Arizona Field Ornithologist

How to submit photos to AZFO for posting:

The mission of the AZFO photo pages is to create of photo archive of rare and unusual birds for Arizona.  Please familiarize yourself with the guidelines below before submitting photos.  We are interested in all photos of rare and unusual birds as defined below, but we are not interested in photos of common species nor do we provide a service to ID your photos. 

Click Here to go to the Online Photo Submission Form to submit photos.

(You can email us at with any questions or any problems using the online form.  You can also email photos directly to this email address if you have problems with the form or prefer to email.)

New:  All rare bird photos and accompanying comments submitted using this online form are automatically also sent to the Arizona Bird Committee (review species) and the Editors for North American Birds (sketch details species).  You no longer need to submit your photos multiple times. (The ABC of course also appreciates any additional information you supply on the ABC form that appears after submitting photos of a review species.)


Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions:

1) What birds does AZFO post photos of? 

The mission of the AZFO photo pages is to create an photo archive of rare and unusual birds for Arizona.  

AZFO is interested in noteworthy avian photo documentation for current or historical records in Arizona; for example

  • Rarities (defined as ABC Review or rarer Sketch Detail species click here for list)
  • Hybrid birds
  • Birds in unusual plumage
  • Out of season birds with very few records at that season
  • Other rarities of regional or county interest with few prior records for that area
  • Unusual or rarely seen exotics


2) What format and size of photos can I submit?

We are volunteers.  It makes our job a lot easier if you can follow these guidelines: 

Crop, resize and compress large digital images.  See our image preparation guidelines for techniques. We would appreciate it if all submitted photos were:

  • in jpeg format
  • 300 KB or less
  • Image size about 1000 X 800 pixels or less (for large images crop tightly first to minimize resizing to maintain image quality, for smaller images never increase the size)

We still welcome images that do not follow these guidelines, but those that do make our job much easier.  Images following these guidelines will be posted sooner and are more likely to be chosen if multiple images are submitted. 



3) What other information should I provide with my submitted photo?

Required information is requested on the online form.  It also makes our job a lot easier if you provide further information in the boxes provided on the form.   Click here for a sample of the type of information to provide

Relevant information for these boxes includes:

"General Notes" box of the online form:

  • explain why the photo is noteworthy or the sighting important, especially for birds that are NOT Review or Sketch Detail species
  • identify other observers present when the sighting was made
  • if you did not not discover the rarity, it is helpful if you can tell us when and by whom the rarity was discovered
  • detailed directions to the location of the rarity are always appreciated

"Status and Distribution" box of the online form (optional):

It is helpful to us if you can write up a short description of the status and distribution of the rarity in Arizona.  Click here for suggested resources to help you do this. We will probably embellish or edit what you provide. If you do not want to do this, the editors will provide it.   

"ID Points" box of the online form (optional):

It is helpful if you can summarize the relevant field marks that are visible in the photograph that distinguish the rarity from similar species.  Again, we will probably embellish or edit what you provide.  Again, If you do not want to do this, the editors will provide it. 


4) What kinds of photos are posted, how many are posted and how are they selected?

AZFO is particularly interested in maintaining an ongoing archive of photo documentation of all Review and Sketch Detail species. 

These are our general policies:

  • We try to post the first few photos of a rarity received. 
  • The photos should show relevant field marks. Image quality is secondary to documentation of rarities and we encourage submission of low quality images that show the field marks adequately. 
  • In cases where there are identification questions, expert opinion is sought and discussed with the submitter before the image is posted.  Photos of birds with questionable or controversial ID can still be posted with the photographer's permission as long as the photos clearly show relevant field marks. 
  • Preference will always be given to photos taken by the discoverer of a rarity if all else is equal. 
  • AZFO usually only posts the first few images received of a rarity.  When many images are received at once, the best of the first few submissions are selected.
  • Once sufficient images are posted to fully document the bird, additional images are usually NOT posted unless they show additional features or are of much higher quality.  Posting these additional images is at the discretion of the editor who must keep the workload reasonable. 
  • Continuing Rarities:  AZFO uses the same policy as the Arizona Bird Committee.  If a rarity leaves an area and then returns (for example a migrant returning to a breeding area), then the AZFO and ABC would appreciate documentation of the return of the rarity.  If the rarity is continuously present, only initial documentation is requested. 
  • Posting occurs when time permits (remember we are volunteers!). 
  • Even when subsequently received better images are posted, the originally posted images are never removed except by request of the photographer.

Policies concerning images of birds that are NOT Review Species or rarer Sketch Details species:

  • Acceptance of images in these categories is at the editor's discretion
  • Acceptance depends on the current workload.  Acceptance is more likely when there are fewer overall submissions and if you follow these steps to reduce the editor's workload:
  • 1) make a case for why the bird is rare enough for posting, i.e., provide information on the status and distribution of the bird at that time or place. 
  • 2) use the online form for submission of images and provide the text requested
  • 3) make sure the images are properly formatted

5) Do I retain copyright on my photos and what are the restrictions on use of my posted files?

You retain the copyright on all files submitted.  You grant us permission to use your submitted photos on this web site and to send your photos to the North American Bird editors and to the Arizona Bird Committee.  No other use is granted or implied.  Any other use of the files requires permission from you, the photographer. 

A bold copyright notice is placed at the bottom of every photo page.  If you feel you need to add your own copyright notice to the image, we request that you keep these as small and inconspicuous as possible.  Since many photos are cropped before posting, we cannot guarantee that these copyright notices will be retained if the photo is not closely cropped. 

HOWEVER, be aware that files posted on the photo gallery are freely accessible to everyone.  AZFO is not responsible for inappropriate,  unauthorized or commercial use of files downloaded from this site.  Responsibility for policing use of posted files remains strictly with the photographer.   If you are overly concerned with how your files might be used, it is probably best not to post them on the Internet.

Anyone interested in using the files posted on this site for any other purpose should contact the photographer directly for permission or contact the Photo Editor who will put you in touch with the photographer. 

6) To submit prints or slides, send an e-mail to and request instructions

Thank you for sharing your photographs with AZFO and its viewers