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2018 Is the "Year of the Bird"
2018 marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a critical piece of legislation that, since 1918, has helped protect millions, if not billions of birds. In honor of this milestone, National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and BirdLife International have joined forces with more than 100 other organizations and millions of people around the world to celebrate 2018 as the "Year of the Bird." This effort serves not only as a celebration, but it aims to increase public awareness on the importance of birds. Each month this year will feature a simple action we can all take to benefit birds across the world. World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD), an annual awareness-raising campaign, also  stresses the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. In 2018, WMBD will celebrate ways we can help protect birds through actions, stories, and art.

Our Nature. Our Nation. Our Future. 
The Alliance for America's Fish & Wildlife was created to bring about a fundamental change in how conservation is funded in order to protect and conserve our fish and wildlife for the benefit of our nation, our economy, and our way of life. Habitat loss, invasive species, and severe weather have all taken a severe toll on birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, and bees.  Unless our nation makes a change in the way we fund conservation, the number of species on the brink of extinction will grow significantly. The solution is passage of the bipartisan Recovering America's Wildlife Act (RAWA), legislation that will help wildlife at risk before they need the more costly and restrictive "emergency room" measures required by the Endangered Species Act. L earn more about the Alliance for America's Fish & Wildlife and how you can help at www.ournatureusa.com.

Participate in the Annual Turkey Brood Survey
The Wildlife Division will be conducting its annual Wild Turkey Brood Survey from June 1 to August 31, 2018. During this time, volunteers record all of the hens and poults (young turkeys) observed during normal travel. Each observation is categorized by total number of hens observed, total poults, and total number of hens with poults. Wild turkey brood surveys provide insight into annual productivity of the state's wild turkey population and help assess annual fluctuations in the turkey population. 

Donate to the Connecticut Endangered Species/Wildlife Income Tax Check-off Fund to protect wildlife and habitat.
Federal Duck Stamp Theme to Celebrate the Conservation Achievement of Waterfowl Hunters
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that the theme of the 2019-2020 Federal Duck Stamp will be "Celebrating our Waterfowl Hunting Heritage." This theme requires entrants in the 2018 Duck Stamp Contest to include one or more visual elements that reflect the contributions waterfowl hunters make to habitat conservation. Waterfowl hunters are among the nation's most passionate wildlife conservationists. Through their purchase of Federal Duck Stamps, which raise money to acquire and protect habitat on national wildlife refuges, hunters help provide access to public lands, enhance habitats for all wildlife, sustain robust populations of both hunted and non-hunted species, and provide communities with an economic stimulus.  

Hammonasset Beach State Park Live Osprey Cam
A solar-powered camera has been installed on an osprey platform just west of the Meigs Point Nature Center at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison and will be live-streaming the breeding and nesting activities of an osprey pair. The camera was made possible by author Ted Williams and a grant from the French Foundation, along with the cooperation of DEEP and the Meigs Point Nature Center.

Help Wildlife -- Recycle Discarded Fishing Line
Carelessly discarded fishing line can seriously harm or kill wildlife. Animals can become entangled in, or ingest, the line, which can cause starvation, strangulation, and deep wounding. Wildlife cannot usually survive the injuries they sustain from entanglement. To prevent these incidents, the DEEP, along with the Menunkatuck Audubon Society, has installed monofilament fishing line recycling receptacles at inland and coastal sites around the state to encourage less waste line in the environment.

Black bears are active and looking for food.  Take precautions  and find answers to frequently asked questions.
Give Nesting Bald Eagles Space
Bald eagles have been sitting on their nests since February and/or March, and eggs should be hatching soon. Even though the number of nesting ea gle pairs has been growing in Connecticut, it is still important that we give them space and avoid disturbing the birds during this critical time. Continuous human disturbance near the nest site can cause the adults to constantly fly to defend the nest, keeping them from tending the eggs or young. Getting too close to an eagle nest, either intentionally or accidentally, can cause an eagle nest to fail. Please respect areas that are posted or closed due to eagle nests, and give the eagles a chance to have a successful nesting season. You can help by  reporting observations of eagles and nest activity .

Reminder:  Visit us at the Northeast Fishing and Hunting Show April 6 - 8!
Spring Turkey Hunting Season Opens April 25
The 2018 Connecticut spring wild turkey hunting season runs from April 25 through May 26. Hunters are reminded that they need  a firearms hunting license or small game and deer archery permit and a Resident Game Bird Conservation Stamp. 

Spring Turkey Junior Hunter Training Days will be held on state and private land from Saturday, April 14 through Saturday, April 21 (excluding Sunday, April 15). On these days, licensed junior hunters (12 to 15 years of age) may hunt turkeys when accompanied by a licensed adult hunter 18 years of age or older. Training days provide junior hunters with an opportunity to learn safe and effective hunting practices from experienced hunters. 
The Glastonbury Public Shooting Range is open for free public use on Saturdays and Sundays from April 7, 2018 through November, 25, 2018. Reservations are highly recommended.

Information on range use and reservations . . .
See Live Birds of Prey with Friends of Sessions Woods
Photo taken by Sophie Zyla.
The 2018 Friends of Sessions Woods Annual Meeting will be on Sunday, April 29, beginning at 12:30 p.m. with the infamous Dessert Extravaganza Potluck. At 1:00 p.m., there will be a brief, 10-minute business meeting before the featured presentation. This year's program will be "Live Birds of Prey" presented by wildlife rehabilitators from A Place Called Hope, a facility dedicated to returning wild birds to the wild and teaching people how to protect and respect wildlife. Please pre-register for this program by calling 860-424-3011 or email laura.rogers-castro@ct.gov. This program is free. An adult must accompany children under 12 years old. No pets allowed!

Species of the Month: White-breasted Nuthatch
The white-breasted nuthatch is a small bird with a relatively large head and short tail. Its narrow bill is straight or slightly upturned. A frequent visitor to bird feeders, the white-breasted nuthatch is blue-grey in color with a white face and underparts. Nuthatches are known for their unique ability to travel down a standing tree head first. White-breasted nuthatches prefer mature deciduous forests where they feed on a variety of insects including beetles, caterpillars, and tree hoppers. 

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