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North American Birds relies on readers and contributors for the photographic material that is published in the magazine. The magazine publishes photos for the purpose of documenting exceptional distributional records, plumages, nesting records and the like, and to give observers the opportunity to share their images with birders across North and Middle America, the Caribbean, and the state of Hawai'i. The journal does not pay reproduction fees for any images used in the regional reports or Pictorial Highlights but does pay a modest honorarium for the cover photograph.
The best way to submit material for possible publication is to send duplicates of your slide transparencies, or a set of extra prints, to the appropriate regional editor(s). Make sure that all relevant information is included with the photographic material: what species and plumage, exactly where the photograph was taken, by whom (address and email included), and on what date. Additional information is also appreciated. It's best not to write directly on your prints (write on a label instead and apply that the back); if you do write directly on the back of the print, avoid ballpoint pen. If using felt-tip pen, please make sure that you separate photographs with paper, so that the ink will not rub off of the back of one photograph onto the front of another.
An increasingly popular alternative to sending in slides and prints is to submit digital photographic material, and indeed in the near future, film will probably be made obsolete by these digital technologies. We prefer to receive material in ".psd" or ".tif" format, as they reproduce better than most ".jpg" files. If ".jpg" images are submitted, they must have a resolution of at least 300 dpi at 4 x 6 inches. One difficulty that arises when digital material is submitted is that it is often not labeled; make sure you identify your photographs clearly when submitting to the regional editor, and give your files' names as much information as feasible: for example, "030403ibwosb.psd" could stand for a photograph of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker (ibwo) taken by Sandra Bullock (sb) on 4 March 2003. This will minimize confusion and false captioning for your regional editors. Digital images will be used only in the issue of the magazine for which they are submitted, and if included in the Pictorial Highlights they might be featured temporarily on the ABA's website promoting the journal.
The American Birding Association (ABA) cannot, we regret, assume liability for any material voluntarily submitted to regional editors or to magazine staff and contractors. Material submitted to the magazine will be treated with the utmost care and respect, but photographic material is fragile, and accidents can happen. For these reasons we ask that people do not submit irreplaceable original material to North American Birds. Please submit duplicate transparencies or prints. If you do not need photographs returned, please indicate that on the photo's label. Otherwise, please include a return address with the photos, and the production staff will return material directly to the photographer as soon as possible.
Original material may be solicited for articles or for the magazine's cover. In the rare case that solicited original material is damaged so that it is no longer publishable, ABA will replace it with an electronically-created duplicate. If this is not possible, we will negotiate compensation with the photographer, but in no case will this exceed $500 US. In no case can the ABA assume liability for material once it is in the possession of the any postal service or courier company. We sincerely hope that none of these issues ever arise between the staff of North American Birds and anyone who submits material for publication; none has arisen so far. The journal is a unique cooperative endeavor and relies on a mutually beneficial relationship between production staff and contributors, and we want to preserve that relationship by all means. Thank you in advance for whatever material you're able to send for potential publication.