The 2022 Audubon Images Awards: The Prime 100


This yr virtually 2,500 photographers from throughout the USA and Canada submitted practically 10,000 pictures and movies to Audubon‘s thirteenth annual Audubon Images Awards. Reviewing nameless picture and video recordsdata, three panels of professional judges chosen eight beautiful winners and 5 honorable mentions. (Spoiler alert: It was a fantastic yr for grouse).

We could not cease there, with so many extra distinctive photographs—and distinctive birds—price sharing. So we’ve chosen 100 extra pictures to characteristic. Displayed in no specific order, these pictures give only a style of birds’ superb selection. In addition they showcase a wide selection of strategies utilized by wildlife photographers, as captured in entertaining and considerate “behind the shot” tales that accompany every picture.

We hope these pictures and anecdotes might encourage you to choose up a digital camera and seize your personal distinctive avian moments. You’ll want to peruse our images part as you get began, together with ideas and how-to’s, Audubon’s moral tips for wildlife images, and gear suggestions. And keep in mind to look out for the announcement of subsequent yr’s awards entry interval in January 2023. Possibly it might be your shot that makes the minimize. 

1. American Woodcock by Hector Cordero

An American Woodcock at eye level faces the camera, its brown patterned feathers clear while the ground it walks on is slightly out of focus. One green plant shoot emerges from the ground in the left of the frame.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: New York, New York

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/1600 second at f/5.6; ISO 4000

  • Behind the Shot: I used to be monitoring the migration of American Woodcocks, one of the frequent collision victims in New York Metropolis, when I discovered this chicken. I spent hours photographing him as he appeared for meals between bushes and leaves. I made a decision to lie down on the bottom and watch for the chicken to return out into the open. Simply minutes earlier than nightfall, he turned to face me and began strolling. I rushed to get the right parameters, focus, and composition. At that second, my efforts paid off. I hope my picture shall be helpful for elevating consciousness about collisions and options to stop them, corresponding to putting in bird-friendly glass.

2. Black Phoebe by Raechel Lee

A Black Phoebe sits in the lower right corner of the photo, its back to the camera. Its head is turned in profile and the bird gazes to the left. A small fly perches on top of its head.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Los Gatos, California

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha 7R IV with a Sony 200-600mm F/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/1000 second at f/7.1; ISO 1250

  • Behind the Shot: On a summer time morning, I observed this browner-than-usual Black Phoebe perched close to a lake’s edge. Taking a look at it by means of the viewfinder revealed extra distinctive colours and textures in its plumage: some rusty fringing close to its nape and higher again and fluffy facet feathers that—although under no circumstances unorderly—appeared resolute in sustaining their very own disposition. It was solely upon reviewing the pictures that I noticed a shock customer who had snuck in to pose with this little flycatcher.

3. Black-and-white Warbler by Christy Frank

In a dark and dense woodland habitat, a Black-and-white Warbler stops in a patch of sunlight along a moss-covered branch. It looks as if it’s in a spotlight, the light illuminating its starkly contrasting face.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Magee Marsh Wildlife Space, Oak Harbor, Ohio

  • Digital camera: Nikon D850 with Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at f/5.6; ISO 2000

  • Behind the Shot: Whereas many individuals race by means of the Lake Erie space to seek out the extra colourful migrant birds, I’ve discovered that merely sitting in a single location quietly will assist me mix into the habitat. In September, I watched as a Black-and-white Warbler appeared and feasted on bugs alongside a department. I hoped the chicken would transfer right into a patch of daylight illuminated on this lush habitat. When it did, I lifted my digital camera to seize this superbly patterned chicken that appeared to glow by itself little branched stage. I relish observing habits and spending time with birds that many overlook. Moments like this carry such pleasure, and I really feel so linked to the pure world.

4. Nice Grey Owl by Benjamin Olson

A Great Gray Owl sits on the branch of an 80-foot-tall red pine. The bark, branches, and needles, as well as those of all the surrounding trees, are covered in the frost, making the large owl pop against the stand of trees.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Close to Bemidji, Minnesota

  • Digital camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens; 1/1000 second at f/5.6; ISO 800

  • Behind the Shot: In winter 2019, simply earlier than COVID-19 hit, I had one of the outstanding weeks of my 16-year images profession. I used to be notified of a spot the place at the least 5 Nice Grey Owls had been wintering, and I needed to go see them for myself. On that first morning, I arrived simply earlier than dawn to see every little thing lined in hoarfrost, which remained on the timber all day. Instantly after this owl hunted in entrance of me, it headed to this stand of crimson pines. I did not go greater than 5 minutes with out an owl in sight all through the day, which is one I nonetheless dream of.

5. Sanderling by Jeremy Rehm

A Sanderling stands on the shoreline and looks out into the warm yellow morning sunlight at the sea’s edge, its right leg just slightly off the red-hued sand. The sky behind is pink and blue. The bird rests near pink, blue, and yellow seafoam.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Chincoteague Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, Chincoteague, Virginia

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R6 with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R; 1/800 second at f/4; ISO 400

  • Behind the Shot: I drove three hours to Chincoteague Island for my first actual enterprise into photographing shorebirds. I wished to seize pictures at dawn, nevertheless it wasn’t till my final morning that I acquired the possibility. I plopped down on the sand on my stomach close to some seafoam and forward of an extended line of Sanderlings probing for meals down the shoreline. When the birds lastly got here close to, I had a tough time maintaining with them. Sanderlings’ little legs appear to go a mile a minute, however this one took a brief breather proper on the fringe of the seafoam. It was an attractive and serene second earlier than the Sanderling sprinted into the ocean foam and continued its seek for meals.

6. Bonaparte’s Gull by John Troth

A flock of hundreds of Bonaparte’s Gulls fly together in a tight bunch, appearing as a band across the center of the frame. Behind them is a blurred, blue mountain, which helps to highlight the birds’ white and black plumage.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Level No Level County Park, Kitsap County, Washington

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and a Canon Extender EF 1.4x III; 1/1000 second at f/7.1; ISO 800

  • Behind the Shot: In early March, a whole lot of Bonaparte’s Gulls collect in Puget Sound far out from shore, resting on the water’s floor and taking brief foraging flights alongside it. Simply earlier than I took the picture, a whole lot of the gulls took flight concurrently, flying low over the water within the route of my digital camera. I tracked this huge group because the gulls approached. Simply earlier than reaching my location, the birds began to regularly achieve altitude, rising and passing as a synchronized group.

7. Tree Swallow by Sarah Devlin

A Tree Swallow in flight holds a pine needle in its bill. Slightly off the ground, the bird’s wings are pointing down, its tail slightly slanted. The bottom of the image is a blurred green, the grass coming into focus closer to the bird.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Harwich, Massachusetts

  • Digital camera: Nikon D500 with a Sigma 150-600mm F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Modern lens; 1/2500 second at f/6.3; ISO 320

  • Behind the Shot: I’ve at all times loved the problem of photographing swallows. Their pace and agility make them a superb topic for mastering the approach to seize birds in flight. On this sunny spring day, whereas out photographing birds at a neighborhood park, I observed a Tree Swallow amassing pine needles and delivering them to a nest field close by. I lay down on the bottom, dug my elbows in, and waited to seize that magical second.

8. Anna’s Hummingbird by Stephen Cassady

An Anna’s Hummingbird appears frozen in flight in the middle of the frame, its wings paused gently behind its back. The slight blur to the hummingbird’s wings blends into a dark background.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Limekiln Canyon Park, Porter Ranch, California

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha a6000 with a Sony E 55-210mm F/4.5-6.3 OSS lens; f 6.3; ISO 320

  • Behind the Shot: On each journey I had taken to Limekiln, I noticed probably the most stunning hummingbirds however solely acquired terrible photographs of them. Sooner or later after work, when an Anna’s Hummingbird flew in from the shadows and paused in entrance of me, I made a decision that was the day. Nonetheless carrying my tie, I adopted the chicken up and down the dry creek mattress. Once I put my digital camera down, the hummingbird darted proper again over and stopped two toes from my face. I snapped a couple of extra photographs earlier than she flew off. It took a whole lot of photographs, eight ounces of sweat, and any respect the native hikers had for me, however I lastly acquired this picture. It was price it.

9. Village Weaver by Maria Khvan

A Village Weaver with a yellow body and black head sits inside of the beginnings of a nest. Green grass folds around the bird, its red eye peeking through two grasses. Behind it are circular finished nests made of grasses hanging from a tree branch.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Maasai Mara, Narok, Kenya

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha a9 II with a Sony FE 600mm F/4 GM OSS lens and a monopod; 1/8000 second at f/4; ISO 1250

  • Behind the Shot: The very first thing I observed after I arrived at my campsite at Maasai Mara Nationwide Park was a loud chirping coming from a big acacia tree. Once I walked towards the tree, I noticed a colony of Village Weaver birds working laborious on their intricately woven nests. The males gathered grasses and small tree leaves across the campsite and used them as constructing materials. I spend my afternoon taking motion pictures. This was one in every of my favorites as a result of the chicken is sitting contained in the nest, however you possibly can nonetheless see its eye peeking out.

10. Blue Jay by Marie Learn

A Blue Jay in the left side of the image carries an acorn in its bill as it flies through an abstract composition of out-of-focus, orange leaves. A distant American Robin, out-of-focus in the background, completes the composition.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Cornell Botanic Gardens, Ithaca, New York

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha a9 with a Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/2500 second at f/6.3; ISO 2000

  • Behind the Shot: Each autumn, I am going to a neighborhood park to {photograph} Blue Jays that go to a grove of oak timber, gathering acorns that they carry off and conceal for winter meals provide. I’ve documented this important survival habits many occasions however not often have had the chance to painting it artistically—till one particular morning. I targeted on a low-flying jay and was panning with it when it flew behind a sumac tree, whose out-of-focus leaves shaped a dream-like wash of coloration between the digital camera and the topic. I saved taking pictures, trusting the digital camera to keep up give attention to the now partially obscured chicken, however not fairly figuring out what I’d get. Analyzing the sequence of photos afterwards, I used to be thrilled by the summary look. A distant American Robin completes the composition.

11. Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Corey Raffel

A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, visible in close-up from her neck and head only, feeds from a purplish-blue sage flower, her bill deep inside the bloom. Tiny bits of pollen from the flower are sprinkled on the bird’s head, and the anthers of the flower are in contact with the bird.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Carborro, North Carolina

  • Digital camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens; 1/800 second at f/5.6; ISO 400

  • Behind the Shot: Whereas making an attempt to take pictures of Japanese Bluebirds (a lifer for me), I observed a feminine Ruby-throated Hummingbird (additionally a lifer for me) feeding on sage. Once I later appeared on the pictures I took, I used to be stunned to see yellow on the chicken’s head. A better look revealed it to be pollen. A good nearer look confirmed that the plant’s anthers had been completely positioned to deposit pollen on the chicken’s head because the chicken reached deeply into the flower to get to the nectar. I additional observed how the flower’s stigma was touching the again of the hummingbird’s head, completely positioned to obtain pollen when the hummingbird backed out of the bloom. I couldn’t assist however be astounded at this excellent instance of coevolution of plant and chicken. Each species profit from the association.

12. Northern Flicker by Jeffrey Kauffman

A Northern Flicker is in midair having just come out of its nest hole. Its yellow wings appear bent as they fan out and above it. Behind the bird is its mate perched on the trunk of a tree, its beak pointed toward the cavity.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha 7R IV with a Sony FE 600mm F/4 GM OSS lens; 1/4000 second at f/4; ISO 6400

  • Behind the Shot: This was my second yr photographing Northern Glints as they raised their chicks. Probably the most difficult half was making an attempt to get each mother and pop in the identical body throughout feeding—they shoot out of their nest cavity like rockets. After a couple of days, I caught on to their routines. I deliberately saved the digital camera in silent shutter mode to make use of the rolling shutter, giving an impact on the fast-moving wings of being just a little curved. I actually just like the impact and proceed to make use of after I can. When the Northern Glints present up within the spring, they grow to be the primary speaking level in our dwelling for the following few months.

13. Nice Grey Owl by Tom Haarman

Two Great Gray Owls balance on the same fence post, both in profile. One is passing a vole to the other. Both have their wings outstretched, the gray and brown stripes on the undersides of their feathers standing out against the blurred woods behind them.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

  • Digital camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III with an Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO lens and a Marumi 77mm DHG Lens Shield Filter; 1/640 second at f/4.0; ISO 2000

  • Behind the Shot: My buddy Rob and I had been driving some vary roads simply out of city after we noticed the Nice Grey Owl. As we slowly approached, we observed that she was calling ever so softly. I used to be about to document a video after we noticed one other Nice Grey Owl down the fence line. I shortly adjusted my digital camera, pondering there was going to be a territorial dispute. I began taking pictures as the brand new owl flew towards the one nearer to me. I acquired goosebumps after I noticed it had a vole in its beak. The second owl hovered on the fence publish, handed it to the primary, and left. Seeing this second was one of the humbling experiences of my life. Once I take a look at this picture, I see a love story. We must always all be so fortunate to have somebody in our life who loves and cares for us as a lot as these two look after one another.

14. Mariana Crow by Trenton Voytko

A black Mariana Crow looks through a hole in the canopy. The blurred leaves of the trees framing her gaze as she appears to make eye contact with the camera lens. The Crow’s stare is inquisitive with her head ever-so-slightly cocked to the right. The rising sun is slightly noticeable in her eyes.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Rota, Northern Mariana Islands

  • Digital camera: Nikon D3200 with a Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens; 1/320 second at f/6.3; ISO 3200

  • Behind the Shot: Micronesia’s solely member of the Corvid household, Åga—the Chamorro phrase for the Mariana Crow—are endemic to the island of Rota. Beforehand they had been additionally discovered on Guam, however the Brown Tree Snake’s introduction within the Nineteen Fifties resulted of their extirpation. Now solely about 200 Åga exist within the limestone jungles of Rota, the place they’re critically endangered and face an unsure future. Amongst Åga, this chicken is particular: She’s a part of a rear-and-release program to bolster the wild inhabitants. A rustling within the cover turned my consideration to the treetops; there, trying down by means of the cover, the chicken made eye contact, her gaze tender and inquisitive as she gave my Nikon a once-over. Hopefully she and her fellow launch cohort will revitalize the Åga’s inhabitants.

15. Anna’s Hummingbird by Matthew Leaman

A male Anna’s Hummingbird with just a slight red and purple coloration to his mostly black neck sits in profile on a green and snowy branch. He is facing to the left and wears a small, perfect snowflake on his forehead. Snow flurries streak past in the wind with a green background on the left, fading to a reddish-brown background on the right.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Seattle, Washington

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha 7R II with a Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports activities lens; 1/200 second at f/6.3; ISO 3200

  • Behind the Shot: In December 2021, Seattle skilled an unusually lengthy chilly and snowy spell. I had two feeders wrapped in Christmas lights to offer thawed nectar, and two others that I introduced in at night time. The feeder that this chicken defended is outdoors the window the place I work at home. Because it began to snow someday, I took a break to take some pictures. Because it was so chilly, this hummingbird wished to remain close to the feeder and was simple to seize. I used to be excited after I noticed the right little snowflake on his head on this picture. I like to see if folks discover it at first look after which expertise their disbelief and awe that such magnificence may be discovered at dwelling.

16. American Flamingo by Brynna Cooke

 A dark green backdrop frames the flamingo that faces the camera, its orange-pink feathers bright. His yellow eyes with pinpoint pupils are in focus staring into the lens for his close-up shot. A few beads of water are rolling down his cheek. His oversized black beak is out of focus, almost as if he is pressing his beak into a window to peer inside.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, Key West, Florida

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 90D with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/800 second at f/5.6; ISO 2500

  • Behind the Shot: Rhett, a male American Flamingo, was courting one other flamingo in a pond. He shook his head backwards and forwards, dipped his lengthy neck, and displayed his fabulous colours. He adopted me across the pond, shaking his head about three toes from the lens. I acquired the impression he loved getting his picture taken (or seeing his reflection within the lens). Endurance and luck are the true winners of this picture as he wouldn’t stay nonetheless. Flocks of American Flamingos was once common guests to the Florida Keys. Right this moment there are nearly none, and the few which can be right here have escaped from zoos. Rhett reminds Key West guests of the gorgeous birds we’ve displaced from paradise.

17. Prothonotary Warbler by Don Wuori

A bright yellow Prothonotary Warbler perches in profile on a moss-covered cypress knee. In its bill, it holds a large mayfly. At the bottom of the cavity inside the knee are two chicks with open bills.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Audubon Beidler Forest Heart and Sanctuary, Harleyville, South Carolina

  • Digital camera: Nikon D5 with a NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens and Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E; 1/2500 second at f/5.6; ISO 51,200

  • Behind the Shot: I used to be lucky sufficient to find and {photograph} an energetic Prothonotary Warbler pair feeding its chicks within the eerily nonetheless, quiet, and virtually mystical Audubon Beidler Forest Sanctuary. The forest’s serenity was often shattered by the hoots of a Barred Owl, however extra often by the flash of the intense yellow chicken coming to enter a cypress knee, the place the hidden nest was barely seen from the boardwalk. It was thrilling to see adults bringing bugs to feed hungry chicks or finishing up fecal sacs. When one would enter with an insect, the chicks often popped up with their mouths broad open. My quick shutter pace mixed with the low gentle led me to do one thing I very not often do—{photograph} the scene at a really excessive ISO utilizing a tripod-mounted DSLR digital camera and an extended telephoto lens.

18. Carolina Wren by Eaton Ekarintaragun

A Carolina Wren faces the top of the frame from an upside-down position, its profile filling most of the frame. Yellow light illuminates its face and the background, tree branches crisscrossing behind the bird.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Chesapeake Seashore, Calvert County, Maryland

  • Digital camera: Sony NEX-7 with a Sony DT 55-300mm F/4.5-5.6 SAM lens; 1/125 second at f/5.6; ISO 1600

  • Behind the Shot: One night in early winter, I observed a Carolina Wren calling with agitation. Curious, I headed nearer and located two birds: one hopping round and a second suspended the wrong way up, its foot trapped within the fork of a twig. As I slowly approached the trapped wren, the primary chicken flew off into a close-by shrub. I rigorously watched it for any indicators of misery and observed the gorgeous backlight on the chicken’s face from the setting solar. I shortly raised my digital camera to seize the distinctive perspective on a standard species. Then I gently wrapped my hand across the chicken’s folded wings, loosened its foot, and watched joyfully because the wren flew from my hand throughout the path to rejoin its accomplice, unhurt.

19. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Peregrine Falcon by Chris Saladin

A juvenile Peregrine Falcon perches awkwardly on a flimsy green lily pad. She hunches as a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher attacks her from above, the smaller bird’s wings raised as it pulls at tufts on the falcon’s head.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/2000 second; ISO 1000

  • Behind the Shot: My husband and I monitor fledging peregrines in Ohio, sometimes arriving as early within the morning as potential. However this pair nested on the bridge inside our Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, so we couldn’t get inside till the zoo opened. Once we checked the nest and noticed that the fledgling was already gone, we toured the zoo and located the juvenile perched on a man-made lily pad, a part of a zoo show. She appeared desperate to make one other flight from this low place till a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers dive-bombed her, repeatedly pecking her with their payments, tapping her with their toes, and lifting the tufts of down from her crown. We ended up speaking fairly a bit about peregrines with zoo members and workers because the gnatcatchers continued to pelt her.

20. Black Skimmer by Tim Timmis

A silhouette of a Black Skimmer appears to be flying directly into the water, its wings directly over its head. Another Black Skimmer is watching the landing off to the right side of the frame, the background orange from the setting sun.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Port Bolivar, Texas

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III with a Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and Canon Extender EF 1.4x III; 1/500 second at f/5.6; ISO 6400

  • Behind the Shot: I noticed this Black Skimmer flying towards a bunch of terns and skimmers immediately in entrance of me. I tracked the skimmer because it got here in for a touchdown. It introduced its wings collectively above his head a couple of inches earlier than touching down. The place makes it seem to be its wings have morphed into one bigger wing over its head. You by no means know what you will get with wildlife images, which retains me coming again for extra.

21. Brandt’s Cormorant by Adriana Greisman

A close-up of a male Brandt’s Cormorant head looks to the sky, and the bird’s iridescent blue pouch below his beak matches his brilliant blue eyes. Fine white feathers protrude from his mostly black head.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: La Jolla Cove, San Diego, California

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/1250 second at f/8.0; ISO 400

  • Behind the Shot: Whereas exploring the realm across the walkway close to La Jolla Cove, I noticed a colony of nesting Brandt’s Cormorants. Photographing right here may be difficult as a result of the colony is on the sting of a cliff. To get this shot, I stood on tiptoe and leaned over. The realm is stuffed with particles starting from twigs and different nest-building materials to shrubbery and copious chicken droppings. Most of those birds had been sitting on nests, however this one male was sitting by himself, spreading his wings and tilting his head again to show his vibrant blue gular pouch in hopes of attracting a feminine. Sadly for this chicken, the one feminine he appeared to draw was this photographer.

22. Royal Tern by Joseph Przybyla

A Royal Tern in profile flies in mid-air, its wings outstretched and pointing down toward the blue water below. A small fish is mid-air just beyond the bird’s open bill. The fish is positioned head up to the top of the frame, its eye visible.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, Florida

  • Digital camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens; 1/3200 second at f/5.6; ISO 720

  • Behind the Shot: I used to be on the north seashore in Fort De Soto Park after I noticed a bunch of terns diving for fish. They took one in every of two actions: If when diving they missed the fish, they flew increased and shook and shimmied to dry their feathers. If the tern efficiently caught a fish, it flew increased and flipped the fish, caught it head-first, and swallowed it. I targeted on the place a tern splashed into the water, adopted it because it rose from the water, and hoped the chicken and fish can be aligned for a fantastic picture. I did this time and again, getting higher at timing the exercise with every dive. This picture was the most effective of the sequence, the chicken’s wing place and head completely angled.

23. American Avocet by Sadie Hine

 A group of American Avocets stand in a bay, the black and white of their feathers reflected in the water. In the upper right corner of the frame, an avocet with orange feathers peeks out from the crowd.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Mountain View, California

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 90D with a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC G2 lens; 1/320 second at f/9; ISO 800

  • Behind the Shot: One cloudy day in January, I made a decision to move to my native birding spot alongside the San Francisco Bay. I had been watching a bunch of American Avocets in the identical place commonly, so I made positive to see what they had been as much as. Your complete scene of practically 100 birds was very black and white, a results of the climate and the birds’ winter plumage. However one of many birds stood out in full breeding plumage, its ruddy brown feathers hidden behind the opposite birds. It wasn’t one thing I anticipated to see in January.

24. Mute Swan by Jeff Moore

A close-up of a Mute Swan’s white head with dark mud covering its entire face, cheek, and knob above his bill fills the frame. The mud creates a splattered pattern.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens and a Canon Extender 1.4x III; 1/800 second at f/5.6; ISO 800

  • Behind the Shot: I used to be taking pictures numerous waterbirds on the shore of Chicago’s Lincoln Park North Pond when this Mute Swan slowly swam in the direction of me. It had been feeding within the pond by sticking its lengthy neck underwater within the mud. The darkish, gumbo-like mud caught to its head, making a sample that appeared just like the fire-flames on previous scorching rods. When the chicken passed by, it appeared as me as if it was superbly badass, seemingly unaware its magnificence was, properly, muddied.

25. Widespread Raven by Shane Kalyn

Two Common Raven heads fill the frame, one’s beak open while the other tilts its head, appearing to inspect the first’s mouth. Their shiny feathers are in sharp contrast to the white background.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Canadian Mount Seymour Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

  • Digital camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at f/7.1; ISO 900

  • Behind the Shot: Each winter I go to the native mountains surrounding Vancouver to see ravens throughout their courtship time. Some behaviors are fairly stunning to witness, particularly figuring out that they mate for all times. They chase one another round within the air and on the bottom, delicately preen one another’s feathers, and alternate presents like small rocks, twigs, moss, and lichens. This pair took a break from chasing one another across the treetops and landed near the place I stood. I acquired on my abdomen within the snow to {photograph} them. After strolling round for a bit, they stopped to examine one another’s beaks, selecting off small items of dust and snow. The perfect half, although, had been the sounds they made, speaking to one another in tender and delicate caws.

26. American Avocet by Tim Timmis

A lone American Avocet rides the waves while walking though the water with only its neck and head sticking out of the water. Its long, black beak points to the lower left of the image to a blurred crest of a wave.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Bolivar Flats Audubon Shorebird Sanctuary, Texas

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and Canon Extender EF 1.4x III; 1/640 second at f/7.1; ISO 6400

  • Behind the Shot: My favourite methodology to take shorebird pictures is to lie on the moist mudflats at Bolivar Flats on the Texas Gulf Coast utilizing a floor pod to get eye stage with the birds. They don’t acknowledge you as an individual and can get very shut. This lone avocet was using the waves whereas strolling although the water. This picture offers the phantasm that I used to be within the water, however I used to be really mendacity on the shoreline of a sandbar. What I really like about this shot is the water swirling across the avocet’s neck, which supplies it a magical really feel.

27. Bald Eagle by Kazuto Shibata

A Bald Eagle flies toward the camera with a fierce look in its eyes. Its wings extend widely above its head, and the eagle is in focus against a blurred blue background of sky. Its yellow talons clasp a dead gull.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Bow, Washington

  • Digital camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens; 1/1600 second at f/5.6; ISO 160

  • Behind the Shot: I noticed an grownup Bald Eagle and a juvenile preventing for meals whereas I used to be driving. I shortly pulled over to observe and {photograph} the battle, which seemed to be over a useless gull. The grownup eagle snatched the meal from the younger eagle and began flying towards me simply as I acquired the shot.

28. Killdeer by Lisa Sproat

A Killdeer in the right side of the frame stalks through the mudflats in golden evening light. Surrounded by a hazy cloud of glowing shore flies, the bird looks at the camera, black stripes on its neck and head a stark contrast to the blue and brown colors in the rest of the image.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: King County, Washington

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens; 1/2500 at f/4; ISO 500

  • Behind the Shot: I used to be strolling by means of an city park one night after I noticed a small group of Killdeer foraging for worms alongside the lakeshore. I acquired belly-down within the mud to get a greater angle. By way of the viewfinder, I observed that, because the birds moved by means of the mudflats, they kicked up little clouds of shore flies, which glowed within the afternoon gentle. Nothing on this scene was significantly stunning taken from a wide-angle perspective; I beloved how getting in tight to the macro world reveals how particular any second in nature may be.

29. Snowy Owl by Simon d’Entremont

A Snowy Owl looks ready to take off from its perch, its wings over its head at 90-degree angles. Behind it, the sun is setting, giving off a yellow glow. There is snow on the ground, and a few sparse grasses below the owl, which looks slightly towards the camera.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Grand Pré, Nova Scotia, Canada

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens; 1/2000 second at f/4.5; ISO 3200

  • Behind the Shot: I got here throughout this Snowy Owl within the night, perched excessive on a snow-covered dune close to the ocean. Once I observed that the sundown was getting fairly colourful, I positioned myself the place the setting solar can be behind the chicken. I knew that the owl would probably depart quickly to hunt. I stayed low in order to not disturb the chicken and waited. When the owl stretched and pooped (an precise chicken images tip, as massive birds will typically do that earlier than leaving a perch), I knew it was time. Simply because the owl took off, I fired off numerous photographs.

30. Wilson’s Plover by Cynthia Barbanera-Wedel

A Wilson’s Plover faces the camera in midair, its wings outstretched and legs straight as if it’s just jumped up from the sand. Behind it is the blurred shoreline in shades of blue, aqua, purple, beige, and gray, which contrast with the mostly white bird.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, Florida

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and a B+W 77mm XS-Professional Clear MRC-Nano 007 Filter; 1/8000 second at f/5.6; ISO 800

  • Behind the Shot: I used to be mendacity on my abdomen with my elbows resting within the moist sand as I watched this Wilson’s Plover bathe. The chicken shook off its wings and took flight as I launched my steady shutter. I really like its wing place, the layers of coloration within the sand, and saltwater spray behind it. At Fort De Soto, there are normally a myriad of birds round, however I’m a fan of the plovers. So many individuals appear to stroll the seashores with out seeing them in any respect; I really like the thought of taking pictures what others might not even discover.

31. Anna’s Hummingbird by Michael Armour-Johnson

A female Anna's Hummingbird appears sideways in the middle of the frame, surrounded by bright green leaves. She looks as if she’s lying down, but she is wiping her head on water dotting the leaf.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Lakewood, Washington

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 90D with a Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens; 1/1250 at f/6.3; ISO 4000

  • Behind the Shot: I stood out on a third-floor patio, digital camera gear at hand, in a lightweight rainstorm. Trying down, I observed a hummingbird bathing within the water pooling on shrub leaves. Sensing a photograph alternative, I took a number of pictures because the chicken twisted and turned, wiping her head on the shiny leaves.

32. Mallard by Alexander Eisengart

A Mallard drake looks straight at the lens, his yellow beak slightly out of focus. His blue head is surrounded by what looks like a halo of white light.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Beachwood, Ohio

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha a6400 with a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens; 1/500 second at f/2.8; ISO 100

  • Behind the Shot: Each spring, summer time, and fall, native Mallards come to my patio for a snack at sundown and eat the birdseed we put out. Most of those birds are launched home Mallards, however some, like this one, had been born within the wild. Sooner or later at sundown, I made a decision that I wished a photograph of this man, one in every of our largest and most dominant males. I went out, lined up my shot, and took his portrait.

33. Very good Starling by Maria Khvan

A bluish-green Superb Starling flies in the air between the green branches of an acacia tree. The tree’s spindly branches extend to the upper edges of the frame and have long white spikes. The bird’s eyes are pale yellow, and its head is turned to the right as if it were watching someone or something.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Serengeti Nationwide Park, Arusha, Tanzania

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha a9 II with a Sony FE 600mm F/4 GM OSS lens; 1/6400 second at f/5; ISO 1250

  • Behind the Shot: I used to be sitting at a campsite in Serengeti Nationwide Park between safari excursions after I aimed to take an “in flight” picture of any chicken I noticed. After a couple of minutes, I noticed a Very good Starling land on a close-by acacia tree. I set my digital camera to a quick shutter pace and targeted on the chicken. As quickly as I noticed it on the brink of fly, I took as many pictures as I might. This shot was my favourite as a result of the chicken appears barely evil.

34. Least Tern by Shijun Pan

A flying Least Tern in profile brings a fish to another tern sitting on a piece of driftwood. The bird with the fish is in the air, its wings stretched and pointed over its head, the catch silver in the light. The bird on the wood stands with its back to the camera, its head turned to the other bird and bill opened in preparation.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Garnier Bayou, Fort Walton Seashore, Florida

  • Digital camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with a 300mm f/4.0 lens; 1/1600 second at f/4.5; ISO 500

  • Behind the Shot: Each spring, little terns play, fly, feed, and mate round my yard dock within the bayou. They’re extremely elusive, at all times splashing and diving into water to catch prey or hurriedly carry out aerial shows. I noticed a female and male by means of my window one morning and ran outdoors to arrange my digital camera. Simply in time, I captured them sharing a small fish atop of a bit of driftwood. This fast second backlit by the glow of a bayou dawn introduced me a way of gratitude for the wonder nature regularly gives.

35. Canada Jay by John Welch

A white and gray Canada Jay perches on what looks like a sculpture of ice, its wings outstretched, blurred slightly from motion. The tree top it is standing on is bent in an arch and encrusted with delicate rime ice crystals.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: White Mountain Nationwide Forest, New Hampshire

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 6D with a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens; 1/2000 second at f/6.3; ISO 1000

  • Behind the Shot: In winter, the world above 4,000 toes within the White Mountains is brutally chilly however enchanting. Impressively, Canada Jays will mate, nest, and lift chicks up right here between February and early April, when temperatures are nonetheless under zero levels Fahrenheit, and the forest is buried in snow and encased in rime ice. I made the 6-mile roundtrip hike with 2,200 toes of vertical achieve on a 10-degree January morning to {photograph} this chicken. The largest problem was standing nonetheless within the biting wind, and I routinely stuffed my palms below my garments to regain feeling in them. It paid off when this Canada Jay landed on the highest of a stunted spruce tree, shattering delicate rime ice crystals.

36. Inexperienced Jay by Matthew Gutt

Facing directly to the camera, this yellow-bodied, blue-headed Green Jay rests on a low tree branch. Fluffed to resemble a cotton ball, the bird is just off center in the frame, with blurred leaves and tree branches behind it.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Laguna Atascosa Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, Los Fresnos, Texas

  • Digital camera: Nikon D7100 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens and tripod; 1/160 second at f/5.6; ISO 1250

  • Behind the Shot: As a seasonal wildlife technician with the Nationwide Park Service, I discover many locations whereas working to guard wildlife. On project in Padre Island Nationwide Seashore, I spent my off time exploring state parks and native preserves. I spent many weekends looking for the gorgeous Inexperienced Jay with no luck. Then one spring morning, because the solar crammed the horizon, I heard the tune I had been looking for. I adopted the notes to a grouping of timber and shrubs. Inside minutes I noticed my first Inexperienced Jay erratically hopping within the thick, low-hanging branches. I arrange my tripod, and as I completed tightening the final latch, the erratic motion lastly fell nonetheless.

37. Vermilion Flycatcher by Cynthia Lockwood

A male Vermilion Flycatcher perches on a white tree branch, his body in profile as he looks to the left. His red feathers stand out against a dark background, while the sun also illuminates flying insects.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Brazos Bend State Park, Needville, Texas

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and a Canon Extender EF 1.4x III; 1/200 second at f/9; ISO 1250

  • Behind the Shot: I spent the day mountain climbing and taking pictures of the various marsh dwellers, together with birds and alligators. Because the day was ending, I climbed to the highest of the remark tower to {photograph} the sundown. Immediately I observed a male Vermilion Flycatcher flying backwards and forwards from a tree department because it snatched bugs in midair. I switched from a wide-angle to a telephoto lens to raised seize his antics.

38. Pink-crowned Cranes by Marti Phillips

More than two dozen silhouetted Red-crowned Cranes stand in the middle of a river shrouded in mist. The riverbanks are covered in snow, with dark tall hills in the background. The first rays of the sun make the mist appear yellow.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Setsuri River, Tsurui Village, Hokkaido, Japan

  • Digital camera: Canon 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens; 1/800 second at f/8.0; ISO 400

  • Behind the Shot: Though deeply entrenched in Japanese tradition, the Pink-crowned Crane was on the point of extinction till robust conservation efforts introduced it again. Greater than half of the world’s inhabitants can now be present in japanese Hokkaido. Many roost in a single day in the midst of this river on the island. On a winter morning, in what was most likely the coldest temperature that I had ever skilled, I acquired up early to catch the primary gentle on the river. This shot was taken simply because the solar’s rays appeared from over the horizon, casting a highlight on the birds as they awoke and flew off to the fields to feed.

39. Canada Goose by Thirumalai Suresh

An adult Canada Goose is covered in water. The reflection of the bird is displayed in the water. As the water glows in the morning sunlight, the bird is gazing straight ahead, and water spills from its head, eyes, and bill.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Shoreline Lake, Mountain View, California

  • Digital camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 600mm f/4 FL ED VR lens; 1/2500 second at f/4; ISO 1000

  • Behind the Shot: I hoped to seize geese within the stunning morning gentle, however a flock of Canada Geese close to the lake caught my consideration. One dipped its beak into the water, and I immediately wished to seize its grace. I adjusted my digital camera settings and laid flat on the bottom to get eye-level photographs. Whereas I modified my settings, one other goose approached a spot with good lighting and began dipping its head within the water as properly. I fired a flurry of photographs and captured the goose’s direct gaze with the water droplets, its reflection within the lake.

40. Wooden Duck by Liron Gertsman

This closeup image features the spectacular feather details of a male Wood Duck. Blue, gold, and purple are several prominent colors on display in the bird’s plumage. Photographed on a rainy day, his body is covered in glistening water droplets.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Delta, British Columbia, Canada

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and Canon EF EOS R Mount Adapter; 1/160 second at f/14; ISO 2500

  • Behind the Shot: Seeing a day of torrential rain within the forecast, I headed out to a neighborhood wildlife refuge to {photograph} geese within the components. I had been engaged on a sequence of pictures capturing particulars within the feathers of geese for fairly a while, so I used to be trying ahead to this chance to seize birds with water droplets on their our bodies. I noticed a male Wooden Duck sitting up on a fence, overlooking a big slough. I approached slowly and targeted on his droplet-covered again. When folks consider locations with stunning, brightly coloured birds, they have a tendency to consider the tropics. Spectacular birds may be discovered nearly anyplace although.

41. Black Skimmer by Marie Learn

A Black Skimmer carrying a small fish in its bill flies directly toward the viewer. The bird is positioned in the middle of the frame with its wings extending beyond the top of the frame. The bird’s wings are almost completely vertical and parallel to each other against a blurred green background.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Nickerson Seashore Park, New York

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha a9 with a Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/1600 second at f/6.3; ISO 4000

  • Behind the Shot: This picture was captured close to a tern and skimmer breeding colony at a well-liked seashore on the southern shore of Lengthy Island, the place the birds are pretty tolerant of individuals. Late one afternoon, I turned my consideration to flight photographs of skimmers arriving with fish to feed their younger, zooming in for closeups. Below these situations, it’s a battle to maintain the chicken correctly framed, however at one level, I managed to seize a number of photographs of a skimmer flying immediately towards me. A number of issues clinched this shot as my favourite: the bizarre entrance view, the symmetry of the wings on the peak of the upstroke, the shallow depth of subject, drawing consideration to the chicken’s eyes, and, after all, the hapless fish.

42. Marbled Godwit by Josiah Launstein

The surface of the water is broken by only the feathers and beak of a Marbled Godwit flinging water into the air as it bathes. The beige tones of the wetland reeds appear soft in the background. The long beak is pointing straight upward, and there are water droplets across the scene.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Frank Lake, Alberta, Canada

  • Digital camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at f/7.1; ISO 1000

  • Behind the Shot: I used to be photographing shorebirds and waterfowl at one in every of my favourite wetland areas when a pair of Marbled Godwits caught my eye. As one preened, the opposite waded within the shallows. I adopted this godwit with my lens because it labored alongside the sting of the reeds. All of a sudden, it determined to take a full bathtub. It dropped down into the water and submerged its head and neck, then tossed the water in every single place. I used to be mendacity within the mud alongside the other financial institution and timed my shot to when its beak was completely perpendicular to the floor. I like the way it isn’t instantly clear what you’re within the ensuing picture.

43. Pink-breasted Nuthatch by James MacKenzie

A Red-breasted Nuthatch hangs from a pinecone, its body pointing toward the ground. The small bird is blue-gray on top and orange on the bottom, sporting a black face stripe boldly across a white cheek. The background of the image is mostly orange, matching the bird.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Salmon Level, Vancouver Island, Canada

  • Digital camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/640 second at f/5.6; ISO 1600

  • Behind the Shot: In my first winter since shifting to Vancouver Island, the climate was overcast, damp, and windy. On the finish of an extended birding stroll alongside the Pacific Ocean, I first heard the everyday (and lovely) honking of a Pink-breasted Nuthatch. Once I noticed it foraging industriously alongside the pine cones of a Douglas fir subsequent to my automotive, I shortly positioned myself to keep away from my photographic nemesis: a white background. My solely different possibility was a constructing at present below development. I at all times attempt to combine coloration into my backgrounds and artistic choices like utilizing artifical constructions typically yield rewards.

44. Bald Eagle by Suresh Easwar

A Bald Eagle flies just over the water. Facing the camera, it tows the remains of a freshly killed duck. Droplets of water spray behind the raptor, the white feathers of its tail fanned out behind it.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Central Park, New York, New York

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III with a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens and Canon Extender EF 2x III; 1/1000 second at f/8; ISO 2000

  • Behind the Shot: For 2 weeks in January 2022, a Bald Eagle terrorized the denizens of the reservoir in New York Metropolis’s Central Park. The eagle, banded “R7” in 2018 by Connecticut Fish and Wildlife, would swoop in and snare gulls in mid-flight. One frigid morning, I walked to the reservoir, which had practically fully froze. The solar had simply risen, and I noticed the eagle within the distance, defeathering and devouring its prey on the ice. I ran as shortly as I might with my heavy gear and positioned myself. The floor of the icy reservoir shimmered golden-yellow from the daylight that mirrored off skyscraper window glass. I bumped up the ISO to 2000 and set my digital camera to the best burst price it allowed. Because the eagle took off, it left feathers, viscera, and different physique elements from its kill strewn under.

45. Trumpeter Swan by Natalie Behring

A Trumpeter Swan stands in profile in shallow water, its wings outstretched behind it and its chest arched. The light is coming from behind, so the swan is slightly silhouetted. The mist in the air is iridescent with oranges and yellows while the snow at the bottom of the frame is blue.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Kelly Heat Springs, Wyoming

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens; 1/640 second at f/5.6; ISO 100

  • Behind the Shot: It was bitterly chilly on New Yr’s Day 2021, and it took numerous willpower to bundle up and drive over the Teton Go, however I wished to begin the yr off with some good pictures. I wandered down the highway to Kelly, the place I assumed I’d see some moose. Once I handed a heat spring, which usually appears like an unusual pond, I noticed mist coming off the water and swans swimming. I scrambled out of the automotive. My fingers froze instantly, however I nonetheless spent 20 minutes taking pictures, solely going again into my automotive to heat up and watch for the solar get decrease within the sky. Once I noticed the setting solar had turned the mist yellow, I acquired this picture as a swan stretched its wings.

46. Yellow-crowned Night time-Heron by Caleb Hoover

A Yellow-crowned Night-Heron looks slightly to the right, his head and body in the frame. His breeding plumes blow in the wind, sticking out from his blue-gray body. The lower half of the image is blurred green, contrasting with the bird’s bright orange eyes.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Sarasota, Florida

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF 600mm F/4L IS USM lens; 1/1000 second at f/4; ISO 400

  • Behind the Shot: A small Yellow-crowned Night time-Heron had discovered a house in a small stretch of mangroves surrounded by tall buildings, a busy highway, and boat site visitors. He appeared comparatively undisturbed by the hectic environment. I had watched this chicken hunt and chase off youthful herons from his coveted looking grounds. After a profitable crab catch, the happy heron started preening, his breeding plumes blowing within the air. To achieve him in entrance of the mangroves, I military crawled to my topic. The brief distance felt like an eternity. As soon as I lined myself up, the heron composed himself and did a post-preen shake to align his attractive plumage.

47. Clark’s Grebe by Dakota Lamberson

In soft warm light, a pair of white Clark’s Grebes with bright red eyes and yellow beaks and feet look as if they are running across a glassy lake. Their necks outstretched and wings flung back, they are captured side-by-side. Huge water splashes trail behind them.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Santa Margarita Lake, Santa Margarita, California

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/6400 second at f/5.6; ISO 1250

  • Behind the Shot: Ever since I first noticed grebes speeding at a lake close to my dwelling, I’ve wished to seize the courting habits. Once I tried to {photograph} them from the shore, although, they’d by no means rush shut sufficient. I observed that fishing boats that moved proper by them didn’t scare the birds, so I made a decision to attempt kayaking. After a number of outings, I spotted the most effective time to see grebes speeding in good gentle was within the morning. I acquired up early and launched my kayak whereas most grebes had been nonetheless sleeping, their heads tucked below their wings. I paddled close to a bunch whereas staying distant so I didn’t pressure them to maneuver and positioned myself with the solar behind me. Hours later they turned extra energetic, and this pair rushed proper previous me!

48. Austral Pygmy-Owl by Carter Kremer

An Austral Pygmy-Owl perches on a tangle of green moss-covered branches and looks over its shoulder. In the background, the blurred sky is colored yellow and orange from the setting sun.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Puerto Natales, Chile

  • Digital camera: Nikon D850 with a Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens; 1/640 second at f/5.6; ISO 1250

  • Behind the Shot: Whereas residing in Chile, I struck out a number of occasions on the lookout for this tiny owl. Lastly, I had luck on the night of my birthday. I acquired okay pictures however determined to return again later that week to see if I might get luckier. To my shock, I did. This owl spent an hour looking between a few perches as the gorgeous Chilean solar set on the mountains behind it.

49. Yellow-breasted Chat by Sandrine Biziaux-Scherson

A yellow-fronted bird in profile sings, its beak open, in a sea of tall stems that end in bunches of small yellow flowers. The bird is roughly the same size as the flower pods, some of which are in focus around the bird.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Irvine, California

  • Digital camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/1000 second at f/5.6; ISO 640

  • Behind the Shot: Each spring I am going to the identical spot to rendezvous with an attractive Yellow-breasted Chat. I wait till the mustard flowers are in full bloom, a beautiful cowl for the chicken. I rigorously scan the realm, listening for its whistles, screeches, mew calls, cackles, high-pitched notes, and clucks. After some time, there it’s, proud and fantastic, within the open, singing its coronary heart out as if its life trusted it. It offers me its finest spring tune and reveals its vibrant coloration. My digital camera is prepared, I take a breath to relax my pleasure. Click on!

50. Snowy Owl by David Lei

 A white Snowy Owl with dark barring across her body and yellow eyes perches on the highest branch of a locust tree. Her back to the frame, she looks to the side and into the distance, a quilt of yellow and blue squares from an illuminated apartment building blurred in the background.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Central Park, New York, New York

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha 7S III with a Sony FE 600mm F/4 GM OSS lens and a Sony FE 2x Teleconverter; 2.5 second at f/8; ISO 8000

  • Behind the Shot: Within the winter of 2021, New York’s Central Park had its first reported Snowy Owl in additional than 130 years. She perched on this locust tree commonly, so I used to be in a position to experiment with completely different compositions and strategies with out disturbing the owl. I discovered a place a number of hundred toes away to border the illuminated home windows of a Fifth Avenue condo constructing within the background and took this picture utilizing an extended publicity with out flash. Perched owls may be fairly nonetheless, and the wind was fortunately not blowing. Given the gap, I used a 600mm lens with a 2x teleconverter, in addition to a tripod and distant shutter launch. The owl was an emblem of hope and surprise in a metropolis struggling significantly by means of the pandemic, together with me personally. My expertise watching her led me to develop a deep ardour for city owls.

51. Inexperienced Heron by Michael Fogleman

A Green Heron prowls in a pond with its neck outstretched and head close to the water, stalking potential prey. The photo is taken head on, and much of the bird is out of focus. The eyes are in tack-sharp focus, emphasizing the bird's intense concentration on its hunt.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Salem Pond Park, Apex, North Carolina

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 100-500mm F/4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens; 1/500 second at f/7.1; ISO 1000

  • Behind the Shot: After discovering that a number of pairs of Inexperienced Herons had been nesting at a pond only a mile from my dwelling, I began checking in on them virtually on daily basis through the breeding season. The pond offered wonderful alternatives to watch and {photograph} these birds from a comparatively brief distance away. On today, one Inexperienced Heron was trying to find meals on the pond’s edge. Some people are extra approachable than others, and this one was comparatively tame. Because it headed in my route, I acquired some good photographs of its stalking pose. Very quickly after this picture was taken, it caught an enormous frog.

52. Sanderling by Marlee Fuller-Morris

Three white and brown birds in profile bathe in a shallow pool of bright blue water against a blurred tan background. Water droplets in the air sparkle as the birds flick them off their bodies. The birds’ rumps are turned upwards in what appears to be a synchronized motion.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: False Cape State Park, Virginia Seashore, Virginia

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 70D with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/500 second at f/8; ISO 100

  • Behind the Shot: The tough hike to False Cape means there aren’t many individuals on this stretch of quiet seashore, permitting for an abundance of wildlife, together with massive flocks of wintering sanderlings. On today, the receding tide had left swimming pools of water in depressions within the sand. The Sanderlings bathed, dipped, splashed, and threw a ton of water into the air. I lay down on the moist sand and slowly crept in the direction of a small flock. I targeted on three birds and hoped to get them splashing in sync. Like a lot of the coast, False Cape is dropping land yearly to sea-level rise. I’m hopeful that pictures of particular locations like this, and the birds and different wildlife that want them, can encourage urgency to fight this disaster.

53. Sandhill Crane by Jayden Preussner

A Sandhill Crane in closeup cleans its wing feathers, its head pointing toward the ground. Its red crown and orange eye stand out in the otherwise gray image.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Vero Seashore, Florida

  • Digital camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II lens; 1/2000 second at f/4; ISO 320

  • Behind the Shot: My pal and I made a decision to drink our morning espresso outdoors by the lake. Quickly a household of Sandhill Cranes, which we had been seeing round, arrived. We watched them for about 20 minutes after I determined to take some footage. The birds had been beginning to get very comfy with us, permitting me to get a photograph that crammed the body very properly and made me fairly completely happy. I assumed it was wonderful to observe the younger birds play with one another whereas the adults cleaned their feathers. To me, it virtually appeared like they had been drained mother and father achieved with their two overly excited kids.

54. Trumpeter Swans by Eileen de la Cruz

Three Trumpeter Swans fly over the clouds and hills that appear dusted in snow. The blue and gray colors of the birds match the background as the birds make their way across the landscape, which looks far below.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Skagit Valley, Washington

  • Digital camera: Fujifilm X-T3 with a FUJIFILM XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens; 1/1000 second at f/5.6; ISO 1000

  • Behind the Shot: It was March 2020, only a week earlier than the World Well being Group declared a pandemic. My husband and I had been about to depart for Spain, however we canceled our journey and drove to the Skagit Valley as an alternative. 1000’s of Trumpeter Swans spend the winter right here, feeding within the agricultural fields earlier than they head north in spring. It was an odd and tense time, however watching the birds was therapeutic. On this chilly morning I first heard then noticed the swans overhead. From my vantage level and with my lens, it appeared as if I used to be on the similar stage because the birds, excessive above the clouds and the frosted timber.

55. Quick-eared Owl by Scott Suriano

A football-sized Short-eared Owl with outstretched wings flies low across a light brown colored field of tall frozen grasses. The ice creates a glittery scene over which the bird flies.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens and Canon Extender EF 2x III; 1/2000 second at f/8; ISO 640

  • Behind the Shot: On a late afternoon in February, I traveled to Gettysburg to {photograph} Quick-eared Owls looking in one of many historic Civil Conflict battlefields. The day gone by’s rain coupled with freezing temperatures had brought on ice to crystalize on the tall grasses that blanketed the fields. Because the solar lowered on the horizon, these fierce, pint-sized birds of prey roused from their floor roosts and shot up within the air like Roman candles to start their night looking. The angle of the sunshine and icy situations created a surreal, glowing silver and golden bokeh. Maintaining a respectful distance to keep away from disrupting their routine, I added a 2x teleconverter to my lengthy mounted prime lens and tried to seize the fast-paced motion of those acrobatic raptors on this glittery, magical panorama.

56. American Bittern by Joshua Galicki

A brown and white American Bittern stands in profile, looking slightly up, as water falls from the sky. A large droplet appears to be a tear coming from the side of its face. The blurred green background helps the bird’s feathers stand out.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Sullivan County, Pennsylvania

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens and Canon EF EOS R Mount Adapter and Canon Extender EF 2x III; 1/320 second at f/8; ISO 4000

  • Behind the Shot: Whereas standing waist-deep in water, below a blind and through a gentle spring rain, I captured this American Bittern portrait. The chicken stayed completely idle throughout a prolonged downpour, deep inside a freshwater wetland. Whereas the situations had been dreary, it was unimaginable to observe this wonderful and steadfast species. American Bitterns are endangered within the state of Pennsylvania as a result of declining habitat and the standard of remaining wetlands. I’ve been making an attempt to doc these birds, which may be tough to see, within the hopes of elevating consciousness for his or her preservation.

57. Virginia Rail by Thomas McDonald

A Virginia Rail appears to run straight toward the viewer, its right foot causing a splash and the left foot raised. The wings are outstretched, their tips slightly blurred. Water droplets fill the center of the frame from the splash in front of green foliage.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Horicon Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, Mayville, Wisconsin

  • Digital camera: Nikon D5 with a NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens; 1/2000 second at f/10; ISO 3200

  • Behind the Shot: I’ve spent many summer time hours at Horicon Nationwide Wildlife Refuge observing and photographing herons, cranes, and waterfowl. Arriving on the marsh early within the morning, I began strolling down the floating boardwalk to a spot I’ve seen Soras and Virginia Rails. Mendacity down, making an attempt to get the bottom potential place, a Virginia Rail ran throughout the boardwalk. I turned to the place the rail stopped, taking some pictures whereas the chicken was foraging and preening within the reeds and cattails. After a couple of minutes, the rail began to take off towards me, and I captured this shot.

58. Northern Flicker by John Welch

A Northern Flicker, the red on the back of its brown and gray head visible, sticks its head out of a cavity in a tree. Rough bark surrounds its head in profile. Blurred green leaves form a frame of the scene.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Non-public Property, New Hampshire

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 6D with a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens; 1/400 second at f/6.3; ISO 1250

  • Behind the Shot: On the outset of the pandemic, my household was delighted to find a pair of Northern Glints making their dwelling nearby of ours. Early within the nesting cycle, we noticed the pair switching off who would keep within the gap, presumably to incubate the eggs. I arrange some concealment within the close by bushes and would shoot by means of overhanging leaves to create this pure blurred inexperienced body. Because the season progressed, we noticed each mother and father making many extra return journeys to the nest, feeding the chicks who grew larger every day. They poked their begging payments out of the nest gap. We might have spent extra time at dwelling that spring, however we nonetheless felt linked to the broader world by means of this window to the wild.

59. Brown Pelican by Irina Pigman

 A Brown Pelican sits on slightly rippling water, the bird’s entire body in profile. Its throat pouch, hanging under its long beak, is translucent and pink and is illuminated by the early morning light.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha a9 with a Sony FE 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens and a Zeiss UV filter; 1/640 second at f/6.3; ISO 800

  • Behind the Shot: After a visit to Europe final November, I used to be actually jet lagged. I took benefit and acquired up earlier than dawn to see birds at my favourite spot on the water. Simply as I arrived, I noticed a juvenile Brown Pelican fishing. This chicken is kind of widespread in Florida, however the entire sudden, the sight of it made me catch my breath. The solar was nonetheless fairly low behind the chicken, and the rays went straight by means of the pelican’s throat pouch, making it glow radiantly within the low gentle. The throat pouch’s capability to suit thrice extra fish than its abdomen has at all times fascinated me, however I’ve by no means seen it as an object of magnificence. This pelican’s translucent jowls mesmerized me.

60. Downy Woodpecker by Michael Lovejoy

Amid an endless field of tall, tan saltmarsh reeds, a lone Downy Woodpecker perches. It faces sideways at a distance in the middle of the frame on a single reed. The bird’s stark black and white feathers stand out against the sea of stalks.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Parker River Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, Newbury, Massachusetts

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II with a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens; 1/320 second at f/5.6; ISO 320

  • Behind the Shot: My accomplice lastly acquired me into birding over the course of the pandemic. She gave me binoculars, nevertheless it was a used telephoto lens and the problem of making an attempt to {photograph} birds that hooked me. On an early December night, after visiting household close by, we explored Plum Island and came across saltmarsh reeds as tall and dense as I had ever seen. It was an incredible sight unto itself, however then I observed some motion deep off the path. I caught a glimpse of a Downy Woodpecker hopping and pecking. My favourite a part of birding is that you just at all times come away with at the least one standout reminiscence—a second of experiencing true unfiltered nature. The picture is only a nice souvenir and a spark for my burgeoning curiosity.

61. Western Grebe by Scott Suriano

A black and white Western Grebe, with its long neck and red eyes, glides peacefully through calm water. Reflections from fiery orange-colored trees that line the shore in the water surround the bird.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Loch Raven Reservoir, Baltimore County, Maryland

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS III USM lens and Canon Extender EF 2x III; 1/500 second at f/8; ISO 1000

  • Behind the Shot: The native birding group was abuzz when an unlikely pair of wintering Western Grebes graced a northern Maryland lake. Hoping to glimpse these uncommon guests, I packed my gear and headed out. To my delight, I noticed the movie star couple immediately swimming within the lake’s heart. I watched these birds work together and dive for meals for about an hour earlier than they cut up up and started swimming in separate instructions. The timber solid heat reflections that stretched into the calm, chilly waters. This grebe, gliding effortlessly, sliced by means of the seemingly ablaze shoreline.

62. Trumpeter Swan by Elizabeth Boehm

A Trumpeter Swan stands in shallow water, mist rising from the pond. The first sun of the day enters the photo from the left, lighting up the side of the swan as it arches its neck and leans back to preen the wing in shadow.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Pinedale, Wyoming

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS-1DX Mark II with a Canon 600mm f/4L IS III lens and Canon Extender EF 1.4x III; 1/1000 second at f/5.6; ISO 1000

  • Behind the Shot: An hour earlier than dawn on a misty, calm August morning, I headed out to a privately-owned pond to {photograph} waterfowl and shorebirds. After rigorously strolling 200 yards at the hours of darkness, my floating blind over my head, I quietly slipped into the water. I had clear skies to the east, promising good gentle. A resident pair of Trumpeter Swans turned curious and moved in near my blind, unaware of my presence. They preened their feathers because the solar rose, and I captured them as they groomed. I spent a number of hours photographing a wide range of waterbirds and left the pond exhilarated.

63. American White Pelican by Candice Head

A large flock of White Pelicans all face the same direction, their orange bills pointing to the left of the frame as they swim together in a lake. The flock fills nearly the entire frame. With their similar coloring, the pelicans seem identical. Rough water at the top and bottom of the image frames the flock.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Lake Saint Joseph, Newellton, Louisiana

  • Digital camera: Fujifilm X-H1 with a FUJIFILM XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens and lens UV filter; 1/1600 second at 5.6; ISO setting 800

  • Behind the Shot: On a light December afternoon, I observed some White Pelicans within the lake close to my dwelling. The Mississippi River Delta is understood for its abundance of wildlife, significantly migrating birds. White Pelicans have come to the lake earlier than, however by no means so many at one time. It was a charming sight. As I watched, I used to be mesmerized by the picture of so many seemingly equivalent birds swimming in good unison. Grabbing my digital camera and heading nearer to the lake, I captured what has grow to be a favourite picture of mine: a shot that embodies each the chaos and peace of a tight-knit group.

64. Tree Swallow by Alexander Eisengart

Two swallows perch on dried grasses and look directly into the camera. A dew-covered spiderweb, attached to one of these perches, glimmers in the light. A third Tree Swallow flies through the frame between the perched birds, the image entirely golden.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Margaret Peak Nature Protect, North Ridgeville, Ohio

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha a6400 with a Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/640 second at f/6.3; ISO 250

  • Behind the Shot: I’m 14 years previous, so clearly I can’t drive. On my birthday, my mother took me birding at dawn. At the moment through the summer time, smoke from fires all through the West blew into the japanese United States. This made the daylight diffuse, giving the dawn a extremely cool look. Fortunately for me, there have been tons of Tree Swallows. They flew round catching bugs, and the morning dew appeared nice on the spider webs.

65. Nice Blue Heron by Mary Badger

The photograph is centered on a Great Blue Heron perched in a pine tree. The heron is nestled in between branches draped with long green pine needles. Soft light highlights the bird’s blue and gray plumage.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Davis Arboretum and Public Backyard, Davis, California

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha 7 III with a Sony FE 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens; ISO 800

  • Behind the Shot: Day-after-day I take my lunch break on the UC Davis Arboretum, the place I work as a researcher utilizing genetic instruments to review wildlife conservation. I’m at all times amazed how wild the arboretum feels, with waterbirds making their method down the creek, warblers flitting out and in of the timber and bushes, and hawks looking within the lawns. I began bringing my digital camera with me throughout post-lunch walks. Sooner or later I noticed this magnificent Nice Blue Heron sitting in a pine tree overlooking the water. I sat snapping photographs and watching folks go by, having fun with their appears of wonderment after they noticed the heron perched above. This picture jogs my memory of the hidden magnificence and biodiversity of public inexperienced areas.

66. Sandhill Crane by William Farnsworth

An adult Sandhill Crane feeds a damselfly to one of its colts. In the left top corner frame, the adult’s long beak carefully holds the insect while the orange, bushy colt seems to inspect the bug, its body leaning in from the right.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Kensington Metropark, Milford, Michigan

  • Digital camera: Nikon D7500 with a NIKKOR 500mm f/4 FL ED VR lens; 1/1000 second at f/4.0; ISO 360

  • Behind the Shot: I watched a pair of grownup Sandhill Cranes forage for meals with their two younger colts. The mother and father inspired the colts to seek out their very own meal. To my shock, they had been fairly profitable. Then, one of many mother and father discovered a damselfly on the bottom. Relatively than consuming it, the grownup grabbed it in its beak and known as over one of many colts, who eagerly took the providing. This was a really particular second that I had the pleasure of capturing: a father or mother expressing like to its offspring. The interplay lasted not more than 5 seconds, however the second itself was timeless.

67. Blue Jay by Alessandro Retacchi

Two Blue Jays fight in the sky; their outstretched wings seem to glow in the light. Behind them are evergreens, snow on the ground, and people walking along a path in the park, a streetlight just to the right of the pair.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Central Park, New York, New York

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha a9 II with a Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens; 1/2500 second at f/4; ISO 1250

  • Behind the Shot: On this chilly day, I discovered a feminine Northern Cardinal on a department lined with snow. As I used to be making an attempt to {photograph} her, I observed two very vocal Blue Jays. I used to be in a position to focus and shoot a burst of pictures as they fought, their feathers seeming to glow within the gentle. I had at all times hoped to {photograph} two birds in flight with the faces clearly seen and going through one another. On this case, one Blue Jay has the trademark raised crest in an indication of aggression.

68. Track Sparrow by Ashrith Kandula

An alert brown and white Song Sparrow stands in profile on a freshly-cut grass lawn. A circular yellow light in the background frames the bird’s head.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Wallingford, Pennsylvania

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and Canon Extender EF 1.4x II; 1/1000 second at f/8.0; ISO 800

  • Behind the Shot: Certainly one of my favourite pandemic initiatives was capturing distinctive portraits of widespread birds such because the Track Sparrow. Though some might imagine these birds are boring due to their bland colours, I believe they’re attention-grabbing as a result of their songs are fairly melodious. After spending months with this particular person, who I named Fergus, I understood his persona and was in a position to seize him on flowers and with completely different lighting. Sooner or later, I observed a white automotive within the background take a left flip with its headlights on. I took many photographs and was very excited after I took a photograph with Fergus’s head in entrance of the sunshine, which appeared just like the solar. It was nice to include each artifical and pure components into one shot.

69. Burrowing Owl by Brian Browne

A Burrowing Owl crouches in the hollow at the end of an old cut and deeply riveted and gnarled log. The black and gray log contrasts with some pieces of lichen and spiderwebs that cling to the wood. Spurs of wood jut into the central hollow and seem to point towards the brown owl in the center, its piercing yellow eyes looking straight at the camera.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Corte Madera, California

  • Digital camera: Nikon D3500 with a Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens; 1/640 at f/6.3; ISO 500

  • Behind the Shot: In November 2020, I visited my grandma in Oregon for the primary time for the reason that starting of the pandemic. We drove across the space to search for birds, and on the finish of the day, went to Agate Lake, a small reservoir the place a Burrowing Owl (a neighborhood rarity) had been reported for a number of days. After some looking out, I discovered it sitting on the finish of a minimize log. Slowly approaching it as night set in and the temperature plunged, I watched and took some pictures, the main points within the wooden framing the small owl completely. As my grandma and I returned to the automotive, we heard the owl name earlier than it flew from its nook into the fields.

70. American Dipper by Kate Individuals

An American Dipper stands in shallow water in front of an icy cavern rimmed in hoarfrost. The cavern and the bird are subtly reflected in the still water. The dipper’s head is tucked, its white eyelids are closed. Its wings are pressed to its sides, and its back is flecked with bits of ice. The scene appears almost as a black-and-white image, the only color being the bird’s yellowish bill.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Nome, Alaska

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens; 1/1600 second at f/4.5; ISO 2500

  • Behind the Shot: On a detrimental 26-degree Fahrenheit day in December, I sat quietly wiggling my toes by an open gap on the sting of the Nome River, the place a pair of dippers had commonly been feeding on chironomid larvae and different aquatic invertebrates. After about half-hour, I heard the dippers name. One started diving and feeding in entrance of me. Unbelievably, the chicken flitted in entrance of an interesting-looking cavern rimmed with hoarfrost and started preening. The chicken gave me a complete repertoire of postures, from the comical to the dramatic. Chilly toes had been forgotten! I selected this amusing picture of the dipper trying down with closed eyes lined by white eyelids as if praying, in entrance of an icy grotto.

71. Bald Eagle by Tamara Enz

On a sandy beach littered with drift logs, an immature Bald Eagle prepares for flight, its wings directly over its head. Forested coastal mountains are visible in the background, shrouded by mist blown from the breaking surf. The eagle leans into the wind.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Nehalem Bay State Park, Manzanita, Oregon

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha 7 with a Sony E 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 OSS LE lens; 1/2000 second at f/8; ISO 200

  • Behind the Shot: Whereas working for Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, a Nationwide Estuary Venture in Garibaldi, Oregon, I carried out a group science venture amassing plastic pellets known as nurdles that litter the shore. Throughout this nurdle survey, I ended to {photograph} shorebirds feeding alongside the surf line. As I photographed, an immature eagle landed on a drift log behind me. Every of us unaware of the opposite, the eagle leapt into flight after I turned away from the shorebirds. I shot a sequence of pictures because the eagle gained raise and moved down the seashore. Discovering shorebirds and eagles alongside this stretch of coast brings the conservation and restoration work that I’ve achieved by means of the years full circle for me. As a subject biologist, author, and photographer, the weather of what I do and what I recognize got here collectively for this shot.

72. Widespread Ostrich by Lisa Sproat

A female Common Ostrich in profile hunkers down in the tall grass during a rainstorm. Her feathers are soaked through as blurred droplets rain down.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Masai Mara Nationwide Park, Kenya

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens; 1/50 at f/4; ISO 100

  • Behind the Shot: On a drive by means of the Masai Mara Nationwide Reserve within the early afternoon, we noticed a distant trio of ostriches feeding within the harsh solar. As afternoon turned to nightfall, a short however dramatic thunderstorm rolled by means of the grassland. We came across the three birds once more bedded down nearer the highway, weathering the storm. Ostriches lack the particular waterproofing gland many different birds have, so their luxuriant plumage may be fully soaked by means of by a heavy rain in minutes. Since this chicken was fully nonetheless, I used an extended publicity to elongate the raindrops and provides a little bit of context to that traditional ostrich frown.

73. Reddish Egret by Kieran Barlow

A Reddish Egret stands in profile, in water colored pink by the sunset. The bird holds a fish in its beak, its silhouette against an orange sky and purple ripples in the water.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, Florida

  • Digital camera: Nikon D850 with a Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens; 1/1250 second at f/6.3; ISO 1000

  • Behind the Shot: On a visit to Florida, one of many birds I hoped to see most was a Reddish Egret. When these elegant wading birds confirmed up, I took numerous portraits and footage of their distinctive fishing methodology. However I actually wished to {photograph} one throughout a sundown. One night time, after I might see a sliver of clear sky beneath dense clouds, I discovered a Reddish Egret and laid down within the water, cautious to keep away from the jellyfish and poisonous algae. Whereas barely maintaining my digital camera above the waves, I began snapping till the solar ducked under the horizon. I walked off the seashore that night time soaking moist and lined in sand however with recollections I’ll cherish the remainder of my life.

74. Better Flamingo by Vicki Jauron

The image features an off-center closeup of two light pink Greater Flamingos facing each other, their fluorescent beaks touching at the tip in profile view. Water drops appear around their brighter pink beaks, their long necks almost forming a heart shape against a blurred green background.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Amboseli Nationwide Park, Kajiado County, Kenya

  • Digital camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8 lens and Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E; 1/1000 second at f/4.8; ISO 280

  • Behind the Shot: Throughout my first go to to Amboseli in 2017, flamingos weren’t residents. Lately, although, because of extra water within the atmosphere, flamingos and plenty of different waterbirds have come again, enriching the traditional safari expertise. Whereas observing the birds in 2021, I noticed two Better Flamingos concerned in some form of encounter. Whether or not their interplay was amicable, amorous, or in any other case, was unclear, nevertheless it was enjoyable watching them beak to beak, contorting their necks collectively into completely different shapes. It was refreshing to seize this interplay somewhat than the standard beak-down feeding habits.

75. Wooden Stork by Hiresha Senanayake

A Wood Stork, with a white body and black head, wades in shallow water, its long bill barely touching the still water. Standing on one leg, its pinkish foot is slightly submerged. The marsh grass behind the bird glistens.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens; 1/500 second at f/4.0; ISO 100

  • Behind the Shot: After an extended laborious rain one October morning, I got down to a marsh with three different photographers. Because the solar peeked over the horizon, we noticed a flock of Wooden Storks resting within the shallow waters. We slowly lay on the mud and began crawling on our bellies in order that we wouldn’t disturb the birds, inching shut sufficient to {photograph} them. Although it was extraordinarily difficult to put within the mud, soaking moist, my total face lined with gnats, I used to be nonetheless awestruck by the swish look of this threatened, ancient-looking chicken. Whereas watching the stork by means of the viewfinder, I observed that the grass behind it glowed within the gentle. At that second, the stork gave me the right pose. I lowered my gear to the muddy floor as a lot as potential to get an eye-level shot of this whole scene.

76. Japanese Kingbird by Kyle Tansley

An adult Eastern Kingbird in flight passes a dragonfly to a perched fledgling. The adult faces the camera while the fledgling is angled away, with its mouth open and the dragonfly halfway in its mouth, halfway out of the adult’s mouth. The birds are surrounded by blurred greenery.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Colchester Pond, Colchester, Vermont

  • Digital camera: Nikon Z6 II with a NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at f/4; ISO 250

  • Behind the Shot: I’ve watched a pair of Japanese Kingbirds nest and lift their younger at this pond for a number of years now. Getting a dragonfly supply shot with a pleasant foreground and background was a white whale that I might by no means catch. I adopted the household alongside a row of vegetation down the sting of the pond. The mother and father took turns feeding their begging fledglings, and I used to be having bother maintaining. I noticed one fledgling on a perch on the opposite facet of the hedge and acquired into place, lining up a shot by means of the branches. In a few seconds, the kingbird had scarfed down the dragonfly and started begging once more.

77. Cooper’s Hawk by Deborah Roy

The image shows a Cooper’s Hawk only from the chest down to its feet, focusing on its feet and talons. The hawk is standing on its right leg perched on a branch and facing the camera. Its left leg is stretched outward with talons extended. The image is bathed in spots of a bright yellow glow.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens and Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R; 1/400 second at f/4; ISO 1000

  • Behind the Shot: I captured this picture on a stunning fall night proper round sundown. I used to be sitting in my yard maintaining an eye fixed out for fall migrants. I observed this stunning juvenile Cooper’s Hawk roosting in one in every of my maple timber additionally maintaining a tally of the birds. This body was taken because the hawk raised its foot to relaxation on one leg. I selected to crop the picture in order that the focus of the picture was the toes and talons of the hawk. The nice and cozy back-lit glow of the golden leaves of the maple tree actually enhances the yellow pencil-like legs and toes of this stunning younger hawk.

78. Brown Creeper by Mike Timmons

A Brown Creeper searches the crevices of mottled and scorched bark that fills the frame. The pattern on the bird blends in nearly perfectly with the bark.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Rustler Park, Douglas, Arizona

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens; 1/1250 second at f/5.0; ISO 2500

  • Behind the Shot: My brother and I lastly made it out for an additional guys’ journey. As at all times, this meant birding. We had not been to Arizona collectively since we had been youngsters, and it was enjoyable to relive the nostalgia whereas constructing new recollections. It was monsoon season within the state, and the swollen creeks saved us from the upper elevations of the Chiricahua Mountains. On our final day there, the highway was re-opened. The Pink-faced and Olive Warblers had already moved to decrease elevations, and it was late within the day, so the birding was fairly sluggish. We acquired out of the automotive to a combined flock foraging alongside the highway. My consideration was drawn to the pair of Brown Creepers, who had been busy working the mottled pine bark scorched by hearth years prior.

79. Black Skimmer by Elizabeth Sanger

Dozens of Black Skimmers stand packed tightly together on a beach, each facing the camera and the whole filling the frame almost entirely. Their stark black-and-white bodies and bright orange beaks and legs contrast sharply against the white sand.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Marco Island, Florida

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS 80D with a Sigma 100-400mm F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Modern lens; 1/320 second at f/13; ISO 2000

  • Behind the Shot: Late one afternoon on a windy, cool day I went to the seashore in entrance of my lodge and found a flock of Black Skimmers—a whole lot of them huddled tightly collectively, going through the identical route. Often they’d take flight en masse, circle the water, after which land once more. What made the scene so extraordinary was the sheer variety of birds, in addition to the placing design created by their black and white our bodies contrasting with their vibrant orange beaks and legs. When seen in profile, the birds’ colours created one type of visible sample, and when seen head-on, as on this picture, they appeared fully completely different—virtually like penguins. I admired the skimmers’ persistence, distinct look, and obvious camaraderie.

80. Razorbill by Keith Kennedy

A Razorbill floats in the center of the frame, its legs and wings outstretched, looking as though it’s in the middle of a jumping jack. It has a black head, white belly, and black feet and wing tips. The background is blurred gray.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Grimsey Island, Iceland

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha 1 with a Sony FE 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens; 1/2500 second at f/6.3; ISO 1250

  • Behind the Shot: On a latest chicken images journey to Iceland, our small group spent 5 days on Grimsey, a small island off the coast. Puffins and Razorbills nest in underground burrows atop excessive cliffs that overlook the ocean. The adults forage for sand eels and different small fish and return with their meals dangling from their beaks. I stood on the cliffs hoping to {photograph} the birds in flight, which is a problem. Maintaining such quick flyers centered within the viewfinder proved the toughest half as they zoomed by. I studied their flight habits and discovered to identify good candidates whereas panning at simply the fitting pace.

81. Mallard by Hector Cordero

A female Mallard sleeps on the water during a blizzard. Her head is tucked into her feathers and snowflakes pile up on her back.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: New York, New York

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens; 1/160 sec at f/5.6; ISO 400

  • Behind the Shot: On the day I took this {photograph}, the temperature was -10 levels Fahrenheit. Nonetheless, I spent greater than 12 hours photographing the birds within the space. My palms froze and I couldn’t really feel my fingers, however I beloved the expertise of being alone with the animals in nature. On the earth of birds, males have vibrant and flashy colours and are usually extra photographed. As a substitute, I primarily targeted my consideration on females. I appreciated the sunshine to darkish brown patterns on this feminine Mallard’s plumage and the snowflakes that fell over its mottled physique.

82. Willet, Sanderling, and Black-bellied Plover by Amiel Hopkins

A Willet, Sanderling, and Black-Bellied Plover stand silhouetted on wet sand that appears wavy, an orange glow coloring the whole frame. Ocean waves appear in the upper left of the frame, slightly blurred and appearing to move. The Willet is furthest to the left in the shot, tall and lanky with a longer bill, while the Sanderling to its right is small and compact, and the plover in the back is blocky and stout.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Cape Level, Cape Hatteras Nationwide Seashore, North Carolina

  • Digital camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/500 second at f/18; ISO 500

  • Behind the Shot: The Outer Banks are a magical place. An in depth and distant chain of barrier islands, Cape Hatteras is most spectacular of all of them, separated from the mainland by a full 30 miles. The solar sank decrease and decrease over the dunes of the island’s easternmost seashore till the panorama bathed in a golden glow. I might see scattered shorebirds roosting for the night time among the many seashore and dunes, however the solar setting in entrance of me barred me from the everyday shot. I modified my settings to seize the birds in silhouette and zoomed out to get them of their atmosphere. I really like the look of the dunes and distant crashing waves, making the birds seem like giants towering above an immense panorama.

83. Sandhill Crane by Isabel Guerra Clark

A setting sun colors a river of clouds flowing through the middle of the image. Silhouetted Sandhill Cranes stand in water that reflects red, orange, and purple in the sky, with a hill behind them.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R6 with a RF24-105mm f/4 lens; 1/250 second at f/8; ISO 2000

  • Behind the Shot: My pal and I drove to Bosque del Apache in November to {photograph} the annual migration, when hundreds of birds arrive for the winter months. The drought had dried out this space considerably and only a few ponds existed. Cranes, geese, and different birds, nonetheless, nonetheless got here by the tens of hundreds and didn’t thoughts the individuals who had been watching. On our final day on the refuge, we went to one of many ponds that remained and noticed a spectacular sundown that I captured on this {photograph}. The low gentle required that I take advantage of a a lot increased ISO to have sufficient shutter pace to not blur the birds.

84. Anna’s Hummingbird by Dominic Wang

A female Anna’s Hummingbird hovers in the mid-air slightly off the ground, her wings outstretched and her head pointed down. In her bill, she holds a piece of green moss above a blanket of moss covering the ground below.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Pleasanton, California

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens; 1/800 second at f/6.3; ISO 800

  • Behind the Shot: I observed this feminine hummingbird flying low and often visiting a moss garden. It didn’t take lengthy to seek out her nest. I hoped to {photograph} the second when she picked up some nesting supplies from the bottom, so I discovered a great place to lie down on my abdomen, arrange my publicity to seize the chicken in flight, and waited. Shortly after, she flew again to the location, dived to the moss garden, and picked up a bit together with her lengthy beak.

85. Bald Eagle by Liron Gertsman

Six Bald Eagles squabble at the edge of a river. Some are standing on the ground while others are slightly off the ground, their wings outstretched as they jockey for position.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R; 1/1250 second at f/5.6; ISO 6400

  • Behind the Shot: The annual salmon run on the British Columbia coast brings one in every of my favourite spectacles in nature: an enormous gathering of Bald Eagles. Tens of hundreds come to the rivers and streams of southwestern British Columbia, the place they scavenge on the carcasses of spawned-out salmon. This previous winter, heavy rains and flooding probably meant that most of the salmon carcasses had been washed downstream. Nevertheless, because the waters started to recede, I photographed the eagles that gathered in quest of meals. Spending the morning ready on the sting of a river within the rain, I used to be rewarded when an eagle flew all the way down to a salmon carcass washed up within the grass. Earlier than lengthy, a number of had been squabbling over the carcass.⁠

86. Snowy Owl by Dianne Boothe

A white Snowy Owl atop a dune peers through brown and beige beach grass, its yellow eyes looking down at the lens. The bird is partly obscured by the tall grass, a blue sky behind it.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Westhampton, New York

  • Digital camera: Nikon D500 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens and Tiffen 95mm UV Protector Filter; 1/3200 second and f/6.3; ISO 500

  • Behind the Shot: Snowy Owls are recognized to return to the east finish of Lengthy Island from November by means of March. However they typically keep within the dunes and may be laborious to identify. Although they’d been on my bucket listing to seize—and I clocked many miles looking out—I had by no means been in a position to {photograph} one. Lastly, nonetheless, on a visit to the shore, I noticed one me by means of the seashore grass. I used to be very grateful: It was my final probability to {photograph} these stunning birds earlier than I moved to Florida.

87. White-breasted Nuthatch by Zachary Vaughan

A White-breasted Nuthatch stands on an oak tree trunk, upside down. In its bill is a seed pulled from a cavity in the tree.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Frick Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha 1 with a Sony FE 600mm F/4 GM OSS lens; 1/250 second at f/4; ISO 1250

  • Behind the Shot: I used to be strolling alongside one in every of my favourite trails within the park after I heard the acquainted name of a White-breasted Nuthatch. I scanned the realm till I observed it shifting down a big oak tree and right into a small crevice. I shortly pulled up my digital camera and started taking pictures. Apparently I had stumbled onto its secret stash. It shortly pulled out a seed and flew to the next department to seize a fast snack. White-breasted Nuthatches are one in every of my favourite species. Witnessing their quirky habits and cute mannerisms is a pure deal with.

88. Western Screech-Owl by Maximilian Rabbitt-Tomita

 A small, gray Western Screech-Owl peers out of a small cavity in a tree, its patterned face reflecting the pattern of the tree. The owl’s noticeable yellow eyes glare down toward an object below.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Palo Alto, California

  • Digital camera: Nikon Z5 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens and Nikon FTZ Mount Adapter; 2 seconds at f/7.1; ISO 500

  • Behind the Shot: After establishing my digital camera going through a Western Screech-Owl’s cavity, I hoped that the chicken would come out quickly. In spite of everything, hiding within the bushes and taking pictures at the hours of darkness round a couple of condo buildings is mostly one thing that I don’t need to be doing for too lengthy. After the solar went down, and after a couple of bizarre appears had been thrown my method, I used to be nearly to take off after I noticed a small shadow shifting inside the cavity. The chicken was awake! Fortunately, I used to be in a position to seize some nice photographs earlier than the owl took off.

89. Bald Eagle by Jeff Coulter

One Bald Eagle with wings lowered in a powerful thrust holds a pink and grey fish held in its claws. A second eagle flying behind her focuses directly on the fish, his head peeking below the first eagle. The second bird’s wings are raised, giving the two eagles a combined “X” shape that fills the screen.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Syracuse, New York

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R6 with a Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM lens; 1/1600 second at f/11; ISO 3200

  • Behind the Shot: Yearly, Bald Eagles come to Onondaga Lake in Syracuse. The native water remedy plant retains a small patch of the lake ice-free, attracting greater than 50 Bald Eagles to the encompassing timber. Some eagles catch their very own fish whereas others search for an opportunity to take a straightforward meal from an unsuspecting neighbor. I captured this scene as one eagle carried her catch towards the timber, the second following shut behind. I keep in mind again within the late Nineteen Seventies when just one pair of nesting eagles remained in upstate New York. Due to ground-breaking conservation efforts, a whole lot of pairs now nest right here—and the numbers proceed to develop. That near-loss and memorable restoration of this stunning species continues to make each sighting really feel like a present.

90. Pacific Loon by Joe Gliozzo

 In calm water with almost no ripples, a Pacific Loon looks up to the sky, a stream of water droplets tracing the movement of its beak. With its wings outstretched, it looks as if it’s standing in the water.

  • Class: Skilled

  • Location: Anchorage, Alaska

  • Digital camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at F5.6; ISO 2500

  • Behind the Shot: After touring from New Jersey to Anchorage in July, I met up with a pal and photographer who handled me to an attractive few hours at a quiet native lake. We arrived near 7 p.m., however fortunately the solar doesn’t set till after 11 p.m. at the moment of yr. I noticed a pair of Pacific Loons who had the complete lake to themselves. Not for a minute did I thoughts mendacity down on the damp water’s edge. Nor did I thoughts the nasty mosquitoes that stung our flesh. The loons stayed at a distance at first however made their method nearer to us as the sunshine finally pale to nighttime.

91. Black-capped Chickadee by Steven Robbins

A Black-capped Chickadee sits on an evergreen branch, perfectly centered in the frame. It is surrounded by branches, creating a blurred background of tan.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Gordon Bubolz Nature Protect, Appleton, Wisconsin

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha 7R IV with a Sony FE 200-600mm F/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/1250 second at f/6.3; ISO 320

  • Behind the Shot: Black-capped Chickadees may be difficult to {photograph} since they normally do not sit nonetheless for lengthy. More often than not, after I spot one, I carry on strolling to see what else is round. However on today, the early morning gentle and background actually caught my eye, so I paused to take a couple of pictures. Fortunately for me, the chickadee determined to cease simply lengthy sufficient for me to seize this picture.

92. Pacific Golden-Plover by Elliott Bury

The head and upper body of a Pacific Golden-Plover fills the upper right-hand side of the photo. The left side of the photo shows a few weeds glowing as the golden sunlight shines through them. Only the stubby bill and black mottling on the top of the bird’s head, with some detail from the grass, are in focus.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Poipu Seashore Park, Kauaʻi, Hawai’i

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha 7R IV with a Sony FE 200-600mm F/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/1250 second at f/6.3; ISO 800

  • Behind the Shot: I discovered this plover resting within the sand subsequent to a busy parking zone. Since many of the birds in Kauaʻi are used to folks, it wasn’t disturbed after I quietly laid on the new sand close by. Behind me, site visitors streamed on a busy highway. To my proper, vehicles and other people got here and went. To my left, dozens of beachgoers performed within the sand. In entrance of me, folks visited a public restroom and sat at picnic tables. I felt overwhelmed by the noise and motion and puzzled if the plover felt the identical. But after a couple of minutes, every little thing melted away, leaving simply me and an attractive chicken in glowing golden gentle.

93. Pink-tailed Hawk by Ryan Murphy

A Red-tailed Hawk shakes off water droplets after a downpour. Blurred beige reeds and plants surround the closeup of her face and hunched shoulders. She has a sharp stare into the distance.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Ridgefield Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, Ridgefield, Washington

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha a9 II with a Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/1600 second at f/6.3; ISO 3200

  • Behind the Shot: You are not allowed to depart your automotive on the Ridgefield Nationwide Wildlife Refuge; as an alternative, you slowly drive across the refuge on a gravel highway because the native wildlife go about its enterprise. The skies had been clearing after a heavy downpour after I noticed a Pink-tailed Hawk perched in the midst of a subject. She was shaking off the droplets like a canine after a swim and appeared extra involved with getting dry than with the lengthy lens protruding of the motive force’s facet window. Should you look carefully, you possibly can nonetheless see water clinging to her forehead. I had a chuckle imagining the hawk was irritated that she let herself get so moist.

94. Better Sage-Grouse by Noah Brinkman

A male Greater Sage-Grouse faces the camera, its body slightly obscured by orange-tinged mist colored by the rising sun. The bird’s fanned tail and feathers puff up around his body.

  • Class: Youth

  • Location: Jackson County, Colorado

  • Digital camera: Nikon D850 with a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC lens; 1/1600 second at f/6.3; ISO 1600

  • Behind the Shot: For the previous few years, I’ve thought that the right birthday would begin with an early morning at a Better Sage-Grouse lek. I’ve an early March birthday, and the lek at the moment of yr is usually unproductive, with only a few males half-heartedly displaying. Nonetheless, I satisfied my dad to drive me out as a birthday current. We arrived properly earlier than dawn and found three feeding males. I snuck out of the automotive and laid down on the highway to get eye-level photographs when the rising solar peeked out from behind the clouds, offering me with beautiful golden backlighting as this male displayed. Although my palms practically froze, I nonetheless look again on that day very fondly.

95. American White Pelican by April Stampe

A group of American White Pelicans surround a pelican holding a fish in its open beak, the black fish tail peeking out of the bird’s enlarged throat pouch. The other birds’ orange and yellow bills are bright against foam in the water.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Lockport, Manitoba, Canada

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha 7R III with a Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens and 1.4x teleconverter; 1/2500 at f/8; ISO 320

  • Behind the Shot: A fast drive to a neighborhood dam proved price it after I observed a big group of pelicans actively fishing. I watched them transfer as a bunch, seemingly working collectively to catch the fish swimming under them. When a fish was caught, nonetheless, it turned each pelican for itself. The pelicans fought to steal the fish proper out of one another’s payments—this battle ensuing within the fish getting away about half of the time. Instantly afterward, the birds would regroup and start looking collectively once more. Regardless of going again a number of occasions, I by no means acquired one other alternative fairly like this one.

96. Wooden Stork by Melissa Rowell

A Wood Stork, mostly white with a wrinkly, bald head, and long, thick bill, is partially hidden by the sand mounded in front of him. Green and brown plants are slightly out of focus in the right side of the image.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Hilton Head, South Carolina

  • Digital camera: Nikon D850 with a NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR lens; 1/400 second at f/7.1; ISO 800

  • Behind the Shot: On a bitterly chilly and windy morning, I thought of staying in mattress the place I used to be good and comfortable. However I used to be solely staying per week in Hilton Head, so I hopped away from bed. It was low tide, and there was not a chicken or human in sight. I pulled up my hood as sand pelted me. I then noticed a lone Wooden Stork hunkered down in some vegetation, partially obscured by a dune, simply because the rising solar started to peek by means of clouds. He had an virtually ethereal look. I instantly dropped to my knees, hoping I wouldn’t scare him off. Once I slowly backed away, I used to be so grateful for the miracles that nature has in retailer for us—if we simply take the time to look.

97. Pyrrhuloxia by Danny Hancock

A gray-bodied Pyrrhuloxia with a red-rimmed eye and red-tipped mohawk perches among branches. One eye is visible through two branches in front and blue background blurred, and there is a shadow of the branch vertically across its head.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Bosque del Apache Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and a Canon Extender EF 1.4x III; 1/1250 second at f/8.0; ISO 800

  • Behind the Shot: This stunning feminine Pyrrhuloxia waited patiently at a feeder whereas a mob of Pink-winged Blackbirds devoured the meals. I moved slowly to my left so I might give attention to her eye between the branches. Ultimately, she caught a break and snuck in to shortly snap up some seed.

98. Northern Shoveler by Christy Grinton

One eye of a Northern Shoveler peeks out from behind his feathers. The bird’s iridescent green and blue head contrast the band of brown feathers directly below, white, and orange bands below that.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: George C. Reifel Migratory Fowl Sanctuary, Delta, British Columbia

  • Digital camera: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 100-500mm F/4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens; 1/1000 second at f/10; ISO 4000

  • Behind the Shot: Each winter, I take the ferry to Delta on the mainland to go to the George C. Reifel Migratory Fowl Sanctuary. It’s a fantastic park the place numerous migratory birds cease and overwinter. You by no means know what you will note whenever you go. The day I went, I hoped to seek out Sandhill Cranes. As a substitute, I noticed a lot of Northern Shovelers. That day the geese had been resting and never bothered by the folks strolling by. I kneeled to get a photograph and the duck opened his eye to see what I used to be doing, making for a beautiful shot. It wasn’t till I acquired dwelling and processed the picture that I observed how the colour of the attention matched the colours of the underside feathers.

99. Bufflehead by Garrett Yarter

A male Bufflehead sits in still water, his head tilted upwards. Water droplets fall from his bill, and his body is reflected in the water. Purple and yellow shades are blurred in the background.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Budd Inlet, Olympia, Washington

  • Digital camera: Nikon D5600 with a Sigma 150-600mm F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Modern lens; 1/500 second at f/5.6; ISO 2000

  • Behind the Shot: As I walked alongside the shore of the gorgeous Puget Sound, I watched the native Buffleheads socialize, preen, and splash round within the water. A couple of of them dipped their payments barely into the water after which quickly raised their heads, inflicting just a little splash. Over the following two hours I waited to {photograph} this habits. To get into place, I needed to lie down on a fairly smelly saltwater financial institution. After lastly acquiring the specified picture, I used to be delighted to note that the coloration of the financial institution on the other facet of the inlet complemented the iridescence of the Bufflehead’s face.

100. Widespread Murre by Lauren Bunker

A single incoming Common Murre hovers in flight, its wings outstretched and legs extended like landing gear as it descends over a crowded colony. The other birds stand on the cliffs of a rocky island, storm clouds darkening the scene.

  • Class: Newbie

  • Location: Gull Island, Kachemak Bay, Alaska

  • Digital camera: Sony Alpha 9 with a Sony FE 200-600mm F/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/1250 second at f/6.3; ISO 640

  • Behind the Shot: On our first go to to Homer, Alaska, in September 2021, tough incoming climate and swells on Kachemak Bay practically canceled a birding tour for me and my mother. After assuring the captain that we had taken anti-nausea tablets and would preserve three factors of contact with the boat always, we set out for Gull Island. Crossing the bay was fairly the journey, however we managed to maintain our breakfasts down. We had been rewarded with time observing a busy colony of Widespread Murres.



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