One of Audubon's 26 Important Bird Areas in Connecticut, Lighthouse Point Park averages the largest numbers of migrating hawks northeast of Cape May, New Jersey. Some species such as Sharp-shinned Hawks and American Kestrels may reach into the tens of thousands.
The New Haven Migration Festival on Sunday, September 23rd gives people a chance to learn about these intrepid travelers and to see live birds, butterflies and dragonflies up close. This year's event will be better than ever with a raptors demonstration by Skyhunters in Flight. This family adventure is also a great opportunity to see the new bird and butterfly gardens.
"Birders have long known how amazing the spectacle of migration can be at Lighthouse Point Park," says Patrick Comins, Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Connecticut. "The Festival is a great opportunity to share this special place with everyone so they can see why this city park has been named one of Audubon's Important Bird Areas." Audubon Connecticut joins with the City of New Haven, the New Haven Bird Club, the Connecticut Butterfly Association, the Connecticut Ornithological Association, Northeast Hawk Watch, Menunkatuck Audubon, and the Connecticut Audubon Society to celebrate and enjoy one of Nature's Greatest Shows on Earth.
Activities from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM include:
- A falcons in flight demonstration by Brian Bradley of Skyhunters in Flight
- Butterfly and dragonfly identification, Monarch butterfly tagging demonstrations and children's activities led by the Connecticut Butterfly Association
- Bird walks led by the New Haven Bird Club
- A hawk and songbird flight ID workshop led by the Connecticut Ornithological Association
- Bird banding demonstrations by the Connecticut Audubon Society (see songbirds up close and personal)
- A live raptor show featuring Wind Over Wings
About the Lighthouse Point Park Important Bird Area:
Lighthouse Point Park is one of Audubon's Important Bird Areas because it is a major stopover destination for migrating raptors. In addition to huge numbers of Sharp-shinned Hawks and American Kestrels, you may see less common raptors such as Merlins, Peregrine Falcons, Northern Goshawks, and Bald Eagles, as well as a wide variety of migrating songbirds and shorebirds. Flocks of thousands of Blue Jays, Tree Swallows, and blackbirds are not uncommon. In addition, this is the only site in Connecticut where the rare Red-headed Woodpecker can be reliably seen. Not only is Lighthouse Point Park a premier birding hotspot, but it is also popular with butterfly and dragonfly enthusiasts. Wildflowers attractive to butterflies are now in abundance, which should result in an excellent turnout of butterflies
This event was enhanced by the generous support of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Long Island Sound Future's Fund, which allowed us to include supported the raptors demonstration by Skyhunters in Flight. The Long Island Sound Study and US Environmental Protection Agency's Long Island Sound Office are the primary sponsors of this Futures Fund Grant.