Upcoming Events

COA Annual Meeting (Schedule Here)
March 24, 2018
Registration Form

The Connecticut Ornithological Association’s 34th Annual Meeting is being held on
March 24, 2018 at Middlesex Community College, Middletown, CT.

Guest speakers include:

Scott Weidensaul
Of a Feather: A (Brief) History of American Birding

From the moment Europeans arrived in North America, they were awestruck by a continent awash with birds – great flocks of wild pigeons, woodlands alive with brilliantly colored songbirds. Join naturalist and author Scott Weidensaul as he traces the unpredictable history of bird study in America, from frontier ornithologists (one of whom barely escaped pursuing Apaches with a precious hawk egg hidden in his mouth) to society matrons who organized the first effective conservation movement; from luminaries like Alexander Wilson (a convicted libeler) and Audubon (an accomplished liar) to modern geniuses like Roger Tory Peterson.

Based on his book “Of a Feather,” this whirlwind history shows how ornithology and birding grew from eccentric hobbies into something so completely mainstream they’re now (almost) cool.

Scott Weidensaul is the author of more than two dozen books on natural history, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist “Living on the Wind,” about bird migration, “Return to Wild America,” and “The First Frontier.”  His latest book is “The Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean.”  Weidensaul is a contributing editor for Audubon magazine, a columnist for Bird Watcher’s Digest and writes for a variety of other publications.  He lives in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania, and is an active field researcher studying migration from Alaska to Maine, and focusing especially on owls and hummingbirds.


John Himmelman
Birds: Their Side of the Story…..

How did our best-known birds earn that distinction? What are some of the crazy things they make us do? Why are there so many pigeons in cities? How adept are crows – for real now, at using a screwdriver? What did Ben Franklin really think about Bald Eagles?

John Shares light-hearted stories of birds and bird watching – from cuisine to cartoons, ornaments to icons, murmurs to murders.  You’ll be given a whole new look at the avian friends we so admire (and some, not so much….)

John Himmelman is an author, illustrator, naturalist, and popular lecturer.  He is a co-founder of the CT Butterfly Association, past president of the New Haven Bird Club, past president of The Nature Connection and past president of the Killingworth Land Trust.  He has lectured and led many trips afield in search of various flora and fauna throughout the country for over 25 years.

Himmelman has written and illustrated many books for adults and children on a wide variety of natural history subjects.

Chris Elphick
Connecticut Bird Atlas

Field work for the new Connecticut Bird Atlas project begins in spring 2018 and will require the help of the state’s birders to make it a success.  The project aims to map the distributions and abundance patterns of all of Connecticut’s birds during both the breeding and non-breeding seasons, determine how bird occurrence has changed since the first atlas in the 1980’s, and inform conservation planning statewide. This presentation will provide a history of atlas projects, an overview of what the Connecticut study will achieve, and a description of how birders can get involved.

Chris Elphick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut.  His work focuses on the conservation ecology of birds, especially in wetlands, farmland, and forests.  He has been studying coastal marsh birds and their habitats since 2002 and is a lead investigator for the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program (SHARP).  He participated in his first bird atlas in his early teens, mostly surveying blocks no one else wanted to visit (and still finding good birds).  He has received Partners in Flight National Investigators’ Awards for contributions to bird conservation both as an individual and as a member of the SHARP team. His research has been published in journals such as the Auk, Biological Conservation, Condor, Conservation Biology, Journal of Applied Ecology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and ScienceBook length projects include the Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Nevada, and the Ecology and Conservation of Birds in Rice Fields: A Global Review.

Zepko Audubon Camp Scholarship 2018

The Connecticut Ornithological Association (COA) is pleased to announce that through the great generosity of one of our founding members, George W. Zepko ,  we now are offering one Zepko Audubon Camp  Scholarship in 2018 to nurture interest in bird study and conservation among young birders.  When George was a teenager, he received a scholarship to the Audubon Camp of Maine (now known as the Hog Island Audubon Camp), which started his life-long interest in birds and natural history.  He has made it possible for COA to offer a similar opportunity to new generations of birders and naturalists.

The 2018 scholarship will cover the full cost ($1,395.00) of the Coastal Maine Bird Studies for Teens program at National Audubon’s Hog Island camp during the week of June 17-22, 2018. The cost includes housing, boat travel, and all meals. The scholarship recipient will be responsible for the cost of transportation to and from the camp.

Applicants must be a Connecticut resident, ages 14-17, and must submit a written application and two letters of reference. Preference will be given to applicants with individual or family COA membership. To be considered a member, an applicant may join the club at the time of application.

Download the application by clicking here.

Completed applications and references must be received by the COA by January 31, 2018.


  • To qualify, one needs to have identified (seen or heard) a minimum of 90 species for the month within Connecticut.
  • All species seen/heard need to have been counted on public property, your own property, or private property with permission.
  • Report your species list in the same order as the http://www.ctbirding.org/birds-birding/checklist-of-the-birds-of-connecticut/ or the species order of eBird is also acceptable. Also, if possible, provide the date and location (town) for the first time each species was identified (optional, but encouraged).
  • For those that use eBird, it is quite easy to generate your January CT list to submit. Otherwise, please provide a database, or even a simple list.
  • Deadline for submission is Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at 11:59 pm. Send them to: johnmarshall47 AT gmail.com
  • A report on the results will be posted shortly thereafter on the CT birds list-serve, and in an article on the COA website
  • Digital photos you have taken, especially of rare species, are welcome. Credit will be given for any photos used in the summary report.
  • Since this event is based on the honor system, please make every effort to be honest and certain of your identification.

Please think about conservation when birding this year. Instead of “chasing” down rare birds across the state every weekend, perhaps you should see how many you can find in your own town or at a given sanctuary or two. You might just find a bird or two you never expected, a new patch to explore, and will feel better for helping the environment and your wallet.