Caption Contest Winners

The current and past winners of our monthly caption contest

01-13-2011 // NW Staff

Every year, National Wildlife editors select a dozen of the most unusual (and funniest) images from our annual photo contest. We ask readers to submit captions for one each month. Here are past winners and runners-up in our Caption Contest, along with the photos that inspired them. 

December 2010

spotted hyena cub photographed by Chris Gamel


“Look, everyone!  I got my braces off.”
—Ed Debowski, Laguna Niguel, California



All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth....
—Chris Bush, Sharpsburg, Georgia

“I'm too sexy...too sexy for my fur.”
—Joy Fernandez, Phoenix, Arizona

“If Mom only knew what I've been up to.”
—Scott Gardner, San Diego, California

Happiness is getting help with those hard-to-reach places.
—Michael Jarvis, Olathe, Kansas

Four out of five animal dentists recommend Hyena White!
—Geralyn Mott, Glenburn, Maine

“Mom... stop...not here.  This is my school and my friends are looking.”
—Shubha Srinivasan, San Diego, California

November 2010

 Emperor penguin chick jumps from ice, photographed by Sue Flood


Inexperience:  Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to realize that you are a flightless bird.
—Evan Brown, Plainsboro, New Jersey


Ricky quickly regretted taking the “triple-dog-dare” to fly off the ice shelf.
—Doug Croft, San Jose, California

To infinity and beyond!
—Cody Hatley, Willow, Alaska

Percy auditions for the lead in the Dumbo remake.
—Donna Russell, Burlington, Vermont

Battling his identity issues, Jimmy makes a swan dive.
—Jason Schlosberg, Arlington, Virginia

“I'm the king of the... oomph!”
—Olivia Spence, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Nobody had told poor Rex that penguins are flightless birds.
—Debbie Vargas, Sacramento, California



October 2010

 monitor lizards by Jayanth Sharma



“I've missed you, man! How long has it been? Cretaceous? Pleistocene?”

—Alyson Williams, Winchester, Virginia



"You just look like you need a hug!"
—Debra Kelly, Great Falls, South Carolina

Breakups are never easy.
—Charles Krueger, Saint Paul, Minnesota

“Mom, stop!  Everyone on the entire campus is looking!”
—Renee Ross, Branchland, West Virginia

Indonesia's version of Dancing With the Stars is a little creepier, and a lot more entertaining!
—Tyler Sharpe, Ohio

David Lizardhoff and Jennifer Greyscales dance the Rumba on Dancing With the Komodos.
—Todd Thomas, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania

 “I love it when you whisper sweet, non-fiery things in my ear!”
—C.L. Townsend


September 2010

squirrel and deer and feeder by Robert Gaines



“Cool your jets, Bambi!  I'm working as fast as I can!”
-- Nadiza Bulkowski, Merrillville, Indiana



“Listening to all that crunchin’ and munchin’ is making my mouth water.”
—Kathryn Bakken, Everett, Washington

“That's yummy!  Could you get me some more?”
—Joyce Greenisen, Kalkaska, Michigan

"Don't look at me with that doe-eyed face!  You are NOT getting these seeds!"
—Araks Ohanyan, Glendale, California

Everyone had made fun of Bambi for having a lock-picking squirrel as a friend, but she knew it would pay off one day....
—Sarah Rose, Hilliard, Ohio

“Is that the new all-you-can-eat buffet?”
—Tracy Szela, West St. Paul, Minnesota


August 2010

sunflower in shades by Hira U Punjabi



"They call me ‘Mellow Yellow.’"
—Julie Gerkens



Sunny goes incognito to hide from the paparazzi.
—Crystal Boyko, Wakaw, Saskatchewan 

Meet the cool cousin of the Little Shop of Horrors plant: Sunny Dee.
—Joyce Brown, New York, New York

“I'm too sexy for my petals!”
—Michele Fowler, Winder, Georgia

Introducing the long lost Blues Brother, Sunny R. Blues.
—Alyssa Maki, Gainesville, Florida

Sunflower Power.
—Carol Sadler, Atlanta, Georgia

“Take it from me―global warming is REAL!”
 —Ken Schaefer, Columbus, Ohio

“The seed pickers won't recognize me behind my Foster Grants.”
—Terrie Slaton, Atlanta, Georgia

July 2010

tricolored heron chick by Lori A Cash



"That's it.  No more flying through electrical storms."
—Marcia Blitstein, Long Grove, Illinois


“Call me crazy, but all the chicks dig it!”
—Kyle Duffy, Tucson, Arizona

“Don't even think of speaking to me until I've had my morning coffee.”

—Rob Falconer, Lakeland, Florida
“This is the last time I'll use Chia Pet hair gel!”
—Patsy Lewis, St. Augustine, Florida

Nightmare on Heron Street.
—David McLain, Azle, Texas
 “I'm just having a bad heron day!”
—Nandita Sampath, Redmond, Washington

 “What?  You never had a bad feather day?”

—Ken Schaefer, Columbus, Ohio

“You should have seen the BEFORE picture.”
—Lane Smith, Tucson, Arizona

June 2010

squirrel in bird feeder by Philip Lax



Hello, this is OnStar. We have a signal that you are locked inside a cage.
—Terri Procopio, Indianapolis, Indiana



Sometimes you feel like a nut.
—Nina Braun, Boca Raton, Florida

The bird-proof squirrel feeder.
—Sara Cole, Detroit, Michigan

“If I don't get outta here soon, I'm gonna go nuts!”
—Pamela Davis, Newport News, Virginia

 “Boss, I'm in. Now what?”
—Jerry Dawson, Glen Allen, Virginia

You can enter anytime you like, but you can never leave. (Hotel California)
—Daniele Grasser, Phoenix, Arizona

And now, we come to the squirrel exhibit...
—Mary Loftis, Germantown, Tennessee
Ever get that “trapped” feeling?
—Maggie Zawaski, Woodbridge, Virginia
 The cage dancers at the Squirrel-A-Go-Go really shake their tails!
—Greg Zerkle, Reseda, California



May 2010

Black bear by James A Galletto



Black bear singing in the dead of day.
—Miky Turrill, Warne, North Carolina


“And I did it myyyyy wayyyyy.”
—Andrea Ayers, Denver, Colorado

 “The phantom of the opera is there, inside my mind."
—JennaLeigh Berleue, Weston, Florida

 Warming up for Goldilocks and the Three Tenors.
—Loren Booda, Arlington, Virginia

"But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?"
—Mallory Burns, Houston, Texas

 “I solemnly swear that I will not raid bird feeders.”
—Carl Carbone, South Wales, New York
 “....and it's a pop fly to center field to give the Bears the second out.”

—Kathleen Cochran, Acworth, Georgia

 “One, two, three…one, two, three―this would be so much easier if I had a partner―one,  two, three…”

—Deb Gorby, Central Michigan
"...O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."
—Beth Hoffer, Holliston, Massachusetts

It’s not over until the fat bear sings.
—Theresa Shafer, Davenport, Florida

Back straight, arm elegantly out, head up, shoulders square.... Getting in position for his first foxtrot on Dancing with the Bears.
—Lane Smith, Tucson, Arizona

“I hope I make the cut for Dancing with the Bears.”
—Donna Vuncannon, Asheboro, North Carolina



April 2010

turtle and dragonfly by Warren E Boutchia



Turtle Lake―The Ballet
—Kandis Oldroyd, Greenville, Wisconsin



Synchronized Pairs Pond Skating
—William Harbour, Newtonville, New York

Dragonfly daringly demonstrates turtle tail-twister.
—Jennifer Jenkins, Isanti, Minnesota

The dragonfly yoga master was impressed by how well his turtle student could extend and hold the locust pose while elegantly balancing.
—Alyssa Maki, Gainesville, Florida
“Hey, you back there―you're blocking my sun.”
—Lane Smith, Tucson, Arizona


March 2010

African masked weaver by Richard Adams



The final exam from “Introduction to Basket Weaving.”
—Will Newman, Chicago, Illinois



“Nag, nag. I just know when I finish this nest she'll want to add a guest room.”
—Detwiler, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
“The box said, ‘Easy to assemble instructions.’”
—Valerie Grzegorczyk, Ingleside, Illinois

The French Braid is really in this season.
—Lisa Hardy, Granbury, Texas

 “This ‘building a nest’ job is for the birds!”
—Paula Stec, Alma, Michigan

“Now wait―was it ‘under, over, under’ or ‘over, under, over’?”
—Christine Vivian, Goose Lake, Iowa
“I'll put my claw down and you tie the knot!”

—Abiel Wettstein, Holmen, Wisconsin


February 2010

orangutans by Roberto Isotti and Alberto Cambone


"Wait, my mascara's smudged."
—Mary Loftis, Germantown, Tennessee



“We can’t take this photograph until ‘Hear No Evil’ shows up!”
—Lisa Hardy, Granbury, Texas

"And of course, I am grateful to my wife here for her forgiveness.  As I leave office to begin the healing process...."
—Chris Clarke, Los Angeles, California

“I wish those paparazzi primates would just evolve already!”
—Deb Gorby, Chippewa Lake, Michigan
“Don't be shy, Mom.  Everyone is afraid of the camera sometimes.”
—Tara Finnegan, Crestline, Ohio

“Don't fret; you're better off without her.  She's such a swinger.”
—Valerie Grzegorczyk, Ingleside, Illinois

“Tell me when the scary part is over!!!”
—Patricia Pennebaker, Knoxville, Tennessee, and
—Sharon Tuschhoff, Oak Ridge, Missouri


 January 2010

Titmouse on harmonica by Mark Chestnut


“Stevie Wonder, eat your heart out!!!”
―Michele Fowler, Winder, Georgia


“I got those low-down, mind-messin', feather-rufflin', beak-bustin', winter time blues!!”
―Manuel David, Lake Charles, Louisiana

“This one's called ‘The Bird Beak Blues’”
―Deb Gorby, Michigan

“I'm the original Blues Brother!”
―Lisa Murphy, Greenville, Rhode Island

“Forget Rockin’ Robin, I'm here to show ′em some Tootin' Titmouse!”
―Orphie (Sue) Street, Elwood, Indiana

"Look at all the holes. I can store a lot of seeds in this thing!"
―Paula Stec, Alma, Michigan

“OK, everyone―in the key of G...”
―Audrey Taylor, Alameda, New Mexico


December 2009

Polar bear close-up by Daniel J. Cox



“I just can't get the built-in camera on my laptop to work!”
M. Browne, Hampton, Virginia


Objects in the rearview mirror are closer then they appear.
T. Shafer, Davenport, Florida

The Blair Bear Project―Coming Soon to an Iceberg Near You
J. Featherall, Fairfax, Virginia

The dangers of licking a cold camera...
J. Gaster, Bettendorf, Iowa

“Are you always this nosey?”
R. Swart, Georgetown, Kentucky

November 2009

Mother opossum with babies on back


"Are we there yet? I gotta go! How much farther? What time is it? I'm bored. Billy's pulling my hair! Are we there yet? Sally's poking me! I'm thirsty. How much longer? Can we get something to eat?"
R. Swart, Georgetown, KY

Runners Up:

Animal Planet's New Octomom Reality Show
W. Aguilar, Fort Detrick, MD

"Mom, we need a headcount. I think Mikey fell off after that last hill."
S. Detwiler, Pittsburgh, PA

"I'm having a really hard time losing this baby weight."
K. Erwin

"Could you pull over, Mom? Winkie has to go."
K. Hottinger, Vidor, TX

Possum Mass Transit System
W. Lavin, Aurora, IL

—"I think I've finally figured out why my back pains are getting worse."
C. Sands, Princeton, MA

One opossum, two opossum,
Three opossum four;
Five opossum, six opossum,
Seven opossum, more;
Eight opossum, nine opossum;
Where is ten? Now we must count over again!
L. Zerweck, Hermosa Beach, CA

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