Contests! We got yer contests here!
First Friday fiction contest
Deadline: Thursday, May 6 - tomorrow!
The birding community encompasses incredibly talented individuals who play with words well when not enjoying birds. This monthly fiction-writing contest gives those wordsmiths a chance to apply their skills to 500-word tales about birds, birders or birding.
* The tale includes four elements: a setting, a character or characters, a conflict and a resolution.
* It does not anthropomorphize birds.
* You send your wordsmithery to wildbirdATbowtieinc.com before 5 p.m. PST on the first Thursday of the month, and you include your mailing address.
Why do we need your mailing address? The winner gets to choose a prize from recently published books on WildBird's shelves. For instance, the prizes for the May contest include "A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Jamaica," "Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America," "Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America" and "Bald Coot and Screaming Loon: Adventures in the Curious, Mysterious and Remarkable World of Birds."
You'll find examples of previous winners' stories in the blog's right-hand column.
Forum Focus/Lister's Forum
Deadline: Friday, May 7
Backyard Inquiry/Birder's Back Yard
Deadline: Friday, May 7
In every issue, readers will find questions in the Lister's Forum and Birder's Back Yard departments. Chosen responses -- which demonstrate actions that benefit birds and/or birders -- will appear in a future issue, and one of the responses will garner the Backyard Birder or Forum Birder title as well as prizes such as books from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and a gift pack of Swarovski Optik items.
In the November/December issue, the Backyard Birders and Forum Birders appear with the Birder of the Year ballot, and all readers can vote for the most deserving candidate. The winner will appear in the March/April issue and receive a Swarovski binocular, such as the EL 8x32, and a guided trip to a birding hotspot. The 2008 winner, Connie Kogler, described her June 2009 trip to Costa Rica.
22nd Annual Photo Contest
Postmark deadline: Friday, May 14
Every year in the March/April and May/June issues, WildBird publishes the entry form and rules for the annual photo competition. Thanks to generous participation from sponsors, we can offer first-, second- and third-place prizes to the winners in five categories -- amateur, backyard, digiscoping, flight and shorebirds -- as well as a grand prize: a Canon EOS 50D.
Participants can enter two entries per category, and the postmark deadline is May 14 -- so you can take the envelopes to the post office next Friday and remain eligible for judging.
The judges continually feel stumped when faced with the incredible quality of the finalists' images. They look for tack-sharp focus, particularly at the bird's beak and eyes; action; composition; and lighting. (I cannot stress enough the importance of focus; no blurry photos please! -- Ed.) The winning images will appear in the September/October issue.
Now, with all those chances to see your name in print and receive a prize, what are you waiting for? The first deadline is tomorrow!