DEEP: Citizen Science / Volunteer Opportunities - CT Wildlife Division

Wildlife Division
Citizen Science / Volunteer Opportunities

Many of Connecticut's wildlife conservation programs are dependent on the assistance of volunteers. Please browse the descriptions below and contact us if you would like more information on getting involved.

The CT Bird Atlas Project

{American Robin} The long-awaited second CT Bird Atlas Project started in April 2018. This monumental endeavor, that is a partnership of many conservation organizations, will catalog our breeding, migrating, and wintering bird assemblages. It will also provide the first real estimates of abundance for most of our breeding birds. All of this will enable the conservation community to do a better job of protecting critical habitat for birds into the future.
The Atlas Project is a huge undertaking, likely the most comprehensive wildlife inventory ever conducted in our state. The ultimate success of the Atlas will rely upon considerable help from the birders of Connecticut. Please visit to learn how you can help with this very important project.

Bald Eagle Citizen Science Projects 

{Bald eagle}  The DEEP Wildlife Division monitors nesting bald eagles in Connecticut. Almost all information about new nests and the status of existing nests comes from volunteers. This information is critical to allow the Wildlife Division to protect individual nests and Connecticut’s bald eagle population.
The Division also participates in an annual Midwinter Eagle Survey in early January and relies on volunteers to survey certain waterbodies and rivers to document the presence of wintering eagles.
How do I participate?
Please visit our Bald Eagles in Connecticut webpage to find out what you need to know about Connecticut's bald eagle nesting season and the Midwinter Eagle Survey.

Bobcat Research Project

{Bobcat} The Wildlife Division is currently conducting an ongoing bobcat population survey to determine habitat use for bobcats within Connecticut. Data collected from this project will be used to determine the abundance and distribution of bobcats in the state.
This is a great way to partner with the Wildlife Division to help monitor the state's bobcat population!
What's Involved?
Citizen scientists are asked to report bobcat observations. Eligible reports can be live sightings, roadkilled or deceased bobcats, or signs and tracks of bobcats. When reporting an observation, please provide a date of when the sighting took place, town, number of individuals observed, and whether any individuals had ear tags or a collar.
How to Report Observations:
Observations can be recorded at; by sending an email to; or posting a message or photo on the Connecticut Fish and Wildlife Facebook page.
Important Note: When recording on, make sure to click the map where the sighting occurred.
For More Information:

Wild Turkey Brood Survey

The Wildlife Division conducts the annual Wild Turkey Brood Survey to estimate the average number of turkey poults (young-of-the-year) per hen statewide and to assess annual fluctuations in the turkey population. This index allows the Division to gauge annual reproductive success and to evaluate recruitment of new birds into the fall population. Weather, predation, and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival, and poult survival.
What's Involved?
From June 1 to August 31, volunteers and Department staff record all of the hens and poults observed during normal travel. Each observation is categorized by total number of hens observed, total poults, and total number of hens with poults. Observations of male (tom) turkeys are not requested for this survey. (See photos below to help with identification.)
To participate, report sightings on iNaturalist or download a Wild Turkey Observation Form (PDF) to record your observations (instructions are found on the data sheet). This is a great way to partner with the Wildlife Division to help monitor the state's wild turkey population.
Who to Contact:
Completed Observation Forms should be returned after August 31 to: Michael Gregonis, DEEP Wildlife Division, Franklin WMA, 391 Route 32, North Franklin, CT 06254 (860-418-5957) or
{Wild Turkey Poult}
Young turkey polts are difficult to see in the tall grass and vegetation. Please provide an accurate poult and hen count when participating in the survey.
{Wild turkey hens and poults}
Hen turkeys are buff-colored with feathering to the top of the head.
{Tom turkey}
Toms are large, with black iridescent coloring in the feathers and a red, white, and blue-colored head.
For More Information:
To learn more about the Wild Turkey Brood Survey, read the following article from the Wildlife Division's bimonthly magazine, Connecticut Wildlife.

Master Wildlife Conservationist Program

{Master Wildlife Conservationist emblem} The Master Wildlife Conservationist Program (MWCP) is an adult education program based in Burlington, Connecticut, that trains participants in the fields of wildlife management, natural history and interpretation. The purpose of the program is to develop a volunteer corps capable of providing education, outreach, and service for state agencies, environmental organizations, libraries, schools, and the general public.
What’s Involved?
Participants receive 40 hours of intensive classroom and field training and have one year, following completion of the training, to provide 40 hours of volunteer service. To maintain certification in the program, a minimum of 8 hours of advanced training and 20 hours of volunteer service each year must be completed.
How Can You Get Involved?
The MWCP is a very popular program. Only 20 people are chosen to participate each year. Classes are usually held each spring. The next program series will be held in spring 2021. Application packets will be available in January 2021. To request an application packet or for more information about the program, contact: Laura Rogers-Castro, DEEP Wildlife Division, Sessions Woods WMA, PO Box 1550, Burlington, CT 06013; 860-424-3011;

{image of a purple martin}

Purple Martin Colony Monitoring

Sightings of banded purple martins WANTED! You can help by keeping an eye out for banded purple martins starting in spring and reporting them to the Wildlife Division. Are you a purple martin landlord with a colony on your property? Learn more about this species of special concern and how to get involved.

{Chimney Swift}

Chimney Swift Watch

Chimney Swift Watch is a regional initiative to more thoroughly assess the chimney swift population in Connecticut.

What’s Involved?
Volunteers are needed to monitor chimney swift roosting and nesting chimneys located throughout the state. The Wildlife Division also is requesting reports from property owners who have chimney swifts in their chimneys. (Learn more)

The Chimney Swift Watch webpage also provides general information about chimney swifts and a curriculum program developed for students in grades 1-2, as well as a Chimney Swift Ambassador program for high school students.

Content last updated on September 10, 2019.