Photo Contest Rules

–This contest celebrates the beauty and diversity of wild birds seen during the count from around the world. All images must have been taken during the current Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 14–17, 2020. Photos showing birds in plumages or in locations where they are unlikely to be during the GBBC will not be judged for the contest. Photos must be of wild birds in their natural surroundings. Domestic or pet birds and other animals will not be included in the judging. 

Photos that appear to be the result of baiting raptors, or actions that could be harmful to birds such as feeding inappropriate foods, disturbing nests, or using recordings to call in wild birds, etc., will not be considered. In public areas, such as parks, beaches, or nature preserves, photographers must abide by all posted signs governing interaction with birds and other wildlife.  

–Submit images in as high a resolution as possible as .jpg, .gif, or.png files, up to 10MB each.

–You can submit up to 10 images per category. Please do not enter the same image in multiple categories. If a photo seems to fit more than one category, consider entering it in the overall category.

–Please include the name of the species shown in the photo.

–Location—tell us where the photo was taken (which may not necessarily be where you live).

You must agree to the terms of use. After you read these terms, and if you agree, remember to click the box at the bottom of the photo submission form. You will be asked for your name and email.

Photos may be entered through March 1. When GBBC data entry closes on that date, no additional photos will be accepted for the contest.

NOTE: Although you now have the ability to upload photos along with your bird checklist, those photos are NOT entered in the contest. If you want your checklist image to be considered for the contest, you must upload it separately through the GBBC photo contest page, accessible from the home page during the count.


Online Photo Gallery: The photos you see posted online during the count are a subset of all the images submitted. We regret that because of the large volume of photos we receive, we cannot post all of them. Your image will be considered for the contest whether or not your image appears in the gallery. The inclusion of photos in the gallery and the number of “likes” for gallery photos do not factor into the judging.

Judging: Judges from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada will review all the entries. Photos are evaluated on technical skill and artistry. Some of the factors the judges consider include use of light, depth of field, sharpness of focus, color balance, composition, framing, camera angle, originality, and the amount of patience (or luck!) required to get a shot.

Categories: Images will be judged in six categories. You choose which category in which you want your photo to be judged.

Overall: top-notch in all respects—composition, lighting, clarity
Habitat: a bird or birds are in the photo, but the habitat is an equally important part of the picture
Behavior: birds in action—eating, drinking, bathing, fighting, flying
Group: multiple birds, from a few to massive flocks
Composition: a pleasing arrangement of all the features within the photo
People: people watching birds in cities, forests, parks, backyards, anywhere

Timing: We typically receive thousands of entries and it takes some time to sort through them all and give them the consideration they deserve. The results are announced in January just before the next GBBC. Winners and honorable mentions in each category will be notified by email and top prizes awarded. Pages showcasing the top photos will be posted on the GBBC website. Look for the link in the “Latest News” section of the home page.

Enter your photos.

Note: You do not accept the Terms of Use on this page. You will be asked to accept on the photo submission form itself.