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Birds in Flight 2021

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Birds in Flight 2021 Contest Winners

Grand Prize: Stan Bysshe

Title: Sandhill Sunrise

“Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge Center in New Mexico is a wintering home for Sandhill Cranes. The high desert area is known for its colorful sunrises and sunset. The early morning when this image was taken was no exception. The pond where the cranes were taking off from was frozen and the ice reflected the purple color of the sky. The brown background was the winter grass behind the pond. Given the low light of sunrise I chose to photograph the cranes takeoff using a slow shutter speed while panning with the birds. The trick was to get the head of the bird as sharp as possible. Only a few of the shots worked! But, the soft colors of the background, and the blurred crane wings made the effort worth it.”

Second Prize: Ed Hughes

Title: Free Ride

“Kingbird was protecting its nest. I waited for 3 days for this opportunity.”

Third Prize: Mike Dowsett

Title: Fresh Breakfast

“The highlight of my summer photography is the eagerly awaited return of many western ospreys, who choose to return to nest and breed in the Scottish Highlands after a long warm winter spent on the African coast. I make the long journey each year filled with anticipation accompanied by my photographer friend, Gary Jones. Photographing the ospreys actively fishing is the most exciting wildlife photography I have experienced, feeling a real rush of adrenalin capturing the birds making the incredibly fast dive into the fish rich waters, then exploding out into frantic flight with a huge trout.

Over many years of technique improvements, I have learned each year and see better images over time. The key areas of technique involve camera focus placement, exposure, and camouflage.

I have strived to perfect my ability to pre-focus on an area of water where I predict ‘the osprey will hit’ to save ½ second or so and help give the camera a little more time to focus on the bird. It is crucial to ‘lock on’ to the bird before pressing the shutter; otherwise, the whole burst of images will be out of focus. The bird’s impact through to departure from the water is all over very quickly (maybe 2 or 3 seconds), so it is very important to be ready and to have practiced other birds like ducks and heron before the main attraction. Especially important is to set the exposure correctly. The osprey has a bright white body and under-wing feathers making it easy to over-expose and lose the feather detail. Osprey will not fish if they see human presence nearby, so we typically get into place before sunrise and wait in the dark

This particular image had an additional challenge on the day. Mist can be a real problem in this area and on this day, it was no exception. The first two ospreys to dive were completely masked by mist, preventing the camera focusing.

Then at around 5:30 a.m., as the mist cleared and early morning sunlight illuminated the valley, we heard the unique osprey call from up above as one circled the area looking for an easy catch. This is when my excitement peaks and the nerves start. I pre-focused where I hoped the fish were shoaling and got ready for the dive by double checking the exposure and ensuring the gimbal / camera swing path was clear to track the bird. Then I waited. There was an enormous splash and blur that broke the silence. I swung the camera into position and prayed that the focus locked-on quickly. I then pressed and held the shutter button down for a full burst of RAW images, while tracking the osprey as it fought to get airborne with a 2-3lb fish and wet feathers. The silence as the bird flew away was then followed by laughter as Gary and I both realized that the warm light was amazing, and we both had several ‘keepers’ on our media cards. We returned to our lodging around 6:30am after the local fishermen scared off the osprey, to enjoy a hot breakfast to finish our incredible morning spent with the most amazing raptor of all.”

Prizes

1st Prize

$500 cash prize

One (1) Gura Gear 45 Kiboko v2.0 22L backpack

One (1) Gura Gear 45 Et Cetera 2L case

One (1) Nikon 8×42 Monarch 5 Binoculars (Black)

One (1) Oben CTT-1000 Carbon Fiber Tabletop Tripod

One (1) one-year VIP BirdWatching membership

Publication in a special multi-spread feature in an issue of BirdWatching

Publication in the BirdWatching online Winners’ gallery

2nd Prize

$1,000 cash prize

One (1) Gura Gear 45 Kiboko v2.0 22L backpack

One (1) Gura Gear 45 Et Cetera 2L case

One (1) Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Digital Camera

One (1) Sony E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lens (Black)

One (1) Nikon 8×42 Monarch 5 Binoculars (Black)

One (1) Oben CTT-1000 Carbon Fiber Tabletop Tripod

One (1) one-year VIP BirdWatching membership

Placement as BirdWatching Facebook Cover Photo

Publication in a special multi-spread feature in an issue of BirdWatching

Publication in the BirdWatching online Winners’ gallery

3rd Prize

$250 (U$D) cash prize

One (1) Gura Gear 45 Kiboko v2.0 22L backpack

One (1) Gura Gear 45 Et Cetera 2L case

One (1) Nikon 8×42 Monarch 5 Binoculars (Black)

One (1) Oben CTT-1000 Carbon Fiber Tabletop Tripod

One (1) one-year VIP BirdWatching membership

Publication in a special multi-spread feature in an issue of BirdWatching

Publication in the BirdWatching online Winners’ gallery

Birds in Flight Prize Package

Enter to win a publication in our magazine and some incredible prizes! Check out the prize list below.

Deadline extended! The final submission deadline is Thursday, July 1, 2021.

Past Contests

Explore past winners, finalists and prizes from our previous contests.

View Contests

Frequently asked questions and official rules

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t answered here, please send us an email at [email protected] with the following details:

  1. The name of the contest (2021 Birds in Flight Photo Contest)
  2. Your username
  3. The image ID # (if applicable)
  4. The exact nature of your problem

Question: Who may enter?

Answer:

Contest is open to individuals over the age of 18 and residents of the U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec.

Question: How do I enter?

Answer:

Click “Submit Your Images.” You’ll need to be logged in to your BirdWatching account to enter. If you don’t have an account, click here to register for your free account.

Question: Can I submit pictures of captive birds, i.e. in zoos, aviaries, parks (i.e. Disney), pets, or do they have to be of wild birds only?

Answer:

We will only consider submissions of wild birds. Please do not enter photos of captive birds.

Question: In what format should I submit my photos?

Answer:

Each photograph must be submitted in .JPG format and cannot exceed 4 MB in size. Also, make sure your photo is in the sRGB color space, or else your image may look discolored.

Question: How many photos may I enter?

Answer:

You may enter as many photos as you like. Pricing is one (1) photo for a $30 entry fee, or two (2) photos for a discounted fee of $40. You can purchase either of these packages as many times as you like.

Pricing For Submissions
Regular Entry Period
1 Photo: $30
2 Photos: $40

Simply visit the entry page at https://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/photo-contests/birds-in-flight and the system will determine your order status.

Question: Is my credit card information secure?

Answer:

Absolutely! The payment form is hosted on our secure payment processor’s site and your credit card information (including your physical address) is submitted directly to the applicable credit card company through 256-bit encrypted pages. The header graphic is the only non-secure item on the payment page and only your email and the success/failure message of the transaction are submitted back to our site.

Question: Can I pass the word on this competition to my friends, classmates, Facebook/Twitter followers, etc.?

Answer:

Yes, please! The link to the contest portal is https://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/photo-contests/birds-in-flight

Question: Do I have to print or mail in my photos?

Answer:

No. Please upload entries using the online entry form. Mailed submissions will not be accepted.

Question: Can I process my photos using Photoshop or another image-processing program?

Answer:

Yes, but keep digital processing to a minimum. Acceptable adjustments include color balance, contrast, dust spotting, and sharpening. Do not digitally retouch your images to alter reality. Do not remove distracting elements such as foreground branches or clean up cluttered backgrounds. Do not add to the foreground or background. We are assuming that your digital image reflects what your camera recorded at the moment you made the picture.

Question: Can I watermark my photos?

Answer:

While we prefer you do not use watermarks on your submitted images because they can muddle the judging process, we understand that you want to protect your work. You may use a small watermark in the corner of your image, but we ask that you refrain from using a substantial watermark that covers a large portion of your photograph.

Question: When will the winners be notified?

Answer:

By October 31, 2021.

Question: When will the winners be announced?

Answer:

The winners’ photos will be published in a special multi-spread feature in a future issue of BirdWatching magazine. Exact issue month and year will be communicated to the winners. All winners will be announced online by October 31, 2021.

Question: What are the prizes?

Answer:

See the contest landing page or the official rules for a complete list of contest prizes.

Question: When I try to enter online, I get an error message. What's going on?

Answer:

If your attempts at entering online aren’t successful, our system might be struggling. Try waiting a few minutes, then clear your browser’s cache and cookies—you might even try restarting your computer—and go to the online entry page again.

Additionally, title your photos with alphanumeric characters only. Please don’t use apostrophes, ampersands or any other character symbol, as doing so may cause errors during uploading.

Question: I've tried clearing my cache and cookies, and I even bought a new computer. The online entry form just isn't working for me.

Answer:

Double-check that the size of your images meets our requirements. If all else fails, send us an email at [email protected]. In your email, please indicate:

  1. The name of the contest (2021 Birds in Flight Photo Contest)
  2. Your username
  3. The image ID # (if applicable)
  4. The exact nature of your problem

BirdWatching Birds in Flight 2021 Official Rules

ELIGIBILITY:
BirdWatching’s 2021 Birds in Flight Photo Contest (“Contest”) is open only to individuals who are over 18 years of age and who are residents of the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec). Employees of Madavor Media, LLC, (“Sponsors”), and their respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising and promotion agencies, and their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child and sibling and their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside) and/or those living in same household of each, whether or not related, are not eligible to participate or win. Sponsors reserve the right to verify all eligibility requirements. Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

CONTEST PERIOD:
The Contest will begin on May 4, 2021 at 7:00 AM PDT, and end on June 24, 2021 at 11:59 PM PDT (the “Contest Period”). After June 24, users can still submit photos from June 25, 2021 at 12:00 AM PDT until July 1, 2021 at 11:59 PM PDT (the “Extension Period”) at an increased price.

HOW TO ENTER:
Click the submit your images button above to submit. All entries must be received by July 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT to be eligible. Each photograph must be submitted in .JPG and cannot exceed 4 MB in size. Entry fees during the Contest Period are $25 for one submission and $35 for two submissions. Entry fees during the Extension Period may increase.
Please note: Entries submitted online will be eligible for (i) the Grand Place Prize (as described below), (ii) Second Place Prize (as described below), (iii) Third Place Prize (as described below), and (iv) Finalist Prize (as described below).
Entry must be the original work of the entrant and entrant must be the sole owner of the copyright of such entry. Entry must be in keeping with the Sponsors’ image and may not be inappropriate or offensive, as determined by the Sponsors in their sole discretion, nor can it defame or invade publicity rights or privacy of any person, living or deceased, or otherwise infringe upon any person’s personal or property rights or any other third-party rights. The Sponsors reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to disqualify any entry they deem to be offensive, inappropriate, that is not in keeping with Sponsors’ image or that is otherwise not in compliance with the terms of these Official Rules. Entrant must have obtained express written consent to submit any entry that contains persons other than entrant or third-party elements not owned by entrant and, if requested to do so, produce such written consent from appropriate parties in a form and manner acceptable to the Sponsors.
By submitting an Entry, entrant acknowledges and agrees that Sponsors may obtain many Entries in connection with this Contest and/or other contests staged and/or promoted by the Sponsors, and that such Entries may be similar or identical in theme, idea, format or other respects to other Entries submitted in connection with this Contest and/or other contests sponsored by the Sponsors or submitted for other reasons or other materials developed by the Sponsors. Entrant waives any and all claims entrant may have had, may have, and/or may have in the future, that any Entry and/or other works accepted, reviewed and/or used by the entrant may be similar to his/her Entry, or that any compensation is due to entrant in connection with such Entry or other works used by Sponsors.

GRAND PLACE PRIZE JUDGING:
One (1) potential Grand Place Prize winner, one (1) potential Second Place winner, one (1) potential Third Place winner, and up to twenty-five (25) potential Finalists will be determined from among all eligible entries received by a panel of qualified judges, based equally on the following criteria: Adherence to Theme, Composition and Creativity/Originality (“Judging Criteria”). The entrants who submitted the entry receiving the highest scores, as determined by the Sponsors in their sole discretion, will be the potential winners and finalists respectively.
In the event of a tie for any prize, an additional “tie-breaking” judge will determine the applicable winner or finalists from among those tied using the Criteria. The Sponsors reserve the right to not award any prize if, in their sole discretion, an insufficient number of eligible and qualified entries are received. Decisions of the Sponsors and judges are final and binding.

WINNER NOTIFICATION:
Potential winners will be notified by telephone, mail and/or e-mail by October 31, 2021 and will be required to execute and return an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability and, unless prohibited, a Publicity Release, a W-9 Form and any additional documents that may be required by prize provider within fourteen (14) days of date of issuance. If any potential winner is an eligible minor in his or her jurisdiction of residence, prize may, at the Sponsors’ discretion, be awarded in the name of the parent or legal guardian, and such parent or legal guardian will be required to fulfill all requirements imposed on winners set forth herein. Noncompliance with this time period or with these Official Rules, or the return of any prize notification as undeliverable, may result in disqualification and, at the Sponsors’ discretion, the prize will be awarded to an applicable runner-up.

PRIZES:

Grand Place Prize: $1,000 (U$D) cash prize;

One (1) Gura Gear 45 Kiboko v2.0 22L backpack (ARV $329.95); One (1) Gura Gear 45 Et Cetera 2L case (ARV $29.95); One (1) Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 55-210mm Lens Kit (ARV $1,196.00); One (1) One-year BirdWatching VIP Membership (ARV $95.88); Placement as BirdWatching’s Facebook Cover Photo (ARV priceless); publication in a special multi-spread feature in an issue of BirdWatching (ARV priceless); Publication in the BirdWatching online Winners’ gallery.

Total First Place ARV: Approximately $2,651.78

Second Place Prize: $500 (U$D) cash prize;

One (1) Gura Gear 45 Kiboko v2.0 22L backpack (ARV $329.95); One (1) Gura Gear 45 Et Cetera 2L case (ARV $29.95); One (1) One-year BirdWatching VIP Membership (ARV $95.88); One (1) Inclusion in Bayphoto Finalists and Winners Book; publication in a special multi-spread feature in an issue of BirdWatching (ARV priceless); Publication in the BirdWatching online Winners’ gallery.

Total Second Place ARV: approximately $955.78

Third Place Prize: $250 (U$D) cash prize;

One (1) Gura Gear 45 Kiboko v2.0 22L backpack (ARV $329.95); One (1) Gura Gear 45 Et Cetera 2L case (ARV $29.95); One (1) One-year BirdWatching VIP Membership (ARV $95.88); One (1) Inclusion in Bayphoto Finalists and Winners Book; publication in a special multi-spread feature in an issue of BirdWatching (ARV priceless); Publication in the BirdWatching online Winners’ gallery.

Total Third Place ARV: Approximately $705.78

Current total ARV of all prizes: approximately $4,313.34

If, for any reason, the Sponsors do not feature any of the winning entries in BirdWatching Magazine, no compensation or substitution will be provided; however, the remainder of prize package will be awarded and the Sponsors will have no further obligation to winners. All prize details are at the sole discretion of the Sponsors. No substitution, cash equivalent or transfer of prizes permitted by winners. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize (or portion thereof) of comparable or greater value, in their sole discretion. All federal, state and local taxes as well as any costs and expenses associated with prize acceptance and use not specified herein as being awarded are sole responsibility of each winner. Prizes are awarded “as is” with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied by the Sponsors. Limit one (1) prize per household.

USE OF ENTRY:
By submitting an entry, entrant grants the Sponsors and their designees an irrevocable, royalty-free, nonexclusive, worldwide perpetual license to use the entry and his/her name, city and state of residence for credit purposes in Sponsors’ online galleries, without further compensation, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law. In addition, each winner grants to the Sponsors and their designees an irrevocable, royalty-free, nonexclusive, worldwide perpetual license to use and distribute the entry (as submitted, or as cropped by the Sponsors), and his/her name, city and state of residence for credit purposes, in any and all media now or hereafter known, including without limitation in BirdWatching and any Madavor Media magazines for purposes of promotion of this Contest except as otherwise stated herein, without further compensation, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law.

USE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION:
Your personal information collected in connection with this Contest will be used in accordance with Madavor Media’s Privacy Policy (available at http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/privacy-policy) including, without limitation, for marketing and promotional purposes.

MISCELLANEOUS: Released Parties (as defined below) are not responsible for late, lost, garbled, damaged, incomplete, delayed, undelivered, or misdirected entries or photographs or for computer, technical, printing, typographical, human or other errors relating to or in connection with the Contest, including, without limitation, inability to access any website associated with the Contest, errors which may occur in the administration of the Contest, the processing or judging of entries, the announcement of the prizes or in any Contest-related materials. If for any reason the Contest (or any portion thereof) is not capable of running as planned, including infection by tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, Sponsors reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest and, if terminated, at its discretion, determine winners from among all non-suspect, eligible entries received up to time of such action using judging procedure described above. By participating, entrant agrees (i) to be bound by the terms of these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsors and judges, which are final and binding in all respects, and (ii) to hold the Sponsors and their respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, prize suppliers and advertising and promotion agencies, and the respective directors, officers, employees and agents of the foregoing (collectively, the “Released Parties”), harmless against any and all claims and liability arising, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, out of or in connection with participation in this Contest, acceptance and use of any prize or Released Parties’ use of any of the rights granted herein. Sponsors may disqualify (and void all associated entries) anyone from participating in the Contest or winning a prize if, in its sole discretion, it determines that such person is attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest by cheating, deception or other unfair practices, or intending to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other entrant or Sponsors’ representatives or who is otherwise not in compliance with the terms of these rules. ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST MAY BE IN VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, THE SPONSORS RESERVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES AND OTHER REMEDIES (INCLUDING ATTORNEYS’ FEES) FROM ANY SUCH INDIVIDUAL TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW, INCLUDING CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

WINNERS’ LIST: For the list of winners (available after July 2020), send a separate, stamped, self-addressed envelope to: BWM 2021 Birds in Flight Photo Contest Winners’ List, Attn: Marketing Department, 35 Braintree Hill Office Park, Suite 101, Braintree, MA 02184, to be received by November 30, 2021.

SPONSORS:
Madavor Media, 35 Braintree Hill Office Park, Suite 101, Braintree, MA 02184
Gura Gear, 9219 Katy Fwy Ste 179, Houston, Texas, 77024