Journeys with Jim: Spring means it's time to start bird watching

Published on Wednesday, 21 March 2018 16:46


Spring officially began on March 20 but the weather is pretty far from spring like so far. Windy and cold conditions seem to be on the daily menu along with our weekly nor’easters. Hopefully the weather will improve sometime soon as I’m sure everybody has had enough of winter already.

No matter what the calendar may say, I know it isn’t really springtime until my winter birds, namely the little juncos, finally leave the backyard for their nesting grounds deep in the forests. Once they are gone, I won’t see them again until next October. This past season, they arrived a day or two before Halloween which is about their normal schedule, give or take a week.

For anyone interested in learning about birds or bird watching, I would recommend contacting the Connecticut Audubon Society. The society has a long and rich history having been founded in Fairfield in 1898. Beginning with a small 10 acre parcel which was donated to the society in 1914, the society currently has several hundred acres of land across the state, designated as educational centers and wildlife sanctuaries.

One of the wildlife sanctuaries is the Richard Croft Memorial Preserve, which is located in Goshen, encompasses 700 acres of fairly wild and rugged country. There are trails on the property, but they are not maintained which also adds to the wildness of the area. Exploring this property would be more suited to the seasoned outdoors person.

If walking on the wild side isn’t your style, then maybe a visit to the Audubon Center in Glastonbury would be more suitable. The center offers a wild range of activities for people of all ages. For example, the center will be conducting a bird walk for beginners program this Saturday, March 24 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. To register for any programs or to simply find out more about the society, contact them at

As we slowly creep towards the spring season, it is the time of year when many species of birds migrate through New England heading to nesting grounds farther north. It’s an especially exciting time of year to observe birds that we wouldn’t ordinarily see at any other time. One doesn’t need any fancy equipment to be a bird watcher. An inexpensive pair of binoculars and maybe a book to identify the different species would work just fine. For those with mobility issues, a comfortable chair near the window is a wonderful place to see those who I call, “the guardians of the sky.”

Springtime is also the time when many baby animals are born. Deer, raccoons, foxes and of course baby birds. If you encounter any baby animals while enjoying the outdoor world, please remember the mother isn’t far away. It is indeed rare that any baby animal is lost or abandoned. When we think that we are helping, we actually are doing more harm. It’s better to leave the baby animal where you’ve found it.

In my last column, I inaccurately gave out the wrong number to report wildlife violations. The correct numbers are: DEEP Emergency Dispatch (860) 424-3333 or 1-800-842-4357.

Posted in The Bristol Press, General Sports on Wednesday, 21 March 2018 16:46. Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2018 16:48.