Piedmont High School : Achieve the Honorable

Annual Bird Calling Contest

updated March 15, 2019

This Year’s Bird Calling Contest Format

The Bird Calling Contest is a long-standing tradition in Piedmont that has changed over time, even skipping some years. In January 2019, PHS held meetings for students interested in participating in this year’s Contest. A total of four students, constituting two acts, expressed interest in performing. Based on the attendance and discussion at the student meetings, we considered two options:

  1. a lunch-time performance or
  2. a two-year hiatus until the new performing arts theater opens

Based on a variety of considerations, we ultimately decided to on a lunch-time performance with students being the intended audience. Specifically, we considered: student interest; input we received from students at the January meetings; and input from District educators and staff who have been involved with planning and producing the Contest in past years. This option will provide an opportunity for interested students to participate, continuity for a long-standing tradition, and give school staff more time to search for a television or radio spotlight for future Contest winners.

If you have questions about this, please contact Assistant Princial Irma Munoz at imunoz@piedmont.k12.ca.us or PHS Librarian (and Contest Producer) Kathryn Levenson at klevenson@piedmont.k12.ca.us.


“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. It goes on to recount the multiple appearances on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”, followed by multiple appearances on “Late Night with David Letterman” as well.

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.


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.

The judges will act as experts of the Contest to certify the authenticity of the call.

Both stage presence and smoothness of delivery are considered. The beauty and singularity of the birdcall are essential.

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.

Past Winners

2018 Anders Bjork
2017 Jakob Armstrong, Cade Becker, Emma Nash
2016 Maya Guzdar, Kay Sibal

Tyler Ellis, Maret Sotkiewicz


Sami Barney, Katie Cummins, Jasmine Nadim


Gabe Bolio, James Clifford, Eli Nash


Tialli Moya-Smith, Sheli Shacker, and Cameron Anderson


Caitlin Baldridge, Austin Kelley, Theo Quayle


Andrew Moorhead, Emma Nicholls, Zach Piser


Anna Kritikos, Claire Rogers, & Rosie Talcott


Derek DeRoche, Eric Sezgen, & Eric Wheeler


Drew Joseph & Drew Kessler


Dana Han-Klein & Claire Menke


Claire Neumann & Kelsey Webster


Laci Halliwell, Brandon Paris, & Bunny Rutherford


Andrew Meyer & Cullen Reddy


Alex Hirsch


Jill Pervere & Rachel Winograd


Eli Liliedahl-Allen & Courtney Labree


David Lau & Paul Celestre


John Shumway & Carl Moren

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





All Years











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