Marvelwood is one of only a handful of schools in the nation to offer a year-long program in Ornithology, the scientific study of birds.  Through field study in the richly bird-populated areas surrounding the School and in New England, the program objectives are to increase students' knowledge of birds, highlight conservation issues facing birds and other animals in today's world, and to help students to become better citizen scientists.  Students may also participate in a yearly excursion to Panama to study neotropical birds and experience the rich bio-diversity of the region.

A Focus on Worldwide Conservation

Students practice conservation at home, wherever home may be, and work with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to help maintain and monitor one of the few inland colonies of purple martins, a threatened species in Connecticut. Opportunities exist for Marvelwood students to work closely with the Audubon Society in neighboring Sharon to care for birds in rehabilitation and/or their educational programs.

After Marvelwood

Many Marvelwood graduates continue to pursue ornithological studies in college and enjoy life-long birdwatching as a fascinating hobby as a result of their experience at Marvelwood. Sean Graesser '09 (below) with Science Department Chair Laurie Doss, is currently working for the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History and is a regular contribuor to their Facebook page. Sean shared his passion for ornithology in the American Birding Association's publication, Birding Magazine. Read his contribution here.


Under the guidance of the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP), Marvelwood operates three MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) bird banding stations on Kent Land Trust properties surrounding campus. Students learn bird banding here, and many return throughout the summer to assist with research. Over the past dozen years, Marvelwood has documented over 87 species of birds utilizing the land for breeding or during migration!

Marvelwood has established a bird banding station on the Cocobolo Nature Preserve in Central America to better monitor the wintering needs of neotropical migratory birds the region shares with New England, and to learn about neotropical resident birds.
Learn more about our exciting Panama Program.

Ornithology in Action