Clearing out my 2014 photos, take 8: Least Tern

Photo by Chris Bosak A Least Tern sits among the rocks at the beach at Connecticut Audubon's Coastal Center at Milford Point in spring 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Least Tern sits among the rocks at the beach at Connecticut Audubon’s Coastal Center at Milford Point in spring 2014.

Here’s my next photo in the series of 2014 photos that I never got around to looking at and posting.

As we are now stuck in this deep freeze here in New England, here’s a warm-weather shot for you. It’s a Least Tern on the beach at Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center at Milford Point. Last week I posted a Piping Plover that I saw during my volunteering to monitor plovers and terns on the Connecticut shoreline. Well, here’s the other half: the terns. The plovers come in much earlier in the spring than the terns. Least Terns are handsome birds with yellow bills, compared the red or orange bills of most terns. Least Terns, as their name suggests, are also smaller than most terns. They can also be quite aggressive on their nesting areas (who can blame them?) and they will continually dive-bomb intruders. Yes, that includes innocent shorebird monitors just trying to help them out.

Piping Plovers and Least Terns are threatened species in Connecticut.

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Audubon Connecticut’s winter bird forecast

Photo by Chris Bosak A Snowy Owl sits on a sign at The Coastal Center at Milford Point in early March 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Snowy Owl sits on a sign at The Coastal Center at Milford Point in early March 2014.

I wrote previously about my experiences with the Christmas Bird Count in which I saw three warbler species. A good start to winter birding, for sure. What else is in store for us this winter. More Snowy Owls perhaps? The folks at Audubon Connecticut have put together their predications.

They may be found here.

Are birds in our future? State of the Birds 2014 Report

Photo by Chris Bosak A Piping Plover preens at Milford Point in spring of 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Piping Plover preens at Milford Point in spring of 2014.

The State of the Birds 2014 report was released this week. It is a comprehensive look at how our bird populations are faring and how they might fare in the future. It’s fascinating stuff and a must read for anyone interested in birds and conservation.

Here’s my column on it, with input from Connecticut Audubon officials. 

Visit www.stateofthebirds.org for the full report.

For the Birds column: Greenberg to speak about Passenger Pigeon book at Yale

Contributed image Cover of Joel Greenberg's "A Feathered River Across the Sky."

Contributed image
Cover of Joel Greenberg’s “A Feathered River Across the Sky.”

Here’s an excerpt from my latest For the Birds column, which will be in print in The Hour tomorrow. Full story is available online now, click on link below.

….

Joel Greenberg says the story of the Passenger Pigeon is unique in three ways: the species’ sheer abundance; its vast flocks; and its rapid descent to extinction.

To expand on that a bit: The Passenger Pigeon likely numbered in the billions in the mid 1800s. Its flocks were so monumentally large that naturalist John James Audubon wrote that a single flock darkened the sun for three days. Finally, the species went from billions of individual birds to zero in matter of about 40 years.

Greenberg is the author of “A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction,” which was published in January by Bloomsbury USA. He is also working on an accompanying documentary entitled “From Billions to None.”

Species in peril today are protected by various laws and, for the most part, have the human race rooting for them to survive. That was not the case with the Passenger Pigeon.

“Hunters, instead of saying ‘let’s lay off a bit,’ took the other attitude,” Greenberg said. “They said ‘this bird is disappearing so I’m going to kill as many as I can before they are gone.’ There were a handful of individuals expressing concern, but not many.”

But, Greenberg points out, …

Click here for the rest of the column.

Snowy Owl contest launched by CT Audubon

Photo by Chris Bosak A Snowy Owl perches on a roof top at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Snowy Owl perches on a roof top at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

Here’s a copy/pasted press release about a fun contest from Connecticut Audubon.

Good luck!

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.

Now Connecticut Audubon Society is inviting birders to enter its Snowy Owl Observation Contest by sharing their experiences. First prize is  Continue reading