Birding in Connecticut Last Updated: July 2023
Meet our #CTcreator Chandler Anderson! CTvisit.com is proud to partner with some of the region's most popular content creators for ideas, insights, and inspiration from the people who are lucky enough to call Connecticut home, like photographer Chandler Anderson, who wrote this article. Article has been updated by the Connecticut Office of Tourism.
Looking to try something new? Then birding might be just what you’re looking for. It’s a fun activity for all ages to enjoy and learn about all different kinds of bird species and the habitats they live in. If you’re looking to get started or want new ideas on where to birdwatch then keep reading. I’ll detail out my top five Central Connecticut birding locations. Plus, I’ll share my favorite bird sightings at each location, tips to see birds, and birding etiquette.
Windsor Locks Canal Trail
The Canal is an 8-mile paved trail along the Connecticut River. The abundance of birds at this spot is unbelievable. The park's habitat creates is a hotspot for migrant birds year-round. Before you plan your visit be sure to remember that this trail is closed to the public from November 14 through April 1.
Tip: keep your eyes focused along the trees on the Connecticut River for perched eagles.
Favorites: bald eagle, osprey, screech owl, green heron, oriole, pilleted wood pecker, warblers.
Westmoor Park is a 162-acre park that is well known for its beautiful gardens, barnyard animals, and agriculture education center. The park also has woodland trails and wildflower meadows which provide the perfect habitat to observe and discover an assortment of birds. Throughout the park, you’ll see why birds make this place home.
Tip: arrive early to beat the crowds as the parking lot—it fills up quickly for the farm animals.
Favorites: yellow bellied sap suck, wood thrush, barn swallow, great blue heron, hummingbirds, tons of warblers.
Cedar Hill Cemetery
This famous 270-acre cemetery is an absolute gem for birding. The different habitats here create a hotspot for migration birds, especially warblers in the spring time. This place is huge; to help designate a location to explore, I would tell you to stay focused around the pond near the entrance.
Tip: at the pond, birds love to hide in the tall grasses.
Favorites: great horned owl, wood duck, magnolia warbler, black and white warbler, yellow warbler.
This historic inlet is a popular location for fishing and provides easy access to the Connecticut River. There's no designated trail here—it’s more of a sit back and relax location. Personally, I find that the two best seasons to birdwatch here are the summer and winter months. During the summer, you’ll have the opportunity to watch osprey hunt the cove for fish; it’s truly a wild thing to see. During the winter, bald eagles thrive off the cove for food. There’s nothing better than relaxing in your warm car on a cold day and watching bald eagles hunt and soar the sky.
Tip: always scan the tree across the inlet — bald eagles love to perch on the trees over there.
Favorites: osprey, bald eagles.
Major Michael Donnelly Land Preserve
A town favorite, Donnelly Land Preserve provides the perfect family hike. The trails don’t stretch too long; you could do the main loop in about 45 minutes. There are also many spots to birdwatch here. Personally, I think some of the best spots here to see birds would be either be the wooded trail or the observation deck.
Tip: less foot traffic in the back of the trails which creates more opportunity for bird sightings.
Favorites: scarlet tanager, barred owl, great blue heron, indigo bunting, common warbler.
General Birding Tips
- Do your best to stay as quiet as possible
- Use spotting scope, binoculars, or a camera to get a closer look at the bird
- Best time to bird is usually Dawn or Dusk
- Use https://ebird.org/home or books to help identify birds
General Birding Etiquette
- Don’t do anything to scare or make the bird fly ( respect where they nest )
- Keep pets at home
- Respect private property & restricted areas