The birds are in at Allen’s Meadow

Traffic through Wilton is increasing every day. Not on the ground. In the air as birds migrate to and through town from their winter ranges in Mexico, the Antilles and northern sections of South America.

Wilton birder Joe Bear will lead a group walk through Allen’s Meadow on Sunday, April 24, from 10 to noon, to see and hear these migrants. The walk is presented by the Wilton Conservation Commission, Wilton Garden Club and the Norwalk River Watershed Association. Allen’s Meadow is on Danbury Road, just north of Wilton High School.

Bear, who leads birding trips with the Connecticut Audubon Society, has been actively birding for more than 25 years, with a list exceeding 2,100 species from around the world.

What might participants see? “First and foremost, this time of year is spring migration,” Bear said. “Anywhere you go you’re looking for early migrants.

“This is just an exciting time. The birds are in in breeding plumage, they are singing to attract mates. It’s fun because it’s auditory and the birds look really nice.”

Allen’s Meadow is attractive to migrating birds because it is a mixed habitat — a large open space surrounded by a ridgeline on the river, shrubs and trees. During migration birds are often on the edges, more easily spotted than when they are nesting.

“Some are staying, most are migrating through,” Bear said. “They are resting and feeding heavily to build up their fat reserves. Some will have flown several hundred miles before their last stop.”

Birds that pass through include meadowlarks, Savannah sparrows, and brown thrashers among others.

Swallows would include barn swallows, tree swallows and purple martins. “Warblers are a really colorful, vocal family, yellow warblers might be in. The blue-gray gnatcatcher is already in, the ruby-throated hummingbird is in. The harbingers of spring have arrived. More and more are arriving.”

Although he has gone birding in more exotic locales, Bear said “Allen’s Meadow has been my local patch since moving to Wilton in 2001.”

Binoculars are recommended and participants should consider long pants and light-colored, long-sleeve shirts. As interaction with wildlife will play a large part of this walk, dogs, even on leash, are not allowed.

Refreshments will be served following the walk during which time Bear will be available to answer any questions, and members of the hosting organizations will also be present to provide information about other upcoming events. Pre-registration is recommended at Should there be inclement weather, those who pre-register will be contacted.