Connecticut Audbon Society

Migration Magic 2024: A month of birding leads to great success for Connecticut’s birds. Announcing the Birdathon winners!

The four staffers who did a Big Day in mid-month found time for a selfie while on the road. From left, Stefan Martin, Deb Eccleston and Joe Attwater, with Matt Bell in back. They saw 159 species and raised $7,500!

June 10, 2024—With almost 900 people participating and contributing $31,691 toward bird conservation in Connecticut, Migration Magic 2024 was a rousing success.

The month of May was filled with 50 bird walks and other programs, highlighted by the 2024 Birdathon, which itself was highlighted by the first Big Day that Connecticut Audubon has organized.

Sixty Birdathon participants saw 239 species over the course of the month. During the Big Day alone, four Connecticut Audubon staffers saw 159 species as they traversed the state on May 13 from 4 a.m. til 8 p.m.

This year’s grand prize winner is 13-year-old Pavana Attonito of Darien. Pavana was chosen in a random drawing of all the Birdathon participants who saw at least 50 species and raised at least $50.

Congratulations, Pavana!

2023 Birdathon Winners

Grand Prize: Pavana Attonito of Darien, chosen in a random drawing of all qualifying Birdathon participants. The Grand Prize is a framed pastel, with 12K gold leaf, of a female American Goldfinch, by artist Anne McGrory.

Most species seen by an individual

First Place, 181 species, by Frank Mantlik of Stratford. Prize: “Icy Reflections—Pintails,” a print of the 1991 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, by Daniel Smith.

Second place: 172 species, by Linda Olsen of Stratford. Prize: “Winter Blue Jay,” a limited edition print from 1999, signed by the artist, Shirley Germain.

Most money raised by a Birdathon participant

Kelly Siranko of Danbury, $2945. Prize: 2 tickets to Infinity Hall, Hartford, and a night’s stay for 2 at the Interlaken Lakeside Resort in Lakeville.

Most Species Seen by a Birder Under 18

62, by Olivia Vignola of Glastonbury. Prize: “Autumn Wings,” a print of the 1988 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, by Maynard Reece.


First place in the “most money raised” category goes to Kelly Siranko, of Danbury. Kelly raised $2,945! This was Kelly’s fourth Birdathon, and over that span she has raised more than $7,000 for bird conservation in Connecticut! Thank you, Kelly, for your dedication to Connecticut birds!

Matt Bell saw the most species overall during the Birdathon—190. Matt’s Big Day companions, Deb Eccleston, Joe Attwater, and Stefan Martin, each saw between 175 and 178 species. But are all Connecticut Audubon staffers and therefore not eligible for Birdathon prizes.

So the winners in the “most species seen” categories are Frank Mantlik, a Stratford resident, whose 181 species took first place among adult birders; and 12-year-old Olivia Vignola of Glastonbury, whose 62 species took first place in the Young Birder category.

Linda Olsen of Stratford saw 172 species to take second place in the adult birder category.

Congratulations and thank you, Frank, Olivia and Linda!

[You can see all the prizes on this page.

The Birdathon Photo Contest winners are here.]

Frank, a member of the regional board of Connecticut Audubon’s Milford Point Coastal Center, is an accomplished birder who has been observing the state’s avian life for more than five decades. He won the “most species” category in 2022 and 2023 as well.

Linda Olsen has also been birding for a while but has recently upped her game.

“It was amazing participating in Migration Magic,” she said. “I had so much fun—studied a lot of bird calls and I have improved my identification ability on several warblers and flycatchers.

“I have met and been taught by some of the most amazing people. All so knowledgeable, kind and sharing human beings. To name a few—Frank Mantlik, Tom Murray, Patrick Comins, Stefan Martin and Tina Green when she had a minute to spare lol…This event will forever be an annual event for me. 

“Birding has changed my life in so many positive ways. I thank you for the opportunity you afforded me to participate and for all the wonderful habitats you maintain for our little feathered friends. You all at Connecticut Audubon do amazing work.”

Linda is right about everything except that all the thanks go back to her, and to all the others who participated and donated.

Migration Magic 2024 was a great event. We plan to announce the Birdathon Photo Contest winners later this week. Below is a list of everyone who submitted checklists during the Birdathon. Names marked with an asterisk* are Connecticut Audubon staff; names with two asterisks** are Young Birders.

Thank you all! 

BIRDERNumber of Species
Matthew Bell*190
Frank Mantlik181
Deb Eccleston*178
Joe Attwater*175
Stefan Martin*175
Linda Olsen172
Cody Limber165
Chris Wood155
Aaron Bourque145
Christine Connolly136
George Amato134
Sharon Hirsch131
Kelly Siranko125
Andy Rzeznikiewicz*121
Jennifer Titrud113
BIRDERNumber of Species
Madeline Weinstein108
Kelly Meineke106
Beverly Propen106
Tom Andersen*106
Joanne Bourque100
Stacey Essaid95
David Jaffin95
Jane Jacobson93
Linda Miller91
Sarah Simonelli91
Milan Bull*88
Michelle Babyak87
David Cox*87
Sandy Schill86
Liz Jaffin83
BIRDERNumber of Species
Colleen Robinson82
Balint Toth78
Isabel Chenoweth74
Michele Rybos-Mattiace74
Kathleen Van Der Aue74
Catie Resor*73
David Gifford67
Carol Skog66
Robert Gerard64
Samantha DeMarco63
Olivia Vignola**62
Jennifer Gibson56
Pavana Attonito**55
Levi Ramirez**53
Emily Slingerland50
BIRDERNumber of Species
Kyle Tolar50
Tania Porta49
Louise Crocco*47
Lisa Jarosik45
Kalel Attonito**42
RTP Estuary40
Justin McDonough39
Joyce Leiz*38
Pam Fraser31
Andrew Griswold*29
Joseph Shea28
Kate Reamer*26
Cindy Tyminski20
Cathy Mason11
Melissa Markleski8


Migration Magic Sponsors


Mark Naso, CFP ®


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