Spring Migration Bird Contest (Story and Photography)

The spring bird migration is underway. Birders know the delight in a fallout of warbler s in their brightly-colored breeding plumage flitting here and there, looking for insects among the newly-emerging leaf canopy of the forest. And to all you non-birders, well, you should experience this delight sometime too.

Not too many years ago, I was clueless how fun the spring warbler migration is. I remember seeing a photo of a Prothonotary Warbler on the cover of a magazine. It was the winner of a photo contest, and I knew the photo was supposed to have been taken in Virginia.

Yeah right, I thought. Whoever sees a bird like that in Virginia?

Well, yes, people do. In fact, the birds even nest in Virginia. Oh, how little I knew….

So, what might an activity look like that is built around the spring bird migration, includes sharing the joy with others, and yet is different from the other bird activities we have done in the past?

As I pondered this, I thought about the reality that sometimes friends are separated by a lot of miles. Is there a way we can blend the joy of birding with an activity that involves friends, even if the friends are distant?

I know birders and birding well enough to know a long list of species is fun. Also, one’s location has a bearing on the kinds of birds he is likely to see. So, why not try to combine all this into one activity?

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler. Photo © Kevin Shank.

The Rules

  1. The person or family submitting the story must be an active subscriber to Nature Friend magazine. All ages welcome to participate.
  2. Choose one 24-hour period between now and May 28, 2022. Record all the species of birds you see or hear. Also keep notes about the fun things that happen, so when you write your story about your day, your notes can be a memory jog for fun details.
  3. Ask a friend, or friends, even if they are distant, if they would like to join you in your birding for this contest. Your friends will likewise choose a 24-hour period (can be a different period from yours) and record as many birds as they see or hear. Your friends do not need to be active Nature Friend subscribers to participate in your list.
  4. Combine your lists to collectively capture the longest list of species you can. Write a story about your day, and, secondarily, also work some fun details into your story that pertain to your friends’ birding day.
  5. Submit your story to us no later than May 31, 2022. We are looking for fun birding stories. Yes, we would like your species list included too. However, a species list alone is NOT what we are looking for.
  6. Photographers, please submit your best high resolution birding photos. These may be taken anytime. We may select your photos to illustrate your story, someone else’s story, or just entered into the photo contest. So keep your good photos coming. Edit your work. Please don’t send soft-focus, poorly-lit, or distant birds. Those photos are not useful to us. Caption your photos with the species name. Additional details/story surrounding capturing the photos is invited but not required.

    Note: While you may invite your friends (no limit) who are not subscribers to help you capture a fun long list, and while you are encouraged to draw from their experiences in your writing, those submitting stories or photos for this contest must be active subscribers. One Award per submission.

How to Submit

Include your name, mailing address, and renewal code (found on mailing label). Phone numbers and e-mail are appreciated too, when available.

Photographers, submit on a flash drive, or e-mail as high resolution jpeg attachments. Remember to also label ALL your submissions and drives. We don’t want a drive on our desk with no name on it. A name only on an envelope is not sufficient, as the drive will certainly get removed from the envelope.

If you require the return of anything, please include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) with adequate postage.

Package a flash drive between cardboard to ship.

Mail to:
Nature Friend
Spring Migration Contest
4253 Woodcock Lane
Dayton VA 22821

E-mail: birdcontest@naturefriendmagazine.com

You may also fill out the form below to submit entries.


Spring Migration Birding Contest

Your subscriber number is above your name on the mailing label on your magazine, or on your email receipt. (We recognize foreign address mailing labels sometimes do not show the subscriber number. Submit anyway.)
Not a subscriber? Subscribe now!
Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, txt, Max. file size: 256 MB.
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Accepted file types: jpg, Max. file size: 256 MB.


    Feb 23 2022 - May 28 2022