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2022 Migration Madness: Hundreds of people enjoy a great weekend of birds

Pavana and Kalel Attonito birded together at Milford Point. Their 66 species made them the winners in the under 18 category.

2022 Migration Madness participants: 400 +
2022 Birdathon participants: 108
Species seen: 186
$$$ raised for bird conservation: $21,344

Scroll to see the prize winners and complete leaderboard for the 5th Annual Migration Madness Birdathon.

June 6, 2022 — Great weather, energetic and enthusiastic participants, and one truly amazing bird species added up to a great Migration Madness weekend.

One hundred and eight people participated in the weekend’s Birdathon, the fundraising centerpiece of the weekend celebration.

More than 100 people attended two bird migration presentations online. Almost 150 people went on bird walks led by Connecticut Audubon’s experts at our sanctuaries and elsewhere. Two hundred people enjoyed migration celebrations at the Center at Pomfret and at the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center in Old Lyme. And two dozen people entered the annual Birdathon Photo Contest (click here for the winners)..

2022 Birdathon Winners

Grand Prize: Isabella Rossi of New Haven, chosen in a random drawing – Tufted Puffin watercolor by artist Keith Mueller

Adult Birder Competitions

Most Species Seen all Weekend by an Individual

  • First Place: Frank Mantlik of Stratford, 145 species – Long Island Sound book package: A Field Guide to Long Island Sound, by Patrick J. Lynch, and This Fine Piece of Water: An Environmental History of Long Island Sound, by Tom Andersen
  • Second Place: Steve Mayo 125 species – American Oystercatcher photo, mounted under glass, by Patrick Comins

Most Money Raised by an Individual

  • First: Frank Mantlik, $3,050 – original watercolor by Mark Szantyr
  • Second: Kelly Siranko, $2,231 – Print by watercolorist David Stumpo

Most Money Raised by a First-Time Participant

  • First Prize: Jennifer Titrud, $425 – Oil painting by artist Del-Bouree Bach, of Mystic.
  • Second Prize: Robert Gerard, $300 – Autographed book, Birds in Winter, by Roger Pasquier

Most Species Seen by a Team

  • 123, Pomfret Parulas (Aaron Bourque and Joanne Bourque) — Prize: EcoTravel Swallow Spectacular Cruise on the Connecticut River

Young Birder Competitions

Most Species Seen by a Birder Under 18

  • Tie: Kalel and Pavana Attonito, of Darien, 66.

    Prize Guided canoe tour of the marsh at the Milford Point Coastal Center.

    $25 Gift Certificate to REI


But maybe the biggest splash was made by the dozens of Arctic Terns blown in from the Atlantic in time for the Birdathon. They spent at least a day on the state’s lakes and reservoirs, where they dipped into the waters in search of fish to fuel their interrupted journey north.

The unusual easterly winds that brought in the terns also kept some migratory species away — the total for the Birdathon was 186, about 20 fewer than last year. But for the handful of people who saw the Arctic Terns on May 13, it might have been a worthwhile tradeoff.

The places to be were Bantam Lake in Litchfield and the Saugatuck Reservoir in Weston. Nine Birdathon participants saw the Arctic Terns, including Frank Mantlik, Stefan Martin, and Steve Mayo, who finished first, second and third in the number of species seen for the weekend.

Liz and David Jaffin saw them as well.

“We were lucky with the Arctic Terns,” said Liz, who reported 97 species for the weekend. “We read about them late morning but both of us had to work and we didn’t get to Bantam Lake until around 5. We looked and didn’t see them initially and then someone else spotted them way on the either side of the lake.”

Those who saw the Arctic Terns were among the most experienced birders in the state. But the Birdathon is for all skill levels and all ages.

Justin McDonough accompanied his 11-year-old son, Gabriel, as they reported an impressive 51 species. Mekhala Attonito took her two children, Pavana, age 11, and Kalel, 9, to the Milford Point Coastal Center for their second Birdathon. They each saw 66 species.

“We made sure to carve out time to head out there this weekend as we knew that would bump our numbers up,” Mekhala said. “We also had a scope this year and, since we’re a little slower with identification, taking photos and zooming in at home with the bird guides helped too. I sure hope we got that Semipalmated Sandpiper right (our decision hinged on the color of the legs!).”

At the end of the weekend, Frank Mantlik, who in addition to seeing the most species (145) also raised the most money over the weekend ($3,050), emailed the many people around the state who supported him with donations and pledges.

“Milford Point and the Coastal Center are near and dear to my heart,” he wrote. “I had fun birding for a great cause, supporting all that Connecticut Audubon does for birds, conservation, environmental education, and sanctuary upkeep.”


Thank you to the Migration Madness Birdathon sponsors

  • The New Canaan Conservation Commission
  • The Aquarion Water Company
  • Oak Lawn Cemetery and Arboretum
  • O & G Industries
  • Webster Bank

A special thank you to artist Keith Mueller for donating as grand prizes two original watercolors he painted as part of a field guide illustration project.

Isabella Rossi won his Tufted Puffin painting in the random grand prize drawing. Robert Gerard won his Ancient Murrelet painting as a first-place prize in the Birdathon photo contest.

The drawing was open to any adult participants who saw at least 40 species and raised at least $40, and any young birders for saw 25 and raised $25.

The leaders (asterisks indicate Connecticut Audubon staff, who were not eligible for prizes). You can find individual bird lists on eBird:


ADULT BIRDERSNumber of Species ADULT BIRDERSNumber of Species ADULT BIRDERSNumber of Species ADULT BIRDERSNumber of Species
Frank Mantlik145 Clinton Standart92 Jim Arrigoni*59 Jennifer Hollstein28
Stefan Martin*141 Clara Stelzel91 David Gifford57 Aiden Klein28
Steve Mayo125 Jennifer Titrud75 Joyce Leiz*54 Silvia Goncalves27
Aaron Bourque123 Joanne Bourque75 Monique Nixon53 Kevin Kelley25
Joe Attwater*122 Derik Bowen73 Gabriel McDonough51 Jessica Paine22
Anne McNulty118 Michele Burnat73 Lorraine Plante51 Mary Casey22
Erin Bowen112 Robert Gerard69 Michael Gentry51 Sarah Middeleer22
John Cunninghamn108 Celeste Echlin66 Susan Schaller48 Alison Mead21
Kelly Siranko103 Kalel Attonito66 Joseph Nizzardo45 Renee Gregory Malo20
Patrick Comins*102 Pavana Attonito66 Isabella Rossi44 Kim Hoffman16
Liz Jaffin97 Michele Rybos64 Charlotte Stoeckle.
Louise Crocco
43 Michelle Stewart14
David Jaffin97 Steven Kessler62 Michele McDermott41 David Butt12
Imani Rodriguez95 Bob & Debbie Slack60 Erin Murphy-Durette33 Carolyn Doan4
Morgan Werner95 Tom Andersen*60 Stephanie Zoltewicz33   
Sharon Hirsch95 Amy Porter59 Daysie Kratz31   
Michael Aurelia93 Andy Rzeznikiewicz*59 Tai Pimputkar31   



YOUNG BIRDERSNumber of Species YOUNG BIRDERSNumber of Species
Kalel Attonito66 Gabriel McDonough51
Pavana Attonito66 Aiden Klein28







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