This Connecticut treasure has wings
Then the bird, a native of Eurasia, flapped and hopped and danced over the grass in a courtship ritual that was all the more extraordinary because of where it took place: off a rambling country road a mile from the center of this northeastern Connecticut town.
The Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy 16 acres of beautifully landscaped aviaries and ponds is home to hundreds of birds from around the world, including many rare and endangered species. For years the conservancy, which was founded by famed ornithologist S. Dillon Ripley in the 1980s, shunned publicity, though visitors are now welcome on weekends.
Still, the bird sanctuary remains one of the secret treasures of Litchfield County, a place of picturesque villages and historic inns, saltbox houses dating to the 1700s, soaring white clapboard churches, and seemingly endless rivers, lakes and meadows carpeted with wildflowers.
Litchfield County is full of hidden gems. You just have to know where to look, says Dixie Delancy, who, with her brother Dan, sells hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches on the shores of Lake Waramaug in New Preston. The pair are a font of local knowledge and history and happily direct bikers, kayakers, fishermen and history buffs to the best spots.