Throughout history, North America has been home to tremendous diversity of wildlife and bird species. Since the 1960s, Songbird populations in North America have dropped 29 percent over historic averages. Three billion birds have been lost with additional species decline each year. Many species of songbirds are threatened and at risk for becoming endangered. Habitat loss and the use of chemicals have been linked to declines of over 50 percent in some species. Recent studies revealed drastic population losses in the 529 bird species observed across the entire western hemisphere. While one single factor cannot be attributed to these losses, the data is clear that public awareness and education about this critical issue is needed now, more than ever.
The Art of Conservation® Songbird Art Contest™ is a new art competition hosted by Wildlife Forever, focused on sharing the wonder and species diversity of North American songbirds. Building off the successful Wildlife Forever Fish Art Contest® and inspired by the legacy of artist and conservationist Jay Norwood Darling, participants will learn about a North American Songbird Species and compete for prizes and international recognition.
Participants are required to submit an original piece of artwork accompanied by an essay detailing the unique characteristics of their chosen bird species and conservation needs. Participants will have until November 30th of each year to submit their entry to the contest by mail to Wildlife Forever. A judging event will be held in December with avian biologists, local birders and partner organizations with winners being announced on National Bird Day, January 5th.
Connecting people to nature through the arts has helped to transform policy and management, greatly benefitting wildlife species across the world. Raising awareness and educating the public on how to help recover North America’s songbird population will create stewardship and lasting benefits to people young and old, ensuring the future of conservation.
2021 Rules & Guidelines
The Songbird Art Contest is free and open to all persons in grades K-12 (aged 5-18 years old).
Only one entry allowed per person, previous entries are not eligible.
An entry consists of an entry form, artwork, and creative writing submission (writing required for grades 4th-
Entries must abide by the guidelines below and be postmarked to Wildlife Forever, 5350 Highway 61 N, STE 7,
White Bear Lake, MN 55110 by November 30th, 2021.
• Size Range: Between 8-9” tall and 11”-12” wide, up to 1/4” thick without mat or frame
• Orientation: Horizontal or Vertical
• Art must feature any species from the Official Songbird List.
• Artwork must be the contestants original hand-done creation, you may not reproduce another artists work
and present it as your own. Participants are allowed to use photos, videos, and artwork, including those of
past participants as inspiration when creating your artwork. Any artwork found to infringe on copyright laws
will be disqualified from the contest.
• All mediums except digitally rendered art and photographs are accepted. Please spray chalk and pastel entries
with a fixative to eliminate smudging. A loose cover sheet may be laid over the face of the artwork for
protection during shipping.
• Art must be free of writing including signatures or initials. Artist signatures are allowed on the back of the
Creative Writing Specifications:
• Length: no more than one side of one page, typed or handwritten, with the contestants name, grade, and
state on the front or back.
• Creative writing should show the contestants knowledge, connection to and/or understanding of their chosen
• Creative writing submissions may be decorated, have illustrations or be creative in appearance but the words
should be the main focus of the piece.
• Creative writing not required for contestants in grades K-3 and international participants.
Entry Form Specifications:
• Entry form must contain an email or phone number and mailing address for the artist or participating adult .
• Entry form must be signed by both the artist and an adult.
• If submitting by mail and completing a PDF Entry Form, please affix entry form to the back of the artwork
with a glue stick. If you do not have a glue stick, paperclip the entry form to the artwork and we will glue it
Artwork Return Specifications:
• Entries submitted by a US formal public or private school classroom teacher and all US 1st place winners will
receive free return shipping of their artwork and a certificate of participation for each student.
• US participants who would like their artwork returned must include a $10 payment payable to Wildlife Forever
to cover materials, shipping and handling for up to 5 entries to be returned to the same address. Payments can
be made by including a check or sending a completed credit card form (available at the end of this document)
with your entry. If you are interested in having more than 5 entries returned to the same address, please
contact Wildlife Forever at [email protected] to receive information about bulk shipping costs.
• Please submit your entry digitally. Submit a scanned copy or photo of your artwork and complete the
entry form via the Online Entry Form by November 30th, 2021.
• Creative Writing is not required for any international participant.
• If you choose to send your entry by mail, please know that we will not be able to return it.
How to Enter
The 2021 Songbird Art Contest is now open and accepting entries.
1.With an adult, review the Rules & Guidelines for the 2021 Contest.
2.Select one of the following species from the Official Songbird List:
- The American Robin
- Yellow-rumped Warbler
- Wood Thrush
- Black-Capped Chickadee
3.Utilize books and reputable online resources to research your bird species. You may choose to print out the Guided Research Form to keep track of your findings.
4. Create your Songbird Art Entry consisting of two parts:
An original horizontal or vertical illustration between 8.5″- 9″ tall and 11″- 12″ wide in size featuring any of the species above.
A personally written essay (one side of one page) sharing what you learned about your songbird. Essays will be judged and awarded, but are not required, for contestants in Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade or from countries other than the USA.
5. Complete a contest Entry Form.
6. Submit your Entry.
- Option 1: Mail your entry to Wildlife Forever, ATTN Songbird Art Contest. 5350 Highway 61 N Suite 7, White Bear Lake, MN 55110 after completing the entry form.
- Option 2: Submit your artwork digitally via the entry form included in Step 5. **All International entries should be submitted digitally**
Winners will be announced on January 5th, 2022.