A juvenile seagull making an awkward vertical escape with bread in its mouth.
A female English sparrow lording over the silver feeder and pretending to be a red tail hawk to keep her friends away… Read about the English Sparrows on Queen St in Week Six of the blog.
A curious grackle perched over an empty silver bowl from Week Three.
Welcome to the website behind the Toronto Bird Photo Booth Business Challenge 2014 . This is the original bird ‘selfie’ portrait photo contest you’ve been hearing about.
In this competition, bird friendly companies all across the City of Toronto host the bird photo booth for one week to see who has the best birds living near their commercial address. They do it to win prizes – they do it for the birds.
Below are pictures from Week One. Paul Peic set the bar very high in May 2014.
Now that the contest has started, we’ll post a new competitor’s pictures on the Birds of Toronto photo gallery each week. In October the best pictures will win amazing prizes.
This contest is a unique challenge to raise awareness for Toronto’s avian residents, and it salutes a growing array of bird friendly friendly businesses all over the city. This initiative is a fantastic storytelling vehicle that makes it possible for readers to follow the booth around town, from one location to the next, getting updates on each host businesses’ blog while marveling at magnificent photos of Toronto’s most common birds.
The Bird Photo Booth is a high tech wonder that combines a motion detector, a high quality camera and a deep dish bird feeder. The rig doesn’t have to be deployed on the challenger’s business property, but it must be situated (on private property) near enough that we may glimpse the challenger’s local birds. There are prizes for best bird portraits when the contest ends in October.
Bird Photo Booth was a successful 2012 Kickstarter campaign located in California. Bryson Lovett made a bird feeder that’s also a camera housing combination and then started a business selling these Bird Photo Booths to the rest of the world. The high tech breakthrough is really just an iPhone or a GoPro camera nested secure in a foam cradle inside a well crafted wooden box with a glass lens focusing on a feeder dish. The wooden box, foam cradle, glass lens, lens cap, metal arm and feeder dish comprise the shell in which we handcrafted our instrument (s), but more on that later.
We also have a Wingscapes Birdcam Pro which is another category of camera altogether – its a trail camera and does not have a feeder dish attached. This instrument is employed as a photo redundancy, and is made available to provide the host business with more photography options. A good idea to is to set up the bird feeder and then use this rig to point at that device. Or this unit can be set low to the ground to get the Robins and Thrashers that like to scratch the grass looking for bugs. Or as the cover photo suggests, it could be tied to a tree or positioned near dead limbs to catch a woodpecker foraging for beetles.
Toronto Bird Photo Booth Businesses Challenge 2014 is designed to raise awareness for urban birds and bird friendly buildings and businesses; the sponsors make media as they host the challenge, while the images and text are collected at the 2014 Birds of Toronto website. The numerical data and close-up photos will be valuable to researchers here forevermore, but they will perhaps never so valuable as now our effort to raise awareness for the plight of the birds in our largest city. Toronto’s native bird population numbers have never been lower, and continue to decline still more every year because of our highly reflective condo tower culture and all glass architecture, indiscriminate use of pesticides and other toxic elements in Toronto’s urban environment.
1) Best bird portrait
2) Best group shot
3) Best gallery
4) Rare species best art
Contest Ends: October 1st 2014, after which the Toronto Bird Photo Booth Businesses Challenge 2014 story will come to a grand conclusion in mid October 2014.
Birds of Toronto website contains custom code by Vigorate Digital Solutions loyalty programs who built the gallery display software and voter driven photo competition matrix. Vigorate Loyalty Programs are used by major retailers and major leagues sports websites including NFL and MLB, and they’re eager to see if the Toronto Bird Photo Booth will inspire any major league bird watching.
Be sure and read about the generous solutions providers in the long story recorded in the very first blog post Introducing the Bird Photo Booth thanking the folks who came on board including John Conn of Standard Telecom office phones in Toronto who helped us in a big way buying an iPhone 5c and to get us started.
The contest is designed and executed by myself Rob Campbell and David Suddaby DOP in Toronto. The booths are positioned by expert birders who will come together again in Sept as photo contest judges. If you own a bird friendly business and you’d like to host the Bird Photo Booth for one week, please do Contact Us.
We will have administrators investigate the possibility of your business hosting the Bird Photo Booth and competing in our challenge based on factors such as your location and bird availability. And although experiencing a lack of birds at your commercial property is also part of the story, it wont win any prizes in October 2014.