This set of rules was developed by our Photo Big Day Team when we set the record for species photographed in 24 hours (Texas 2014). The general idea is to intentionally photograph as many species as you can in a 24-hour period, without audio playback or artificial lights. These rules are intended as a template for future Big Days and other photo competitions.
1. No audio playback.
2. All birds are photographed in a twenty-four hour period.
3. Bird identification must be solely and entirely derived from the photograph.
a. Vocalizations, observer notes, and other supplementary materials are not considered.
b. Multiple photos may be used to show different identification points for one bird.
4. A list of all birds photographed must be submitted by the end of the twenty-four hour period.
a. Only birds on the list may be counted in the final results of the day.
b. If a bird is listed and no photograph exists for it, there is a one bird penalty removed from the total.
c. If a photograph exists but does not have enough information for a definite ID, there is no penalty, but the bird is not counted in the final tally.
d. All photographs from the day must be submitted within forty-eight hours of the start of the competition.
5. No flash or other artificial lights may be used by the photographer to light a bird, including flash, flashlights, and car headlights. Existing artificial lights (such as street lights) are acceptable.
6. Any still photography method is acceptable, including digiscoping, SLR, point-and-shoot, iPhone, and other methods.
7. Team members must be within earshot of each other at all times.
8. Only one team member must photograph a bird for it to be countable.
9. For formal competition, all photos will be tagged by time and GPS. This can be done with a dedicated unit attached the camera, a camera that has a built in GPS unit, or with a tracking device or app (such as on an iPhone) that is then used to tag the images after the fact.