Int. Wildbird Photographer Comp. - But what is wild?

Apr 30, 2005
Thornbury, near Bristol, UK
I spotted an advert for the International Wildbird Photographer Competition 2005 ( ) which might interest some of you. A condition of the competition is that all pictures entered must be of "wild, free-flying birds".
While I fully accept the wild free-flying condition of entry it does raise a point of what is a truly wild free-flying bird. I take most of my (very amateur - in worst sense :) ) bird pictures at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust center at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, UK. (See to find out all about it but briefly the center is an 80 acre collection in the midst of an 800 acre wetland reserve which is covered by the Ramsar convention and is an SSSI etc.). Obviously photos of collection birds are not allowed as these have their wings pinioned and can't fly at all :cry: but the collection is also home to other birds for instance this black headed gull is truly wild

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as is this one

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The picture above is interesting in that half the birds in it are free flying and half are not. For a lot of the free flying birds it is debatable whether they are truly wild. For instance this bird is a Greylag Goose which is one of a large flock which fly in when the center opens at 9:30 am, hang around all day begging food off the visitors and depart to where ever it is they roost in the evening.

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This large flock stay locally all year round (Or we thought they did till someone decided to ring some of them and we found at least some of them "migrate" to a public park in Glasgow to moult.) Now a truly wild Greylag goose would be away breeding and moulting in Iceland at this time of year rather than feeding out of children's hands in Slimbridge - would a portrait of this bird qualify for the photo competition?
Then there are these fellows:

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They are certainly free flying but are they wild birds? They probably think they are even when intimidating visitors:

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but the Queen claims to own all those except some "owned" by various London Guilds on the Thames.

So the question is where do you draw the line at what is a "wild, free-flying bird" if you are going to enter the International Wildbird Photographer Competition?
Jan 25, 2005

I would think that any bird that is free to fly away would be acceptable. The fact that they have become habituated to humans doesn't take away their freedom, although it does in many cases change their migratory and nesting patterns (not for the better in most cases).

It will be interesting the hear the judges opinions on this. 8)
Feb 9, 2005
Penryn Cornwall England
I have already compiled my entries for 5 of the catagories.

Some of the catagories are very British orientated. However, if you read all the criteria relating to all the information they require then I think that you will find that they are likely to weed out what they consider unsuitable.

The winners of the last 2 years have been from Finland. Year 1 was of Waxwings in flight, and year 2 was a fabulous image of a Black Throated Diver skimming over a lake.

BW. Bob F.
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