Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Spooky Birds Contest

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is hosting a spooky bird contest and you have until Halloween to enter. “A Murder of Crows and other Spooky Bird Tales” consists of photos, stories, artwork, and more of birds doing weird but explainable behaviors.

For our entry we have chosen perhaps the most fascinating and oh so creepy North American bird, the Turkey Vulture. Our submission is below:

We observed a large group of Turkey Vultures riding thermals as the sun declined over Devil’s Lake State Park in central Wisconsin. This particular bird landed on one of the jagged rocks and methodically spread his wings and turned slowly to a small group of vultures, all while keeping his wings fully extended. He held this position for over ten minutes.

Turkey Vulture

Why was this vulture doing this? Is it a communication to other vultures?
Why were there so many vultures circling in one particular area?
At one point, another vulture was closing and opening his wings methodically- why was he doing this?

Vultures are so fascinating and do a ton of creepy and gross things so we’d love to learn more about their behaviors.

How do you enter?

Email your entry to

1. Write “AMOC_YourFirstNameLastName_state” in the subject line. (use the 2-letter abbreviation for state in which the photo was taken)
2. Include your name and mailing address in the body of the e-mail.
3. Tell us why you submitted your entry to the Murder of Crows challenge; what’s the story behind it?
4. Read terms of agreement.
5. If you are submitting a visual image attach it as a .jpg
6. If you agree to the terms, send us your entry before October 31!
7. One image per entry, please

You can win some pretty wicked cool prizes!!

* EagleOptics Vortex binoculars, waterproof and fog-proof body, 10x 32, multi-coated optics, bright optics, small handy size, easy to carry
* ALPEN binoculars, 8×30, wide angle, long eye relief, with super close IPD (inter pupillary Distance, which means eye pieces can be adjusted close together so kids can use them)
* CD’s, books, posters, plush bird dolls with bird calls inside, and more.
* Birding for Everyone book by John C Robinson…Encouraging people of color to become birdwatchers
* The first fifty entrants will get a poster illustrated by Pedro Fernandes. This wonderful poster illustrates and describes behaviors of crows, jays, and other birds. We’ll also post selected entries on the Encyclopedia of Life and Celebrate Urban Birds websites.

Read more information and enter now!!

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