Birdwatching has become increasingly popular over the past year. Connecticut Audubon is celebrating the resurgence with its Migration Madness Birdathon during the weekend of May 14-16.
Whether you are young or old, expert or novice, you’re invited to participate. The Birdathon is a friendly competition to see as many species as possible in Connecticut over that weekend — the peak of spring migration. Almost 200
species of birds are likely to be passing through the state on those days. It takes place throughout the state — wherever participants want to go birdwatching.
The Birdathon is also a way to contribute directly to bird conservation throughout Connecticut or near where you live. The cost is only $10, although birders 12 and under are free. There’s an array of great prizes, including a chance to be included in a drawing to win a beautiful wood carving of a Pygmy Owl that bird carver-artist Keith
Mueller of Ellington, CT, is creating specially for this event.
Prize categories include most birds seen over the weekend; most birds seen by a young birder; and a spirit award for participating schools.
The Birdathon Photo Contest showcases the weekend’s best bird photos. Visit www.ctaudubon.org/birdathon21 for more.
The Birdathon is great fun. Last year, during the peak of the pandemic, 160 people participated.
“What a wonderful activity, particularly during a spring with so many challenges,” Charlotte Stoeckle, of Shelton, said after last year’s event. “My husband took pictures for the contest and I counted species. I was even able to add two new birds — a Tree Swallow and a House Wren — to my very short life list!”
Birders are encouraged to ask friends, relatives, and neighbors to support them by making a pledge to the Birdathon. The funds will directly help Connecticut’s birds and other wildlife.
Last year, the Migration Madness Birdathon raised more than $20,000 for conservation in Connecticut. This year’s goal is $40,000.
Among the projects those funds will be used for are:
● Trail upkeep at Connecticut Audubon’s 20 sanctuaries to make sure there are safe and accessible places to hike.
● Conservation education, including the award-winning Science in Nature outdoor education program.
● Conservation work at Connecticut Audubon centers, in Fairfield, Pomfret, and Sherman, at Milford Point, at Trail Wood in Hampton, and at the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center in Old Lyme.
● Citizen science projects including Osprey Nation, which since 2014 has tracked the nesting success of the state’s Ospreys.
Although the Birdathon lasts for three days, participants can spend as much time birding as they want. Some people will participate for all three days. But many others will participate for just a couple of hours.
Founded in 1898, the Connecticut Audubon Society operates nature facilities in Fairfield, Milford, Pomfret, Hampton, Sherman, and Old Lyme, and an EcoTravel office in Essex.
Connecticut Audubon manages 20 wildlife sanctuaries encompassing more than 3,300 acres of open space in Connecticut, and educates over 100,000 children and adults annually.