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Bird Calling Contest

A Successful 55th Annual Bird Calling Contest

The famed Piedmont Bird Calling Contest happened on Friday, March 29, 2024 at 7:00pm, at the new Alan Harvey Theater at Piedmont High School

  • General admission tickets are available for $25.
  • General admission student tickets are available for $15.
  • Plan to buy tickets in advance because this one-time performance usually sells out.

Under the theme of "a rose by any other name would sound as sweet", guests are encouraged to show their creativity and personality.

55th Annual Bird Calling Contest Poster by Kira P.

Prior to every Bird Calling Contest, high school students are encouraged to submit their artwork for the official Contest poster. This year’s winner is PHS senior, Kira Pan, class of 2024.

The Alan Harvey Theater is located at 800 Magnolia Ave., on the campus of Piedmont High School. Please contact Kathryn Levenson, Teacher-Librarian for Piedmont High School, at or 510-594-2781.


Many people wonder about the criteria for a winning call. Is it the delicate soloist with the enchanting whistle worthy of first-place? Or is the best act the routine that receives the most enthusiastic response from the audience?  To assist any armchair judges in the audience, the following criteria are used.  Though judges give scores for each of the three criteria, points alone do not determine the winners. There are intangibles that set the winners apart.

  • Authenticity of Call – The judges will act as experts of the Show to certify the authenticity of the call.
  • Poise and Delivery – Both stage presence and smoothness of delivery are considered. The beauty and singularity of the birdcall are essential.
  • Content of Introduction – Contestants must write their own ‘sketches’. It should include pertinent information about their bird. The information should be organized, well-composed, and in good taste. Humor can be a plus or minus, depending on its appropriateness.

The 55th Annual Bird Calling Contest


“Wax,” a student asked one lazy afternoon in 1963, “can we do something to liven things up around here?”  With this request in mind, Mr. Leonard J. Waxdeck recalled an interesting experience from his factory days and created the show that everyone knows today as the Piedmont High School Bird Calling Contest.  That was the beginning of the legend, as it has been reprinted in contest programs for more than five decades.

The Piedmont Bird Calling Contest grew into an annual event that over the decades has attracted attention both locally and nationally as winners have appeared on ‘The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,’ and ‘Late Night with David Letterman.’ Recently, a former PHS student and participant demonstrated her skills on ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.’ Though the show has changed somewhat over the years, its spirit and traditions were carried on by the many who share in a spirit of innovation.

Though the contest changed irrevocably in the fall of 1994 with the death of its founder, it has been carried on by the many who share in the spirit of innovation and fun of Mr. Waxdeck.  In honor of the tradition that he created, we continue to present the Annual Piedmont High School Bird Calling Contest year after year. Our hope is that with the support of the community and students, this venerable tradition will continue for many years to come.

Past Winners

2024 Clio Salzar, Charlotte Mascola, Carmen Gaylord, Cat Pasion (1st)
2023 Ray Gentemann, Charlotte Mascola, Clio Salzer (1st)
Isabelle Wire & Lulu Tschider (2nd), Megan Foster (3rd)
2018    Anders Bjork
2017 Jakob Armstrong, Cade Becker, Emma Nash
2016 Maya Guzdar, Kay Sibal
2015 Tyler Ellis, Maret Sotkiewicz
2014 Sami Barney, Katie Cummins, Jasmine Nadim
2013 Gabe Bolio, James Clifford, Eli Nash
2012 Tialli Moya-Smith, Sheli Shacker, and Cameron Anderson
2011 Caitlin Baldridge, Austin Kelley, Theo Quayle
2010 Andrew Moorhead, Emma Nicholls, Zach Piser
2009 Anna Kritikos, Claire Rogers, & Rosie Talcott
2008 Derek DeRoche, Eric Sezgen, & Eric Wheeler
2007 Drew Joseph & Drew Kessler
2006 Dana Han-Klein & Claire Menke
2005 Claire Neumann & Kelsey Webster
2004 Laci Halliwell, Brandon Paris, & Bunny Rutherford
2003 Andrew Meyer & Cullen Reddy
2002 Alex Hirsch
2001 Jill Pervere & Rachel Winograd
2000 Eli Liliedahl-Allen & Courtney Labree
1999 David Lau & Paul Celestre
1998 John Shumway & Carl Moren


Piedmont High School is interested in acquiring previous Bird Calling posters, programs, and results for the following years:

Posters Programs Results
Pre-1987 All Years Pre-1992

This Year's Theme "A rose by any other name would sound as sweet"
- 2024 Event Theme

From 2024 Contest

PHS Birdcalling Winners 2024
PHS Birdcalling All 2024

From 2023 Contest

PHS Bird Calling WInners 2023