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2012 Great Backyard Bird Count Photo Contest Winners

This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count is happening Feb 15–18. Last year’s count set a new record for participation, netting more than 100,000 checklists. This year could be even bigger, because for the first time ever, the GBBC is going global. Drawing on the international reach of eBird‘s online checklists, we can now accept entries from anyone, anywhere in the world.

I have a hunch it’s going to make the judging for the annual photo contest even more difficult. Already, every year our judges have a tough time sifting through more than 7,000 photo submissions to award prizes and honorable mentions in six categories. What’s going to happen when the field opens up to (hypothetically) six more continents and some 9,000 more species? We can’t wait to find out.

We’ve chosen a smattering of the winners’ photos to put in the slideshow above—see what we mean about it being hard to decide? You can also check out submissions from 2012 and past years on the GBBC website.

While you’re there, look over the GBBC results—tangible evidence of how GBBC participants have helped us understand the winter distribution of birds across the continent. We can’t wait for this year’s count to expand our view to the rest of the world. Where will you be counting from?

(New to the GBBC? Find out how to participate. Veteran counter? Tell your friends and let them in on the fun!)

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American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library