'The Birders' contest results

By Team eBird February 15, 2019

Watch a movie and this could be you standing on top of the world in Colombia gazing over the Caribbean. Image by Keith Ladzinski/WhereNext.

Congratulations to our winners!

The contest is complete, with 9,226 total submissions. Read on to see stories from our three winners. Stay tuned on ebird.org for future contests, including our monthly Zeiss binocular giveaways.

Jan Wood
Georgetown, TX, USA

A Melodic Journey Through Northern Colombia was the perfect audio visual experience for me as the documentary blended three influential factors in my life: birds, music, and the outdoors. Combining the beauty of Colombia’s birds and landscape with the music of indigenous cultures not only shows the connection between birds and the people of the area, but it also portrays the peacefulness, mystique and reverence of northern Colombia. Just like the Santa Marta parakeets, it’s evident that the people and birds of Colombia take care of each other.

With such great diversity in habitat for the birds, one can see that Colombia is a real gem and that the Colombian people take pride in sharing their natural treasures. With the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Andes all affecting the diverse habitats of northern Colombia, there is an abundance of birds and numerous endemics found in specific locations that are in very close proximity to one another. Watching Diego and Keith working with local guides, artists and musicians to capture the true essence of the Colombian experience was almost like being there with them. Their excitement was contagious!

Birding for many years in the Midwest along the Mississippi River in the United States helped hone my birding skills. Now I am discovering that birding in other countries is exciting and inspiring as I discover new birds and new cultures. As the local Colombian guides and musicians point out in the video, the harmony of nature and birds with music gives me an even stronger view of what birding has to offer me, as well as others.

Teri Graf-Pulvino
Reno, Nevada, USA

The focus of the film was enticing because it aligned well with having the birding include interaction with the local indigenous people and their culture while exploring the geological aspects found along the tour route. Each of the birds observed and filmed so beautifully seem to call us to visit this incredible land of neotropical birds along the Melodic Journey Through Northern Colombia. Sometimes these videos capture what we strive to see but cannot- and since I haven’t visited Colombia yet, I felt like I was there!

“I have been an avid birder for many years. I began watching bird behavior after being introduced to the joys of birding at a young age by a wonderful birder, my aunt. Because of my previous vocation as a sales executive requiring extensive travel in N America and my dual residency in the USA and Chile, I have had the blessings of birding in countries throughout the Western Hemisphere, as well as Europe, Australia and Japan.

Although I have not done any birding in Columbia, my husband (an avid birder and amateur photographer) told me about his observations of the incredible birds in Suma Paz, Los Nevados and Manizales regions. We have visited a large number of other S American birding locations and are very interested in the itinerary after watching the film.

Lee Coombes
Mojave, California, USA

Growing up in England, I was always looking through bird books. I would visit different wildlife refuges in search of birds, or spend weekends in the forest with my binoculars. Birds have always been something I’m passionate and excited about. When I moved to the U.S. at age 13, I was really looking forward to all the new and different wildlife I would see and become familiar with. Even the most common birds were new discoveries for me.

Every year when I take vacation, I keep my eyes to the sky, or the side of the road, in hopes of adding a new species to my list of “birds spotted.” My favourite was Costa Rica, when I came home with a giant pad of paper and the names of many new species scribbled on it. Such a beautiful country, and such amazing, varied wildlife.

As an adult, you get wrapped up in work and finances, and perhaps have less time for things that really bring you joy. When I saw the documentary about birding in Colombia, I got really excited about wildlife. The landscapes of Colombia, and the massive amounts of bird species make it a fascinating destination. I loved the jungle scenes and how difficult it was to get shots of some of the birds. I thought it was great how a musician that had a Vermillion Cardinal tattooed on his body got to see one in its natural habitat. The documentary was beautifully filmed and very interesting. Colombia is definitely a vacation I plan on taking in the future.


GRAND PRIZE: Roundtrip airfare for two (2) from the continental United States, and 3 nights/4 days for two (2) at El Dorado Lodge in the Santa Marta mountains of northern Colombia.
1st RUNNER UP: ZEISS TERRA ED 8 x 42 binoculars
2nd RUNNER UP: LOWA Locarno GTX Lo hiking boots

The Birders film—click to watch

Not familiar with the birds in the film?

Don’t worry, you can learn them! There’s an easy and free way for you to tell what you’re looking at: Merlin, a free bird identification app that can auto-ID birds from images. Download the app, use the Photo ID feature to point your phone’s camera at the birds in the video, and see what Merlin suggests. Learn more about Merlin’s suggestions by searching the species name in eBird.

Thank you to the following supporters for making this contest possible