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.
The contest will focus on conservation education as modeled in the State-Fish Art Contest® and be available to all ages with a strong focus on youth engagement. Participants will be 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.