- Bird

Our Favourite Feminine Hen Photographs From the 2022 Audubon Images Awards

Our 2022 Audubon Images Awards marked the second yr of our new Feminine Hen Prize. Created to name consideration to among the most ignored birds on the planet, the feminine fowl class challenges photographers to focus their cameras and a spotlight on the intercourse that’s too typically ignored. This neglect by fowl lovers and even scientists isn’t only a drawback of philosophy or equality. Current analysis has proven that lack of give attention to the particular wants of feminine birds has profound penalties for species conservation. 

When Audubon journal launched the Feminine Hen Prize, we weren’t certain what the response was going to be. We have been pleasantly stunned once we obtained a whole lot of wonderful submissions the primary yr. However that didn’t put together us for the avalanche of unimaginable feminine fowl images that we might obtain in 2022. Greater than a thousand pictures that includes a wide selection of species, from jaunty Hooded Mergansers to regal Northern Shovelers, left our particular panel of judges beaming. 

If after having fun with the photographs beneath you end up impressed to decide up a digital camera and pursue feminine avian topics on your individual, our images part has all the things it’s essential get began, together with suggestions and how-to’s and Audubon’s moral tips for wildlife images. Then get on the market and begin recording your favourite species. And for those who just like the outcomes, take into account submitting your greatest pictures to this yr’s awards

Hooded Merganser by John Lee Wong (above) 

Location: Arcadia, CA
Behind the Shot: I took this shot on my fourth journey of the season photographing Hooded Mergansers with crayfish. I had a lot of good photographs already, however this time I needed to seize a spectacular high-action second, one thing distinctive and rarely seen. After a pair hours, a feminine merganser emerged from the water with a big crayfish and two males took off towards her to steal it. As she began leaning ahead and lifting her wings, I hit the shutter button to seize her kicking up a huge rooster tail of water whereas taking off together with her catch. To me, having a feminine merganser because the star as an alternative of one of many extra flamboyant males made this shot that rather more particular.

Northern Flicker by Marti Phillips

Location: Tiburon, CA
Behind the Shot: Throughout COVID-19 pandemic closures, I made a undertaking of photographing each species that landed within the treetops seen from my yard deck. I’ve pictures of greater than 30 completely different species on a single department, which exhibits how essential only one tree may be to all kinds of birds. The highest of the tree featured on this shot is a favourite perch. I really like how the patterns on the sparkle echo the patterns on the tree and pinecones. I hope that regardless that this tree has died because of the drought, the homeowners of the property don’t minimize it down—it’s so essential to the wildlife within the neighborhood.

Snail Kite by John Ruggeri

Location: Lake Tohopekelagia, Osceola County, FL
Behind the Shot: I’ve been watching this feminine Snail Kite since 2018. She returns to the south finish of Lake Tohopekelagia each November, and in keeping with College of Florida biologists, she hatched on the lake again in 2016. I’ve nicknamed her Turtle Woman as a result of, opposite to her frequent title, she appears to be drawn extra to turtles than snails, no less than on this location. She efficiently hunts wherever from 5 to eight turtles per day. On the day I received this shot after coming back from a tour, I offloaded my passengers, pushed off the dock, and let the boat drift to the opposite facet of the basin. The boat got here to relaxation within the lily pads, and I checked the settings and began photographing her. To {photograph} Turtle Woman, I like to attend till the afternoon when the sunshine is extra fascinating. 

Bushtit by Ken Meyer

Location: Portland, OR
Behind the Shot: Our yard is a Licensed Yard Habitat by means of our native chapter of Audubon, and as my spouse and I’ve realized extra about this system, we volunteer to judge and certify different yards. One essential facet of evaluating yards is listening to the layers. Birds use completely different layers to method meals sources and to have an escape route from predators, in addition to for locating appropriate nest websites. A flock of Bushtits frequently go to our yard within the winter and spring, and like this one, they make use of the layers of vegetation that now we have, shifting from tree to shrub in quest of bugs. If you’ll be able to present the precise habitat for birds, you don’t need to journey to take pleasure in them. 

Northern Shoveler by Gloria Hong

Location: Central Park, NY 
Behind the Shot: I spent an hour at Central Park’s reservoir photographing overwintering geese earlier than strolling my approach north to an space known as “the pool” to sit down and relaxation. A feminine Northern Shoveler determined she was going to preen on a rock that was close to the place I used to be sitting, and the sunshine was great. I really like photographing geese on the pool as a result of it permits me to get low. Autumn leaves have been nonetheless on timber, and because the solar filtered by means of them, it forged an excellent reddish-orange tint to the water that framed her so superbly.

Boat-tailed Grackle by Nancy Malecki

Location: Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Seaside, FL
Behind the Shot: I visited the Wakodahatchee Wetlands on a partly cloudy day, and by my third loop across the boardwalk, it was turning into more difficult to maintain up with the fast-moving clouds and quickly altering mild situations. Forward, I noticed a big group of tourists, so I made a decision to decelerate and watch some Boat-tailed Grackles exhibiting courting habits. With the males clearly outnumbering the females, they have been frantically attempting to out-display each other to impress the women. After a couple of minutes, this feminine landed close by. It appeared each of us have been taking a time-out from the exercise round us. I used to be comfortable to seize a couple of pictures of her as she rested briefly earlier than flying off once more.

Northern Harrier by Jason Gilbody

Location: Salisbury Seaside State Reservation, Salisbury, MA
Behind the Shot: This feminine Northern Harrier was fairly the star at this location through the winter of 2021-2022. This seaside state park is sort of giant, however she had a sample of doing loops across the marsh. To our shock and disbelief, she got here out of nowhere and perched on this forked department. I moved barely and slowly to get one of the best angle, then stood as nonetheless as attainable to not disturb her or spook her from her perch. She stayed perched for minutes, preening and calling to the opposite harriers within the space as I photographed away. This picture of her preening was one in every of my favorites from the interplay. I cherished that she had remoted a single feather in her beak however continues to be wanting fairly intently throughout the marsh in case she sees her subsequent meal.

Indigo Bunting by Jane Gamble

Location: McKee-Beshers Wildlife Administration Space, Poolesville, MD
Behind the Shot: Yearly, the Maryland Division of Pure Sources vegetation the McKee-Beshers sunflower fields in Poolesville, MD. By early July, the sunflowers are at their peak, offering an excellent backdrop for photographers who come to seize the fleeting fantastic thing about the flowers and the creatures who worth the wealthy habitat. I used to be ready patiently, surrounded by sunflowers that towered over me however offered good cowl, once I noticed this feminine Indigo Bunting land with a juicy caterpillar in her beak. There was no posing for her—only a fast look in my route earlier than flying again to the timber together with her catch. It was sufficient time for me to snap the shot and seize the second. 

Lengthy-tailed Duck by Vicki Jauron

Location: Island Seaside State Park, NJ
Behind the Shot: The golden dawn colours, the comfortable waves, a single little feminine Lengthy-tailed Duck in profile as she crests the swell—this scene evokes a way of serenity and oneness with nature for me. The fowl is so small within the body that she can’t be the topic, but she provides a way of surprise, a way of vastness, and a deep sense of all being proper with the world. For me there isn’t a time higher than dawn to seize temper and emotion, and there is no place higher to do it than on the seaside. Throughout these occasions, I’m comfortable to cross paths with any fowl, shut or far, distinctive or frequent.    

Crimson-winged Blackbird by Kenneth Haas

Location: Upstate New York
Behind the Shot: I took this shot on a chilly, overcast, and windy afternoon in early Might. Across the pond on my property, the air was stuffed with the sound of a dozen Crimson-winged Blackbirds. When I seen cattail seeds flying within the wind throughout the body of my digital camera, I slowly and quietly moved my tripod across the tree obstructing my view to discover this feminine pulling seeds from final yr’s cattails and letting them fly. I took a sequence of pictures and he or she by no means seen me. She had hassle maintaining her steadiness within the robust wind as evidenced by the extension of her proper wing. Each spring the male Crimson-winged Blackbirds arrive first on my property with the females exhibiting up a few weeks later. This feminine had simply returned to the pond and was on the lookout for one of the best of final yr’s cattails to construct her nest. These birds are all the time welcome and particular guests to my residence.

American Kestrel by Robert Palmer

Location: Farmington Bay Wildlife Administration Space, Farmington, UT
Behind the Shot: I used to spend so much of time photographing wildlife, particularly birds on the waterfowl administration space on chilly winter mornings. At the present time was no exception: cloudy, 20 levels, no wind. There are normally a couple of American Kestrels hanging round, and this morning there was one kestrel that was preening in a tree with frost on the branches about 20 ft away. She was very centered on cleansing her feathers and never listening to me. I used to be in my automobile alongside the street and took plenty of pictures of her preening. I believe this picture illustrates the sweetness that may be present in a fowl performing a easy, every single day process. 

Golden-crowned Kinglet by Sharon Olson

Daintily perched upon the tip of a green spruce bough, a Golden-crowned Kinglet curiously inspects two brown pinecones. With its head cocked to the side, the splendid female shows off her white eye line and the shock of yellow across her crown for which this species is named..
Picture: Sharon Olson/Audubon Images Awards

Location: Clackamas County, OR
Behind the Shot: Whereas out strolling sooner or later in a wooded space, digital camera in hand, I heard a high-pitched refrain excessive up within the towering conifer timber. Upon taking a more in-depth look, I noticed a flurry of exercise with a flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets swiftly shifting amongst the plush inexperienced branches. My coronary heart skipped a beat realizing what a pleasant problem it will be to seize these small, nimble birds so excessive up within the treetops. I’m in fixed admiration observing birds and, so typically, the dedication of females who tirelessly commit themselves to selecting mates, constructing nests, and defending their younger and territories—typically efficiently and on their very own. Photographing birds and nature is awe-inspiring for me; it transports me into the second, permitting me to be consumed by the marvel unfolding proper in entrance of me.

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