The DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail is open to the public and provides nearly four serene acres of shelter, food, water, and nesting sites. Walk a well-laid meandering trail, appreciate the bird-attracting beauty of native plantings, and enjoy the numerous features:
- rock, native plant and pollinator-friendly gardens
- rope bridge
- insect hotels
- pondless waterfall
- stump and log walks
- rock spiral
- bat boxes
- bird feeders
Our sanctuary is child-friendly and entirely fenced-in.
The DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail was officially opened to the public in the fall of 2014, after several years of extensive work by volunteers clearing invasives, establishing a walking trail, and planting native bushes and shrubs attractive to birds and butterflies. We are grateful for the generous grant support from The Darien Foundation.
Come and experience the DCA’s contribution to open space in Darien!
“Our class visit was a wonderful experience. The children were able to explore nature in a safe environment which fostered excitement and enthusiasm for the joy of learning. We will be back!”
— Adele Evershed, 3-year-old class teacher, Community Cooperative Nursery School, Rowayton
“Our 3-year-old class loved it! We crossed the bridge many times, looked high and low for bat boxes, and found a garden gnome. Thank you for a wonderful morning.”
— Teresa Cunningham, class teacher, United Church Nursery School, Rowayton
“The 4-year-old classes from Methodist Preschool enjoyed an amazing field trip at the DCA in April. The children were engaged, entertained and taught a lot by the amazing staff. We will be back next spring.”
— Sharon Warde, class teacher, Methodist Family Center Preschool, Darien
“Staff and students alike reported that this was such a great and enriching trip for our students. They had the opportunity to learn about nature, as well as explore and enjoy it!”
— Nehemie Moise, Family and Program Director/Social Worker, Horizons at New Canaan Country School
“An incredibly delightful day of natural exploration, environmental education and outdoor fun.”
—Elizabeth Hearle, Director, St. Luke’s Parish School
Enter the Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail
The DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail is on the DCA Meadowlands property, at 274 Middlesex Road in Darien, CT. The entrance gate is located on the right of the back parking lot. Please enjoy the space passively by closing gates and staying on the trail. In the interest of wildlife, dogs are not allowed. If you require a service dog, please contact the DCA office at 203-655-9050, extension 10.
Hours: open during daylight hours except for scheduled weekend events.
Groups: schedule group visits by calling the DCA at 203-655-9050, extension 10.
DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail History
In the spring of 2012, the DCA Board of Directors decided to revitalize a four acre section of DCA property to create a bird sanctuary for use by the public. Initiated by Darien Land Trust President Chris Filmer, Darien Beautification Commission member Sig Buchmayr, and DCA board member Cindy Ryan, the work effort was supported by a number of volunteers, businesses, and local organizations. An extensive planning period began in which conservation and birding experts were consulted, Audubon Connecticut was commissioned to perform a detailed habitat assessment and offer recommendations, and soil sample analyses were conducted. The hard work then began, as safety tree pruning was carried out, invasive plants were removed, trails were cut and laid, a deer fence was installed, and the first of many native shrubs were planted.
This project would not have been possible with the support of The Darien Foundation, who provided a grant for the deer fencing, native plants, and other features. Continued grant funding in 2018 has supported numerous enhancements to the sanctuary, including a water feature and additional trees.