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How it works

On 24 October 2009 bird photographers in South Africa will set out to photograph 350 species of birds in 24 hours to promote birding, bird conservation and climate change awareness in the 350-24-24 Bird Photo Challenge, a co-operative volunteer initiative by Birdlife South Africa, Birding Africa tour company and PlusPlusMinus webdesign.

The photos will be posted on a website to dazzle the world with South Africa’s fantastic bird diversity and to be a part of the amazing international day of climate awareness action being co-ordinated by

All bird photographers, professional and amateur, are welcome to join in. You’ll get to be part of an extraordinary international day of climate awareness (along with people in over 140 countries) show your images in a widely-seen forum and have a bulletproof excuse to be out snapping birds instead of doing something boring on October 24.

It’s for birds, the planet, and our future — a good reason to do just about anything.

Here’s how it’s going to work:

  1. Bird photographers register on the Bird Photo Challenge website
    The website will display who will be photographing what and where, so
    that new registrants can choose not to overlap areas and target birds
    with existing participants. News and updates will be posted on the
    website and emailed to participants if necessary.

  2. On Saturday 24 October all participants get out and photograph birds.

  3. Then, as soon as possible — but definitely by 12 noon on Sunday 25
    October — they select up to 10 of their best images and upload these to
    the Bird Photo Challenge website. Submission guidelines detailing image
    sizes, basic caption formats and other advice will be shown on the
    website as October 24 approaches.

  4. Pictures will be selected based on quality and inclusivity. This
    means that our photo editors will try to post the best pictures while
    including every photographer. There are no strict aesthetic rules for
    photos submitted, but featured birds must be unambiguously identifiable.

  5. Challenge partner Birding Africa is hosting a website to display the day’s photos. Designed by PlusPlusMinus,
    this will be centered on a mosaic made up of photos of 350 species of
    birds. Clicking on any one of the ’tiles’ of the mosaic will bring up a
    photo with full caption information — which species of bird it is,
    where it was photographed, and by whom. Importantly, captions will
    contain links to other websites such as the photographer’s, or websites
    about relevant birding sites and conservation organisations, so as to
    promote birds and birding as much as possible.

    Since we may well get more than one great image of a species, and
    also pictures of more than 350 species, the website will have an
    overflow zone where these extra pictures will also be displayed.

  6. The mosaic will evolve over the 24th and 25th of October as
    submissions come in and our volunteer photo editors pick and choose the
    best ones. We aim to have the final mosaic of 350 photos locked down by
    the end of Sunday 25 October for the world to see.

We will link the website to birding sites around the world, and other websites involved with’s day of action, thus guaranteeing a wave of visitors to see fantastic images of fantastic South African birds and learn about birding and conservation in our super-diverse country. Lekker hey?

If you have ANY QUESTIONS please look over the Frequently Asked Questions section below. If you don’t find an answer please email the Bird Photo Challenge volunteers on and we’ll get you the information you need as soon as possible.


Q: By submitting a photo to the 350-24-24 Challenge, will I lose my copyright?
A: No. You keep copyright on all your images. By submitting an image to the Challenge you only grant rights for the image to be displayed on the 350 Challenge website in perpetuity, and to be reproduced directly for promotion of the Challenge. Use outside of these contexts will require your permission, and rights to your images will not be sold without your permission. The 350-24-24 Bird Photo Challenge is a volunteer-run awareness initiative, not a profit-making concern.

Q: If I am visiting South Africa on the 24th of October, but am not a citizen of South Africa, can I participate in the Challenge?
A: Yes, absolutely. It doesn’t matter where you come from, we just require that all photos submitted to the Challenge be taken within South Africa within the 24 hours of October 24, 2009. Foreign visitors are welcome to join in!

Q: When I upload a picture, can I add more than one weblink?
A: You can add more than one weblink in the caption.

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