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2022 Birdathon Photo Contest winners

June 2, 2022 — One thing is clear: the judges of the Migration Madness Birdathon Photo Contests admire a good hummingbird photograph.

For the second year in a row, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird is our first-place winner in the adult birder category; in 2020, a hummingbird photo won third-place.

This year’s winning photo was taken by Robert Gerard, of Madison, on Friday, May 13, at the Stewart B. McKinney National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Westbrook.

“I was walking on a trail through a brushy area and the hummingbird flew out in front of me, then quickly zipped away,” he said. “Later as I returned to the area the hummingbird appeared again and perched for about 20 seconds on a branch and I was able to capture this photo.”

First place in the Young Birder category goes to 11-year-old Pavana Attonito of Darien, for her shot of a Piping Plover at Milford Point.

Her mother, Mekhala Attonito, told us: “Pavana is especially excited that her Piping Plover won because she has been volunteering with me at Milford Point once a month to monitor the beach nesting birds, and has really loved watching these birds. She took a lot of photographs of them that day (from afar of course)! Last year I had to teach her how to work the camera, but this year she just took off with it on her own for a couple hours, which was really nice to see.”

To be eligible, photographers had to register for the Birdathon, take their photos during the Birdathon weekend (May 13-15), and submit original unaltered images.

More than 100 photos were entered in the contest. We sent them without identifying who took them to photographer Jackson Hallberg, a Mystic native who served as this year’s judge. Connecticut Audubon staff members and their families were not eligible.

Here are the winners. Each image is accompanied by Jackson Hallberg’s thoughts on the photo.

Congratulations to the winners! And our sincere thank you to all the 2022 Migration Madness Birdathon participants.

First Place, Adult Birder — Robert Gerard, of Madison.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Photographed on Friday, May 13, in Westbrook.
Photo Contest Judge Jackson Hallberg: “This photograph of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a beautiful composition. Still for a rare moment, the hummingbird meets the camera’s gaze and echoes the shape of the foliage behind it. The ruby feathers combined with the red branches create a golden-hour moment that feels truly majestic.”
Prize: Ancient Murrelet watercolor by artist Keith Mueller, created for a field guide he is working on..


First Place, Young Birder — Pavana Attonito, 11 years old, Darien.
Piping Plover. Photographed on Saturday, May 14, at Milford Point.
Photo Contest Judge Jackson Hallberg: “This photograph of a Piping Plover is an excellent environmental portrait. The deep blue of Long Island Sound contrasting against the mix of sand, shells, and sticks, creates a beautiful depiction of this special bird’s natural habitat. “
Prize: $25 Gift Certificate to REI.


Second Place, Adult Birder — Liz Jaffin, of Southbury.
Chipping Sparrow. Photographed on Saturday, May 14, in Southbury.
Photo Contest Judge Jackson Hallberg: “This unique photograph of a sparrow gathering material for their nest is exposed with technical proficiency. The sparrow is beautifully balanced in the frame and the shallow depth of field highlights the sharp focus on every detail. “
Prize: Harlequin Duck. Framed print by Patrick J. Lynch, author and illustrator of A Field Guide to Long Island Sound.


Third Place, Adult Birder — Tomas Koeck, of Fairfield.
Baltimore Oriole.
Photo Contest Judge Jackson Hallberg: “Perched directly in the center of the frame, this Baltimore Oriole is photographed with sharp detail. The vivid orange, soft lighting and excellent exposure makes for a striking photograph.”
Prize: Autographed copy of The Evolution of Beauty, by Yale ornithologist Richard Prum

Special thanks to this year’s photo contest judge Jackson Hallberg, a photographer and designer based in New York and Los Angeles. Raised in Mystic, Connecticut, Jackson is a photography graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (2015), where he received the Harry Koorejian Memorial Scholarship and was curated into the Senior New Contemporaries exhibition. His installations have been shown in New York, Paris, and Los Angeles. For the past two years, he has been researching and photographing the population of white-tailed deer on Fire Island, New York, as part of an ongoing project.

Take a look back at previous Migration Madness Photo Contests:

Click here for 2019

Click here for 2020

Click here for 2021






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