Thea Digiammerino

Protect the Nest: DEEP Closes Key Areas for Bird Nesting Season

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has closed Charles Island in Milford and Duck Island in Westbrook to protect nesting birds in the areas, and is asking the public to respect other marked nesting areas at local beaches.

Both islands, which are designated Natural Area Preserves, will be closed through September 9. These areas are known as nesting areas for several state listed birds: snow egrets and great egret, glossy ibis and little blue herons.

The closures are meant to protect the birds from human disturbances. The areas will be marked with signs and fenced off.

Experts say when baby birds are agitated by disturbances, they can fall from the nest, and starve or get eaten.

DEEP is also asking beachgoers to keep an eye out for piping plover and least tern nesting sights at local beaches. There are yellow signs marking these areas. Both of these birds are state threatened species.

Unleashed dogs are a big threat to nesting areas, which is why dogs are not allowed on many beaches during the nesting season, including , Long Beach in Stratford, Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport, Silver Sands State Park and Milford Point in Milford, Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, Sandy Point in West Haven, Bluff Point Coastal Reserve in Groton, and Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison.

DEEP warns visitors not to remove or try to rescue young birds that appear lost. Often times the adult birds are nearby and will return for their young.

It is illegal to take wildlife for rehabilitation without the proper permits, DEEP said.

Any violations or disturbances affecting wildlife should be reported to the DEEP hotline at 1-800-842-HELP.

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