Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

I have always enjoyed watching birds.  They would fascinate me as a young child.  I would spend time watching them eat from our feeder outside of our kitchen window.  One of my fondest memories of my grandfather is when he “taught” me how to feed the chickadees from my hand.  It was an amazing experience for me as a young girl.

Do you have a memorable experience with birds?  Did you happen to get a picture of it?  The Cornel Lab of Ornithology is looking for some unique pictures of birds.

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind 
New contest spotlights bird interactions 

American Goldfinches go beak-to-beak. Photo by Cheryl Sotelo.

Ithaca, NYThe Celebrate Urban Birds project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is launching a contest to capture memorable encounters with birds. The goal is to show some of the ways birds interact with each other, with humans, or with other creatures.

Entries can be in the form of a story, a photo, artwork, video, poetry, sculpture or any other creative art. Participants just need to show birds interacting in fun, interesting, or captivating ways.

“For example, you might see a House Sparrow trying to grab a sandwich at the park,” says project leader Karen Purcell. “Maybe a crow is teasing your dog or hummingbirds are dueling over who gets dibs on the nectar feeder. That’s the sort of close encounter we’d like to see.”

Prizes include binoculars, bird feeders, sound CDs, books, and much more. The first 50 entrants receive a copy of the Cornell Lab’s “Doves and Pigeons” poster by Julie Zickefoose. Selected entries will also be featured in the 2012 Celebrate Urban Birds calendar. 


This Mountain Chickadee enjoys some seed atop its human perch. Photo by Destiny Mink.

How to enter:

1. Email entries to If you submit a video, post it on YouTube and send the link.

2. Write “CloseEncounter_yourfirstname yourlastname_yourstate” in the subject line.

3. Include both your mailing address and the location where you saw the bird(s) in your email.

4. Explain why you submitted your entry and what it shows. 

5. One entry per person, please.

6. Read the terms of agreement.     

                  Deadline for entries is November 15, 2011

Visit the Celebrate Urban Birds website for more information.


Project Contact: Karen Purcell, Project Leader, (607) 254-2455,

Media Contact: Pat Leonard, (607) 254-2137,

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at