Birds of Connecticut

This weekend is the annual Connecticut Audubon Society Eagle Festival in Essex, Connecticut. Free activities are offered throughout the weekend. Viewing scopes are set up along the town dock for use by the public. There is also a program featuring birds of prey on Saturday and again on Sunday. Have some money to spend? One popular acitivity is the boat tour. You and your family, for a handsome fee, can spend a few hours on the river spotting the eagles perched in tree tops or soaring overhead. Binoculars are provided and the boat, thankfully, is heated. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are also available for purchase on the tour.

If you don't mind breaking the law you might consider visitng the local cemetery. Located on South Cove, this is a great spot from which to view mature and immature Bald Eagles. And while the cemetery board of directors has decided to close the gates for the weekend, which is disappointing to us local dog walkers, a simple hop can land you over the low stone wall.

Bald Eagle Facts

The bald eagle measures 3 to 3½ feet in length (from head to tail) and weighs 8 to 14 pounds. It has a wingspan of 6½ to 8 feet allowing it to glide effortlessly at altitudes of 1,000 feet. A mature bald eagle is dark brown with a white head and tail. Its eyes and beak are bright yellow. The feet of a bald eagle have talons especially designed for catching prey. It has telescopic vision that is eight times greater than ours.

The DDT Story

DDT, or Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane, was largely responsible for the decimation of various bird populations, including the bald eagles. DDT had the effect of thinning egg shells so that they became very fragile. Adult eagles would sit on the eggs and crack or crush them. Rachel Carson alerted the world to the dangers of DDT in her seminal work, "Silent Spring."

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, searchFor other uses, see DDT (disambiguation).
Chemical structure of DDT
Chemical structure of DDT

external image 200px-DDT-3D-balls.png
external image 200px-DDT-3D-vdW.png
IUPAC name

CAS number
Molecular formula
Molar mass
354.49 g/mol
0.99 g/cm³ [1]
Melting point
109 °C [1]
Boiling point
decomp. [1]
EU classification
Main hazards
T, N
R25 R40 R48/25 R50/53
(S1/2) S22 S36/37 S45 S60 S61
113 mg/kg (rat)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their
standard state(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

DDT (from its trivial name, Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane) is one of the best known synthetic pesticides. It is a chemical with a long, unique, and controversial history.
First synthesized in 1874, DDT's insecticidal properties were not discovered until 1939. In the second half of World War II, it was used with great effect among both military and civilian populations to control mosquitoes spreading malaria and lice transmitting typhus, resulting in dramatic reductions in the incidence of both diseases. The Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Müller of Geigy Pharmaceutical was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1948 "for his discovery of the high efficiency of DDT as a contact poison against several arthropods."[2] After the war, DDT was made available for use as an agricultural insecticide, and soon its production and use skyrocketed.[3]
In 1962, Silent Spring by American biologist Rachel Carson was published. The book catalogued the environmental impacts of the indiscriminate spraying of DDT in the US and questioned the logic of releasing large amounts of chemicals into the environment without fully understanding their effects on ecology or human health. The book suggested that DDT and other pesticides may cause cancer and that their agricultural use was a threat to wildlife, particularly birds. Its publication was one of the signature events in the birth of the environmental movement. Silent Spring resulted in a large public outcry that eventually led to most uses of DDT being banned in the US in 1972.[4] DDT was subsequently banned for agricultural use worldwide under the Stockholm Convention, but its limited use in disease vector control continues to this day in certain parts of the world and remains controversial.[5]
Along with the passage of the Endangered Species Act, the US ban on DDT is cited by scientists as a major factor in the comeback of the bald eagle in the contiguous US.[6]

The molecular structure of DDT is shown below.
Chemical structure of DDT
Chemical structure of DDT
external image 200px-DDT-3D-balls.png
external image 200px-DDT-3D-vdW.png


My favorite birds in Connecticut are Hawks. There is a long story behind this selection, however, to save writing time and space, lets just say that I believe Hawks protect me.

About Hawks
  • The term "hawk" is used to describe the entire group of diurnal (active by day) predatory birds also known as birds of prey or raptors.
  • Worldwide there are approximately 270 species of these carnivorous birds. In Connecticut there are about 16 hawk species that regularly migrate to the state.
  • Basic similarities between all hawk species include keen eyesight (considered the best in the animal world - about eight times the visual acuity of humans), excellent hearing, hooked beaks and taloned feet. They are swift fliers with some hawks reaching 150 mph when diving for prey.
  • Size varies from the American kestrel weighing only 4 ounces to Bald Eagle that can weigh up to 13 pounds or more.
  • Most hawks pair for life but if a partner dies, a new mate is quickly found.
  • Strong allegiance to the breeding site, returning to the same nesting territory and the same mate each year.
  • Large hawks lay only one or two eggs each year and achieve maturity in around 11 weeks.
  • Small hawks lay from three to five eggs and grow to full size in one month.
  • All hawks are protect by state and federal laws. It is illegal to capture or kill hawks.
(Information obtained from "Hawk Facts" published by The Raptor Trust)