Contest Details & Rules

The 2018 Peregrine Falcons: Breeding Cycle photo exhibition and contest is open to photographers of all skill levels, and over 18 years old.

The contest will be open for entries from Sept. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2018. The submission deadline is Sept. 30, 2018.

Opening reception: Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018 from 2-4 p.m. at Hunt’s Photo, Melrose, MA. The guest speaker will be Tom French from MassWildlife’s Natural and Endangered Species Program. We will also be joined by Ray Brown, host of the Talking Birds Radio Show. The show airs on 16 public and commercial radio stations around New England, New York, and Maryland.

The exhibit will feature breathtaking photos of a pair of Peregrine Falcons and their 4 chicks during the recent 2018 breeding season.
Many well-known local photographers will participate in the exhibit and contest.

The exhibit will remain on display at Hunt’s throughout the month, and then will be transferred to a longer exhibit at Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Trailside Museum.

An online auction of the exhibit photos will be organized by Hunt’s Photos during the month. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Mass Audubon Blue Hills Trailside Museum.

Trailside Museum staff helps to band peregrine falcons each spring. The bands provide researchers with valuable information about the behavior of these endangered birds.

Participants in the auction will help support the Trailside Museum’s work in banding peregrine falcons and other important conservation initiatives.

Questions? Any questions regarding the Contest can be directed to


Peregrine Falcons in a full stoop are the fastest animals in the world, capable of reaching speeds over 235 mph. This bird’s incredible speed, predatory disposition, and global range have made it something of a symbol of the many untamed wilderness areas still remaining on planet Earth. Almost as remarkable as the speed at which it can dive was the speed at which it disappeared from many parts of its traditional breeding range in the 1940s and 1950s. A program to reestablish this species in Massachusetts has met with extraordinary success, and is one of the great conservation stories of the 20thcentury. (adapted from Mass Audubon's Breeding Bird Atlas 2)

In the spring of 2018, a growing consortium of local photographers began observing, monitoring, and photographing a nesting pair of Peregrine Falcons in Middlesex County. The group established an active and shared communications channel through daily emails and phone calls to exchange updates and photos. The group members worked closely with nearby property owners, tenants, and visitors to ensure the fullest possible collaboration and information sharing among all parties. They also received strong encouragement from state wildlife officials to develop good relations at all levels, and to maintain the highest standards for ethical behavior with nesting birds, especially as the peregrines are still classified as a threatened species in Massachusetts. The group has become known as the Peregrine Monitor Group.

Who should enter

The 2018 Peregrine Falcons: Breeding Cycle photo contest (the contest) and exhibition is open to photographers of all skill levels, and ages.

What to enter

We are seeking digital photographs of peregrine falcons in Middlesex County, MA during the 2018 breeding cycle, especially those images that highlight the behavior of parents and nestlings from the hatchling phase through fledging and dispersal. In order to qualify, photographs must be taken in Middlesex County, Massachusetts in 2018.

Each entrant may enter a maximum of 6 photographs. Photos may have been taken at any time in 2018 prior to or during the Contest.

Images submitted must not be obtained by harassment or disturbance of the peregrine falcons, damage to the environment or wildlife by the photographer, or infringe on the rights of any other photographer or person.


Entrants must submit their photographs into the categories that best fits the scope of each individual image. Each photograph may only be assigned one category. Judges have the right to move an image from one category to another.

Pair Bonding/Courtship: adults
We want to see your best shots of one or both adults during the pair bonding/courtship period.


Any and all images of one or both adults during the month long incubation process


Any and all photos of the young falcons from days after hatching until close to time of fledging

Leg banding

Any and all photos of the young falcons during the leg banding process


Any and all images in the week before the fledging when the first falcon set off on first flight


Any and all images of the fledglings and adults during the first weeks of flight on their own including flight/action moments, food exchanges, mock combat scenes, and more.


Digital Alterations
All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization may not be entered. Standard optimization is defined as removal of dust, cropping, minor adjustments to color and contrast, etc. Multiple exposures that have been combined to produce a single "High Dynamic Range" image are acceptable.

No Watermarks

Photographs with watermarks will not be accepted.

Image Size
Because we would love to be able to feature the winning photos in our publications, we ask that you use the highest setting on your camera. Entries should have a resolution of at least 2272 x 1704 pixels (ie 4 megapixels or greater). Resolution can be bigger as long as the total file size does not exceed 15 MB.

File Type
Entries must be in JPEG format. Entries may originate in any format, including—but not limited to—digital files, digital prints, slides, transparencies, color prints, or black and white prints; however they must be submitted electronically via our online submission tool.

Previously Published Material
Previously published material of which non-exclusive rights were granted may be entered as long as you still maintain the right to grant us a license (see “Rights” below). You must be able to disclose to Mass Audubon when and where the photo appeared previously upon request.

All selected photos will be eligible to participate in photo exhibitions scheduled to take place at Hunt’s Photo in Melrose, MA, and at Mass Audubon Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton, MA. The photos selected for the exhibition will be matted and framed by Hunt’s Photo in a standard frame size and color. The expense for matting and framing will be the responsibility of the contributing photographer.

An online auction will be organized by Hunt’s Photo and each image will be made available for auction. All proceeds from the online auction will go to benefit Mass Audubon Blue Hills Trailside Museum.

When to enter

The 2018 Contest runs from September 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018.

Why enter (i.e. Prizes)

The three top winners will be awarded gift cards from Hunt’s Photo in Melrose, MA in the amounts of $250, $100, and $50. At least 3 honorable mentions will win a $25 gift cards also from Hunt’s Photo. Additional honorable mentions may be awarded at the discretion of the judges.


Winners will be selected by a panel of Hunt’s Photo staff in collaboration with three contest judges, based on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, and artistic merit. The judges shall determine final selections with sole and absolute discretion.

The judges will have the right to move photos from one category to another. All decisions made by the judges are final.

Each matted and framed photo in the photo exhibits will include a sign that features the title of the photo, the name of the photographer, and a short bio sketch.

An opening reception is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018 from 2-4 p.m. at Hunt’s Photo, Melrose, MA. The guest speaker will be Tom French from MassWildlife’s Natural and Endangered Species Program. We will also be joined by Ray Brown, host of the Talking Birds Radio Show. The reception will be open to the public with family, friends, and others invited to attend.

Brenda TharpMeet Brenda Tharp Sean CareyMeet Shawn Carey Mark WilsonMeet Mark Wilson

How To enter

Each entrant may enter a maximum of 6 photographs. These photos can be in any of the categories. They can be entered on the same day, or over the course of the contest. All submissions, regardless of original format, must be submitted online.

Ethical Bird Photography

Bird Photo Exhibit encourages every photographer to practice responsible bird photography. Prior to submitting any photograph, you must read Guide to Ethical Bird Photography. A photograph that appears to the Sponsors or Judges to be in violation of one of the following five rules is not eligible for submission and, if submitted, will be disqualified at Bird Photo Exhibit’s sole discretion.

  1. Photographs showing falcons that appear to be stressed or harassed by the photographer.
  2. Photographs of falcons at nests taken with a macro lenses.
  3. Photographs of falcons lured with live bait or decoy bait, such as fake mice.
  4. Photographs of falcons taken with a flash at night.
  5. Photographs of falcons taken by or with drones.

The decision by the judges and Bird Photo Exhibit to disqualify any submission is final.

Rights & Legal Conditions

By entering the photo contest, you hereby grant to Hunt’s Photo and Mass Audubon Blue Hills Trailside Museum (i) non-exclusive, worldwide, irrevocable publication rights for your photos in all Hunt’s Photos and Mass Audubon publicity materials, print or electronic, and (ii) the right to use your name, city, state, and country of residence in such publications. This includes the right to use your photos on their websites, in print and electronic advertisements and promotions, and in our saleable merchandise. All photographs will be credited with the caption "© Person's Name."

Legal Conditions