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2021 Birdathon Photo Contest Winners

May 26, 2021 — In the era of digital cameras, it’s not merely the sighting and identification of the bird that’s of prime importance to many bird enthusiasts, but the photographic image as well.

That was borne out in the high quality of the nearly 100 photographs entered in the 2021 Migration Madness Birdathon Photo Contest.

To be eligible, photographers had to register for the Birdathon, take their photos during the Birdathon weekend (May 14-16), and submit original unaltered images.

The photos were sent without identifying who took them to photographer Mary Grace Leone, a West Haven resident who served as this year’s judge. Connecticut Audubon staff members and their families were not eligible.

We start with first place in the Overall and Young Birder categories, and then move to second place and third places in the Overall category.

Each winning image is accompanied by Mary Grace Leone’s thoughts on the photo.

Congratulations to the winners, and sincere thanks to Mary Grace Leone!

First Place — Tomas Koeck of Fairfield.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Photographed on Saturday, May 15, in a roadside meadow in Easton.
“This image is outstanding both technically and artistically. Hummingbirds can be quite challenging to photograph, and this photographer did an incredible job capturing this pose. This is a nice sharp shot with good detail, and the exposure is spot on.”
Prize: a print by artist, author and Connecticut Audubon Board member Patrick Lynch.


First Place, Young Birder — Kalel Attonito, 8 years old, Darien.
Great Egret. Photographed on Saturday, May 15, at Weed Beach, Darien.
“This image nicely depicts the Great Egret in its natural environment. The photographer did a good job with composition and exposure. “
Prize: $25 Gift Certificate to REI.


Second Place, Overall — Kelly Siranko, of Danbury.
American Robin. Photographed on Friday, May 14, at Tarryville Park, Danbury.
“Well composed and seen, this iconic image of our state bird provides a wonderful “sense of place.” The appeal of this image is that the photographer features not only the subject but also the habitat. This is a sharp image with pleasing tones. “
Prize: Print by artist Mark Szantyr


Third Place, Overall — Michael Audette, Thomaston.
Migration Madness Birders. Photogaphed at Deer Pond Farm on Sunday, May 16.
“The Migration Madness Birdathon is a great event that encourages participants to get outdoors and explore nature. This photograph beautifully represents the spirit of the event. The synchronized position of the birders and the strong composition by the photographer help make this image a stand out. “
Prize: Autographed copy of The Evolution of Beauty, by Yale ornithologist Richard Prum

Thank you to all the 2021 Birdathon photographers!

And a special thanks to this year’s photo contest judge Mary Grace Leone, of West Haven, who has been taking photographs since she was a teenager. She writes, “Although I am a multi-genre photog, I have loved wildlife since childhood and so I have thoroughly enjoyed photographing it for years. I am an award winning photographer and my work has been published in and on the cover of several magazines.” You can see her work on Instagram: @marygraceleone.

“2021 Migration Madness Birdathon in Review: Exhaustion, Elation, Satisfaction — All in All, a Great Weekend”

Take a look back at previous Migration Madness Photo Contests:

Click here for 2019

Click here for 2020







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