Important Bird Areas

Lighthouse Point Park

New Haven (New Haven County)

Status: Recognized IBA

Ownership: City of New Haven

Nominator: Ron Bell

Size: 84 Acres

Location: 41° 15’ N, 72° 53’ W

Secondary—Deciduous forest, marine, coastal dredging spoils field

Land Use:
Primary—Other recreation and tourism

Serious—Feral cats threat to migrating songbirds
Potential—Development of surrounding landscape could affect flyways

Site Description: The Park features a swimming beach and bath house, a boat launch ramp, a large lawn (200 yd. X 200 yd.), and shady picnic groves, all on about half of the total park area. The other half is equally divided between oak woods and a dredging spoils field that is part Phragmites and part a rich tangle of berry bearing bushes and vines. The woods and spoils area is designated as bird sanctuaries on some park maps, but it is believed that this is an unofficial designation.

IBA Criteria: 5000+ Raptors, Exceptional Concentrations of Migratory Landbirds. 

Birds: Counts of fall migrating raptors are, on average, higher than at any reporting site northeast of Cape May. Merlin counts are exceeded only by Fire Island. The count has been continuous since 1974. Thousands of Bobolinks, Cedar Waxwings, Blue Jays, American Robins, Tree Swallows, and icterids, and large numbers of many other species pass Lighthouse Point each fall. Great numbers stop for rest, protection, and foraging. 

Existing Conservation Measures: Managers balance use of the park to accommodate as many as possible activities without compromising safety or their governing plan. An annual hawk festival is held each year to raise awareness of this resource in the local community.

State-listed Species: 






Cooper’s Hawk, T



Sharp-shinned Hawk, E



Bald Eagle, E



Peregrine Falcon, E


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