Op-Ed: Celebrating Bristow Bird Sanctuary and Wildwood Preserve

My wife Joan and I have lived in this extraordinary town of New Canaan for 50 years. I am, like my father before me, a dedicated birder. I guess you could say I was born a birder, since my very earliest memory was my dad entering the bedroom I shared with my older brother, whispering in my ear at 5:15 a.m. on a lovely spring morning saying, “Come on Philly, wake up, the day’s a wasting, and you and I are going birding.” Off we would go, me perched high up on his shoulders, into the woods that surrounded our neighborhood. 

The instructions were always the same and quite simple—no whining, we are going to have fun today, no noise, just look and listen as I point out all the magnificent birds of the forest. All the songbirds and yes, their predators too, the hawks and owls and other birds of prey. He would suddenly stop—pull on my right leg and and whisper, “Listen up: that’s a Rose Breasted Grosbeak and over there is a Veery.” Then a pull on the left leg as he excitedly exclaimed, “Oh, there’s a Wood Thrush and look at that Pileated Woodpecker!”

From these earliest experiences you can see that I became hooked on birding.