Often competitions that have categories for birds also have categories for other types of wildlife, or they accept both bird and non-bird images in their Wildlife or Nature categories. Usually I would fill all available slots with bird pictures because I felt I had the best chance of an award with bird photos.
But, some competitions had no limit on the number of entries that could be submitted, so I would enter some non-bird wildlife entries. And, lo and behold, some would get an award. Here are those non-bird wildlife images and the awards they won.
This lion portrait, titled "Yes Dear", is my most successful image so far. It was taken at the San Diego Zoo wild animal park in Southern California while on vacation in 2011. To date this image has won:
Boise Camera Club 2011 Year End Awards "Best of Show"
Columbia Council of Camera Clubs "Award of Merit"
Western Idaho Fair "First Place: Animals"
Boise Camera Club 2011 Year End Awards "Projected Image-Specific: First Place"
Photographic Society of America "Honorable Mention"
2014 Columbia Council of Camera Clubs Summer QEID "Award of Merit"
The color version of "Yes Dear" (above) has won a number of awards. In the Spring of 2019 I tried the monochrome version and won an Award of Merit from the Columbia Council of Camera Clubs. It then was chosen as third best image of all submitted for the year 2019 by 4Cs.
This Hamadryas baboon was also a zoo animal. The photo was taken at the Honolulu Zoo and is one of my personal favorites. The Boise Camera Club also liked it and gave "Great Hair Day" a First Place in the Portrait category and then added Best Of Show for a color projected image at the same event. The Columbia Council of Camera Clubs awarded it an Award of Merit for Spring 2015
This Grizzly Bear was also in captivity when photograped at the Grizzly Bear and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. I couldn't resist naming the image "Cocaine? What Cocaine?" and it won an "Honorable Mention" from the Photographic Society of America International Club Image Competition.
And I was at Zoo Boise again to see a very special little butterfly exhibit available only during the summer months. This photo of a Monarch butterfly from the zoo exhibit, titled "Eye Spy", won "First Place" in the Close-Up category at the 2011 Western Idaho Fair. I know; it's a good thing that the judges don't award prizes based on the creativity of image names.
This "Idaho Toad" was captured and photographed in my backyard. The image has been recognized in both color and black and white. The color version got "Honorable Mention" in the 2011 Idaho Outdoor Photo Contest and was featured in full color on the front page of the Idaho Statesman newspaper when the contest winners were announced. "Second Place - Monochrome" was awarded to the black and white version at the Boise Camera Club 2011 Year End Awards. The toad earned a catch and release award fom me.
I had been snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park with two other people all day and we were scooting home. The winter rules are fairly strict and require snowmobilers be out of the park by 5 PM. You can see by the low light on this coyote that it was getting close to sunset. As we went over a hill and I caught a glimpse of the coyote hunting down by the Madison River. I had to stop, rush a bit and flop down in the snow next to the road to get a shot. Fortunately this last minute photo of a coyote hunting in the snow at Yellowstone National Park was one of only 6 selected to represent the Boise Camera Club in a PSA National Interclub Competition. The image got a score of 13 out of a possible 15 which earned an "HONOR" award
I don't know if this is the same coyote as the one in the hunting image above, but it was taken earlier the same day. This coyote crossed this wide field of snow up to its belly and came up on the road right next to where we were parked. It got so close I thought it was going to hump a fellow snowmobiler's leg. "Tough Sleddin" was given an Award of Merit by the Columbia Council of Camera Clubs in the March 2014 Electronic Image Division.
There is a spot in the park where a nasty old bridge crosses the Yellowstone River. But, it is the only bridge for many miles so wildlife comes to avoid having to swim across the river. We went to the bridge and hung out, waiting to see what critters would show up. This "Big Horn Ram In Tall Grass" was one critter that stayed dry and earned an Honorable Mention in the 2014 - 2015 PSA Season Contest.
There is a remote area where the Boise River joins the Snake River. I was walking a dirt path towards the junction when I heard a loud buzzing. What I found was a bush of a species I had never seen before, and it was covered with honeybees."Sugar Shack" is a composite of about 6 different images of those bees at work and it was sweet enough to win First Place in the Creative Category of the 2015 Boise Camera Club Annual Awards Competition. It also won an Award of Merit in the Creative Division from the Columbia Council of Camera Clubs for Spring of 2015. Plus, the 2015 Western Idaho Fair gave it First Place in the Insect class.
There are two water features very close to my home so dragonflies are quite common in the area. But, I have no idea where I got this photo."At Rest" earned an Award of Merit in the Fall 2015 Columbia Council of Camera Clubs quarterly individual competition as well as an Honorable Mention in the 4Cs November 2015 Club competition.
This "High Key Coyote" was captured during my first snowmobile trip to Yellowstone. It was an amazing experience to be able to cruise around the park when there were no cars or crowds. Often we would be the only humans for miles. The wildlife was much more relaxed and simply focused on finding food. This coyote could not care less that his image won an Award of Merit from the Photographic Society of America Nature Division 2015-16 Contest.
In my estimation, zoos can be both good and bad. It's hard not to feel some sympathy for the animals stuck in small cages for life. The Boise Zoo, like most, is well intentioned and a popular place for families to visit, but they still have the small cages! There is one cage of monkeys that is located directly adjacent to a shaded rest area with picnic benches and tables for visitors. The poor monkeys are stuck in the cage watching people eat all sorts of food. I was struck by one monkey that climbed up on the cage to get as close to the food as possible and the result was "Monkey Feet". The image won an Honorable Mention from the Photographic Society of America Council's Challenge 2015.
Under the Grizzly Bear photo above, I mentioned the Grizzly Bear and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. There visitors can get quite close to wild predators, as I did getting this shot. "Looking Back At You" earned an Award of Merit from the Columbia Council of Camera Clubs during the 2017 Winter individual open competition.
Moose were on my photographer's bucket list. I had only seen them from a distance and never gotten close to a big bull to get a decent image. Another photographer came back to Boise from Grand Teton NP and told me about a small herd he saw on his trip. My wife and I had a trip planned to Yellowstone NP for the next week so we added a day to check out the moose herd location in Grand Teton. There are several stories of my wild experiences with the moose when encountered when we got there. The short version of one of those stories is that I met this proud "Woodland Ruler" alone in the woods. Yep, just me and the Alpha male. I'm glad they are vegetarians. And, that's not the best story from this moose experience. You need to meet me in person and buy me a beer if you want to hear more. This big guy tied for high score, and won an Award of Merit from The Columbia Council of Camera Clubs summer 2017 Traditional category.
Evening hours are feeding time for the herd animals in Yellowstone NP. The herds forage the large fields of grass and then move to more wooded places they can spend the night and try to avoid predators. Here a bull leads a group of cows and calves across the Madison River to more heavily wooded area. "Madison Crossing" got a perfect score and won the Silver Medal in the 2017 Photographic Society of America International Exhibition Wildlife Division that included entries from all over the world.
This "Mantis At Rest" flew into my backyard one evening and posed for about an hour. No thrill of the hunt or wild excursion required. I gave up first and went inside when it got dark. When I went ou the next mrning the mantis was still there. This image won an Award of Merit in the 4 C's Fall Traditional competition.
Like the bison in a photo above, elk also seek shelter from predators in the heavily wooded areas of the park at night. On this day I was up and in the park before sunrise to try to get to an area that wolves were known to hunt. Along the way I saw this herd of elk marching single file out of the forest to hunt for breakast. This "Elk Morning Commute" taken in Yellowstone National Park earned an Honorable Mention from the Columbia Council of Camera Clubs during the Fall QEID competition.
I was trying to get photos of individual Dogbane Beetles on a milkweed flower but it was apparently mating season and the bugs were in the spirit. This image won first place in the Close-Up category at the 2012 Western Idaho Fair. Then, after a long wait, the Photographic Society of America presented it with an Honorable Mention in 2019 Interclub Nature competition.
This bison is "Searching For Food" in the dead of Yellowstone National Park's winter. The image earned an "Alliance of Universal Photographers" Bronze Medal in the 2019 PSA China International Exhibition.
Bison do not possess hands or snow shovels. In order to get to edible grasses during the winter they often need to move the snow out of the way with their faces. These "Trail Blazing Bison" show the effects of having to dig through snow with their faces. This image brought home an Award of Merit from the Photographic Society of America Nature Division interclub competition for 2016/2017. It was also selected as a "Semi-finalist" out of 2114 images entered in the 2019 "Share The View" contest.
There is a herd of wild horses in the Black Mountain foothills about 100 miles from my home. You might think this member of the herd is running from danger, or is late for work, but what you see is simply "Unbridled Joy". For no apparent reason, one or more horses will just break into a full gallop across the prairie. They are WILD horses. And, that is not a well manicured park. They run without shoes, but with lots of emotion. This image of that emotion earned an Award of Merit from the Columbia Council of Camera Clubs during the Fall 2021 competition.