Contest For BirdsEye NA iPhone App!

Hey gang, have you watched the first episode of Digiscoping with Clay and Sharon yet? If so and you have an iPhone and would like a free BirdsEye North America App, send me a list of all the birds seen in the episode after the opening credits at

The first five people to send me a complete and correct list of birds shown in the episode after the opening credits will get a code to download the app for free.  This is one of my favorite apps, it allows you to see what birds are being reported in eBird. I used it when I travel to figure out where to go birding and to see what birds might be around that I have seen yet.

Thanks to BirdsEye Birding for the app codes!

BirdsEye logo

Win A Swarovski Scope

Guess what, gang?

Once again, I have partnered up with Swarovski Optik North America to give away a spotting scope.  And this time we are producing a short eight episode web series with birding and digiscoping tips with me and my buddy Clay Taylor. Now for the contest part: the birds in each episode are a clue to the overall series theme. If you correctly guess the theme, you will be entered into a drawing for a Swarovski STM spotting scope!

The series will debut this spring, we are still filming some of it. You do not have to be a top notch birder but it helps if you know birds.

Crossley Contest Winner

I love all of you.  When I send out a challenge, you try your best.  I wish I could give away a Crossley Guide: Raptors to everyone, but alas, like the immortal Highlander, there can be only one. So, I present my favorite and the overall winner of the Crossley Contest (see the original plates here)  and have posted a few honorable mentions afterwards: gos kitundu


It was tough because everybody got creative.  But I think this is my favorite. Congratulations to Walter Kitundu for combining gore and total domination as you ride a northern goshawk that is killing one of your friends. I also like the addition of the bloody arm perch.  You had all of your bases covered on this one. Walter, send me your mailing address so I can get you a copy of the book (sharon at birdchick dot com).

Here are other entries that I wish I could give books to for creativity and well, just making me giggle when I go through my inbox:

Gos Nathaniel GonzalezLifer-Northern-Goshawk Love the addition of Atreyu and Falcore with my favorite bird. Way to appeal to my geek side Nathaniel Gonzales!

Gos Andrew Wallis


Andrew Wallis, I love your idea of being able to control a goshawk...I know some falconers who would like that invented as well.

gos drew 2


Oh Drew Weber, I do so love your commentary on baiting birds with this one.  Excellent and well played.

gos Caitlin Baily


Caitlin Bailey, this was cute.  Though, I worry that if you actually did this with goshawks, they'd fly in all different directions and strangle the man playing the crossword.

Gos Heather

Heather Labore, I like your style...

gos susan ellis

And finally, I present the many faces of goshawk by Susan Ellis...very good.

Thank you to everyone who participated.  You are all creative freaks and I love you!



Crossley Raptor Guide Contest

Hey Gang! It's another contest! In case you have not heard, there's a new Crossley Guide:Raptors coming in April that combines the talents of Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori and Brian Sullivan. If you have enjoyed his field guides, you will love the individual attention given to each bird of prey found in North America in the new one.

Northern Goshawk 1

I'm a fan of the guides and use them for reference when I have a bird in a photo with that needs better ID or just use it for some boning up before I go out in the field. I asked Princeton University Press if I could do a contest for a book give away and in the spirit of the fun loving Robert Mortensen at Birding is fun...I think we have a good one.  OK, above is a page from the new guide with my favorite raptor: the northern goshawk adult plumage.

Northern Goshawk 2


Here is the immature northern goshawk page.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it...photoshop yourself (or a friend or family member) in one of these pages and email to me: sharon at birdchick dot com before 12 NOON Pacific Time on Thursday, March 22, 2013. The best one wins an autographed Crossley ID: Raptors Guide. Best entries and winners will be shared in the blog no later than Monday, March 25 (I have some crazy travel next weekend and my internet might be uncertain).

I'm not saying you have to go hog wild like this image of Robert Mortensen as a common nighthawk, but have a goshawk carry you away, share a beer, gardening--who knows.  The entries that make me giggle the best chances of winning!

Also, there's a sort of online Birds and Beers going on with Crossley and Sullivan on Friday, March 22, 2013 (BYOB).  I'm signed up for it, it looks like fun.  But again, I may very well be on a plane and have to miss it.




Spotting Scope Contest WINNER!

This contest got a little nuts!  It is hands down my favorite contest of all the ones I've ever done, because people made me laugh so freakin' hard! You guys--you are not good photographers.  Out of over 500 submissions, I alas, can only have one winner.  We narrowed down the 512 entries to 151 finalists and you can see the finalist set over on Flickr...along with the hilarious descriptions. From there, we used a random number generator to select five finalists from the 151 and then we assigned our aloof pet rabbit Dougal to select the winner by scattering treats all over cards with the random five names.  Whichever one he ate off of was the winner.  But first! Let's see some of my personal faves from the finalists

Christine Williams rgv bird feeder the above feeder in the Rio Grande Valley by Christine Williams, that is a crap photo!

I noticed that we had some subcategories like...people who were too close to the bird  (they seriously needed a scope):

Dawn Bailey pelican

Dawn Bailey, you were lucky this bird didn't give you pouch lice...

AJ Zich turkey

I'm not sure what the turkey had in mind for AJ Zirch.

Deborah Weston

Deborah Weston, I hope you survived the goose attack.

Chelsea McGlynn penguin

Chelsea McGlynn claimed this penguin gave her nasty bite.  Hopefully her camera survived.

Another category that cracked me up was the "near miss." We've all been there.

Sharon Hull Eagle

Sharon Hull almost got that bald eagle (incidentally, that was the most submitted bird species).

Kathy Java red tail

Almost got that red-tailed hawk Kathy Java!

There were some photobombs, I loved this:

R Oxley jay photobomb

Robin Oxley was trying to get the jay but the lady wasn't thrilled, the jay was stealing her food.

Melissa Hero condor

There were some digiscoping fails like poor Melissa Hero's condor picture.

Carrie Laben binoculars flamingo

Then there people like Carrie Laben who got shots of their optics as opposed to the actual bird.

Shelley Rutkin Willet

Poor Shelley Rutkin had more vignetting in her photo than actual bird.

Saundra coopers hawk



I loved the people like Saundra Martz who got shot of their screen in opposed to the Cooper's hawk who is hiding Where's Waldo style in the photo.

Mandy Klehr Over-exposed Gull mouthThis one by Mandy Klehr cracked me up because she labeled it over-exposed gull mouth...which would be a great name for a Courtney Love cover band.

Then there were the photos where I just kind of asked for it (like the guy giving me the bird...well played, sir, I sprayed coffee out of my nose on that one. But other photos from people who have picked up on certain things about me and used photos that they thought would get our attention.

Mark Robininson me peeing

At first, I didn't quite get this photo...then I saw the feet, then recognized my own feet...a birder on a trip with me out in North Dakota submitted of photo of me peeing behind a truck on the prairie...yep, that's a bad bird photo.  You're a dead man, Robinson.  Just sayin'.

kirk mona dead eagle

Kirk Mona submitted this photo of dead eagle he found...very creative, my man.

Wendy Root Bald Eagle

And bless Wendy Root's heart.  I do see the eagle, Wendy.  Thank you for pointing it out.  I'm gonna go watch some brown birds now.

Claudia Lee turkey


Though in focus, Claudia Lee's photo is certainly not the best turkey photo I've ever seen.  Very creative, Claudia!

And there are the ones that just are so cute:

deanna wright snowy owl with arrow

Like people who have to point out exactly where the bird is and yet, I'm still dubious there is an actual bird. Nice try, Deanna Wright.

Jen Vieth word documentI love this one because it's a crap photo of a bobwhite and Jen Vieth, bless your little heart, you sent the image in a word document. Some of you may not get the beauty of that, but those who do are shaking their head and saying, "Alright."

Adam Beeler encoded

This was from Adam Beeler and was supposed to be a bad photo of long-tailed manakins and instead, there was a problem with the encoding of the photo in his email.  I don't know if he sent it to me this way on purpose but either way--THAT is a very lousy photo of a bird.

Be sure to see the full set of the bad photo finalists.

And now, here is the video announcing our grand prize winner! Thanks again to everyone who entered. All of you made me laugh in the best way for days during this contest:

And now for the video of our winner.  Watch Dougal select who wins my spotting scope:

Link to the winning photo.

Win My Spotting Scope!!

This is the story of a girl and her spotting scope... Syria

Oh, the adventures I have had with my Swarovski ATM spotting scope. It has literally traveled the world with me. We ascended Volcán Atitlánin Guatemala to see horned guans. We survived rigorous airport security in Kazakhstan to view breeding sociable lapwings on the Kazak Steppes. We got our lifer Syrian woodpecker outside a mine field on the Syria/Israel border. We even delighted in digiscoping tufted titmice at Neil Gaiman’s bird feeders. We’ve showered together when covered in sand and dust. In short: we have had a blast.


But, some partnerships must end and some things are so awesome, they should be shared. Swarovski hires me from time to time to teach workshops, test equipment and help out at booths. That means I need to have the latest equipment to take to events. When equipment changes, I have the option of purchasing the older equipment or I can send it back to Swarovski. With the debut of the new Swarovski ATX scope, it was time to change out my equipment.

This time I asked, “Hey, could I have a contest so one of my blog readers could get my scope and all the great birding mojo that has built up with it over the years?”

And Swarovski said, “Yes!”

So, anyone who reads my blog has a chance to win a FANTASTIC spotting scope. You will receive my ATM scope with 20 – 60 zoom eyepiece and my carbon fiber tripod (and I’ll even throw in my DCA digiscoping adapter). This is a scope and tripod that has been loved hard and used on a daily basis. I will send it in to Swarovski headquarters to get cleaned up before you get it (maybe Gail can finally get that heron poop stain off) and whoever wins it will also get the Swarovski Optik limited lifetime warranty with the scope. I love this thing, it has been such a wonderful birding companion and helped me id so many birds and I hope whoever wins it, gets the birds of a lifetime that I have gotten with it.

I really wanted to come up with a contest that would level the playing field. The logical thing would be a photo contest, but if you can get really great photos, you don’t need my scope. I want any birder of any age to have a shot at winning this magnificent, light-weight beast. I thought about a guest blogging contest but I know not everyone is comfortable writing, so Non Birding Bill and I kicked around ideas to figure out what would be something universal that anyone could do…and we landed on a contest that would truly level the playing field:

 Birdchick’s WORST bird photo contest!


That’s right, kids, send me your worst bird photo: blurry, over exposed, under exposed, funny, weird, get creative. That’s right, I want to see the worst bird photo you can possibly take. There are any number of ways to do it, so you can go bonkers with this.

bad bird photo 1

We will post our favorite images and then those that are selected as our favorites will be entered into a drawing and we will pick the winning name from that bank of entries!


Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 10.26.40 PM

  1. Photo must be one that you have taken. You can’t just harvest a bad photo off of Wikipedia or Google Image Search. I have strong Google Fu and will find it if you do.
  2. Photo must be accompanied by a brief description or what you think the bird was that you were trying to photograph.
  3. Photos must be emailed to sharon at birdchick dot com.
  4. Photo submissions must include your first and last name in the email and your shipping address (so if you win, I know where to send my scope off to).
  5. Photos must be submitted no later than February 8, 2013. The winner will be drawn and announced on February 11, 2013.


Don't be afraid to get creative! Good luck!!

Birdchick Photo Contest

Hey Gang! I'm working on a book project and it needs some photos! Most of the book photos will be my own but if I need others, that has to come out of my own pocket. I don't have huge amounts of cash but I do have a $250 gift certificate from Eagle Optics. So here is what I propose:

Submit your photos via email to me. If I choose your to be in the book, you get a photo credit, a free copy of the book and your are entered into a drawing to win the $250 gift certificate. If this sounds reasonable to you, please send me photos!

So, what am I looking for? Birds from all over the world--really any species from penguins to hawks to backyard birds. Things I especially need: European species at feeding tables, nesting photos (any species, worldwide), but really any species of birds outdoors and not in zoos.  The book is a bird watching book and essentially and Everything You Need To Know About Birding (we're still arguing title). It comes out in 2013.

Photos must be sharp and in focus! I cannot stress the in focus part enough. Photos must be high resolution for print quality, at least 300 dpi or the largest photo size your camera will export.  Also, photos must be your own, meaning you have the right to send them to me.

Please email photos to sharon at birdchick dot com and please include your name, how you would like your photo credited and your mailing address.

Contest Deadline: April 2, 2012

Gift Certificate Winner will be announced April 3, 2013 and I will contact your via email and announce it here in the blog.

The important legal bits (please read):

By submitting an image to me via email, you agree to give me, Sharon Stiteler aka and Perseus Books the right to use that image in my book and anything related to the book. This may include, but is not limited to, reproduction on the World Wide Web, print in the book or magazine form, retransmission via email, and distribution via all electronic means related to the book including but not limited to eBook, audio book or app. You also agree that you have no implicit right to financial compensation from my use of the image. If you don't like this, please do not send me a photo.


Swarovski Digiscoper of the Year Contest

This is—quite possibly—the coolest contest that I have ever been able to offer on my blog.  There are super sweet runner-up prizes and there is one-giant-spanky-mondo-super-cool prize. I present you with the Swarovski Digiscoper of the Year Contest.

These are the official list of rules (and make sure to read them carefully) for entering the contest but essentially, anyone over 18 years of age who uses a camera (either point-and-shoot or an SLR) with a spotting  scope to take a photo is eligible to enter.  The scope does not have to be a Swarovski scope, it can be any make or model and you can do it by borrowing your friend's equipment.

DO NOT SEND ME YOUR ENTRIES FOR THE CONTEST. You are supposed to enter your photos here.


Digiscoping images must be pictures of animals living in the wild that are created using a digital camera through the eyepiece of a field spotting scope.  Above is a western meadowlark that I digiscoped as an example.

Here are the prizes: The best 10 images (places 1 to 10) will be published with the photographer’s name on the Swarovski Optik homepage.

The three entrants chosen as “Digiscoper of the Year North America” will receive the following prizes from Swarovski Optik:

1st PRIZE: EL 32 binocular (I use an 8x32 EL) 2nd PRIZE: Pocket Tyrol 3rd PRIZE: Swarovski Crystal Spoonbill

In addition these pictures will take part in the international Swarovski Optik Photography competition, so enter today.

And remember, this does not have to be a Swarovski scope or even your own scope to enter.  Just get a cool photo of a bird or other animal with a scope.  And don't limit it to photos, go for video too, get creative and get outside.  You have nothing to lose and some great prizes to gain.

I am totally shocked to be offering these prizes... these are like birding magazine prizes.  So take advantage of this contest!

Birdorable Guest Blogging Contest: Voting!

125-wren Time to vote for your favorite entry in the Birdorable Guest Blogging Contest! You can view all the entries one this page. When you're done, simply pick your favorite from the drop-down list, enter your name and email address (which will not be sold, rented, given, or disclosed) before Friday, May 22nd at 5 p.m. CST. One vote per person.

Each of the ten entries has already won a Tough Titmice Magnet from Birdorable, and the grand prize winner gets a Birdorable Spotting Scope shirt! The shirt pictured a red-cockaded woodpecker perched on the scope, but they said the winner can choose the bird species. So, if you would prefer something like a Cooper’s hawk, cardinal, or shag, they’ve got you covered.

So, vote away!