Winter 2018 Sunny Valley Birding Guide

Sunny Valley Preserve

Make no mistake, winter is not the offseason for birders in Connecticut. While many species migrate south for refuge from the cold, some brave souls stick around the nutmeg state. These species are as diverse as the landscapes you’ll find at Sunny Valley Preserve.

Red Tailed Hawk

An active hay field on this property shows the value of the protected lands at Sunny Valley; working lands, wildlife management and passive recreation for visitors all occur at Wewaka Brook. Look for red-tailed hawk perched on the edge of the field, looking for its next meal.

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglets feature a black eyebrow stripe and yellow crest. They’re tough to spot because they tend to spend a lot of time high up in foliage, but not impossible if you listen closely. On cold winter nights, the tiny but hearty birds sometimes will huddle up to keep warm.

Downy Woodpecker

A beaver dam can provide excellent habitat for local turtles. Downy woodpeckers will also feed on insects they find on live and dead trees here. This is one of many woodpecker species that can be observed at Sunny Valley. 

Dark-Eyed Junco

You’ll probably spot the dark-eyed junco foraging for seeds around the base of trees in a mixed coniferous forest. Often you’ll hear their short high-pitched chirps while traveling through cover. 

Northern Cardinal

Of course. The cardinal. Its iconic red color stands out against a snow white backdrop. Fun fact, these hearty birds don’t migrate, making them a common bird to spot on any hike.

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