher, and just about anything within reason that you may be interested in! Pick one or pick all! Send me (Sophie Zyla) a message firstname.lastname@example.org call me at 203-888-7945 and/or come to a board meeting (check for dates and times on the website or Facebook page).
Anyone interested in opportunities to help Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society is welcome to join us at our next board meeting, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday January 27, 6:30 PM at Derby Neck Library. Check our Facebook page for updates. (you do not need a Facebook account to see our page)
If anyone has an announcement, article or information they would like to see in upcoming newsletters, please e-mail us at email@example.com. If you would like to receive our monthly newsletter by email please contact us.