- Bird

The 2022 Audubon Pictures Awards: The High 100

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

We could not cease there, with so many extra distinctive pictures—and distinctive birds—price sharing. So we’ve chosen 100 further pictures to function. Displayed in no specific order, these pictures give only a style of birds’ wonderful selection. Additionally 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 could encourage you to choose up a digital camera and seize your personal distinctive avian moments. Remember to peruse our pictures part as you get began, together with ideas and how-to’s, Audubon’s moral pointers for wildlife pictures, and gear suggestions

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 crucial frequent collision victims in New York Metropolis, when I discovered this hen. I spent hours photographing him as he seemed for meals between bushes and leaves. I made a decision to lie down on the bottom and watch for the hen to come back 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 photograph will probably be helpful for elevating consciousness about collisions and options to stop them, similar 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: Novice

  • 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 season morning, I seen this browner-than-usual Black Phoebe perched close to a lake’s edge. Taking a look at it by way 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 not at all 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 way of the Lake Erie space to search 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 hen 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 hen that appeared to glow by itself little branched stage. I relish observing conduct and spending time with birds that many overlook. Moments like this convey 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 crucial outstanding weeks of my 16-year pictures profession. I used to be notified of a spot the place not less than 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 all the pieces coated in hoarfrost, which remained on the timber all day. Instantly after this owl hunted in entrance of me, it headed to this stand of pink 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: Novice

  • 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 needed to seize pictures at dawn, but it surely wasn’t till my final morning that I bought the prospect. 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 a gorgeous 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: Novice

  • 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, tons of of Bonaparte’s Gulls collect in Puget Sound far out from shore, resting on the water’s floor and taking quick foraging flights alongside it. Simply earlier than I took the photograph, tons of of the gulls took flight concurrently, flying low over the water within the route of my digital camera. I tracked this massive group because the gulls approached. Simply earlier than reaching my location, the birds began to steadily 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 all the time 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 an area park, I seen a Tree Swallow gathering 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: Novice

  • 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 essentially the most stunning hummingbirds however solely bought terrible pictures of them. In the future 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 hen up and down the dry creek mattress. After 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 pictures earlier than she flew off. It took tons of of pictures, eight ounces of sweat, and any respect the native hikers had for me, however I lastly bought this photograph. 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: Novice

  • 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 seen after I arrived at my campsite at Maasai Mara Nationwide Park was a loud chirping coming from a big acacia tree. After I walked towards the tree, I noticed a colony of Village Weaver birds working arduous 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 considered one of my favorites as a result of the hen 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 an area 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 conduct many occasions however not often have had the chance to painting it artistically—till one particular morning. I centered 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 take care of concentrate on the now partially obscured hen, however not fairly realizing what I might get. Inspecting the sequence of photographs 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: Novice

  • 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 Jap Bluebirds (a lifer for me), I seen a feminine Ruby-throated Hummingbird (additionally a lifer for me) feeding on sage. After I later seemed on the pictures I took, I used to be stunned to see yellow on the hen’s head. A more in-depth 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 hen’s head because the hen reached deeply into the flower to get to the nectar. I additional seen 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 glorious instance of coevolution of plant and hen. 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: Novice

  • 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 Sparkles as they raised their chicks. Essentially the most difficult half was making an attempt to get each mother and pa 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 a little bit curved. I actually just like the impact and proceed to make use of after I can. When the Northern Sparkles present up within the spring, they change into the primary speaking level in our house 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: Novice

  • 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 once we noticed the Nice Grey Owl. As we slowly approached, we seen that she was calling ever so softly. I used to be about to report a video once 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 bought 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 crucial humbling experiences of my life. After I have 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: Novice

  • 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 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 hen 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, wanting down by way of the cover, the hen made eye contact, her gaze delicate 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: Novice

  • 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 evening. The feeder that this hen defended is outdoors the window the place I do business from home. Because it began to snow someday, I took a break to take some pictures. Because it was so chilly, this hummingbird needed to remain close to the feeder and was simple to seize. I used to be excited after I noticed the proper 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 will be discovered at house.

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: Novice

  • 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 forwards and backwards, 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 bought the impression he loved getting his photograph taken (or seeing his reflection within the lens). Persistence and luck are the true winners of this photograph as he wouldn’t stay nonetheless. Flocks of American Flamingos was common guests to the Florida Keys. At the moment there are just about none, and the few which are right here have escaped from zoos. Rhett reminds Key West guests of the attractive birds we have now 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: Novice

  • Location: Audubon Beidler Forest Middle 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 lively Prothonotary Warbler pair feeding its chicks within the eerily nonetheless, quiet, and virtually mystical Audubon Beidler Forest Sanctuary. The forest’s serenity was sometimes shattered by the hoots of a Barred Owl, however extra ceaselessly by the flash of the brilliant yellow hen 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 sometimes popped up with their mouths large open. My quick shutter pace mixed with the low mild 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 seen a Carolina Wren calling with agitation. Curious, I headed nearer and located two birds: one hopping round and a second suspended the other way up, its foot trapped within the fork of a twig. As I slowly approached the trapped wren, the primary hen flew off into a close-by shrub. I rigorously watched it for any indicators of misery and seen the attractive backlight on the hen’s face from the setting solar. I shortly raised my digital camera to seize the distinctive perspective on a typical species. Then I gently wrapped my hand across the hen’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: Novice

  • 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 doable. 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 synthetic 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 employees 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: Novice

  • 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 instantly 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 appear to be its wings have morphed into one bigger wing over its head. You by no means know what you will get with wildlife pictures, 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: Novice

  • 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 world across the walkway close to La Jolla Cove, I noticed a colony of nesting Brandt’s Cormorants. Photographing right here will 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 world is filled with particles starting from twigs and different nest-building materials to shrubbery and copious hen 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 shiny blue gular pouch in hopes of attracting a feminine. Sadly for this hen, 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: Novice

  • 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 seaside in Fort De Soto Park after I noticed a bunch of terns diving for fish. They took considered one of two actions: If when diving they missed the fish, they flew larger and shook and shimmied to dry their feathers. If the tern efficiently caught a fish, it flew larger and flipped the fish, caught it head-first, and swallowed it. I centered on the place a tern splashed into the water, adopted it because it rose from the water, and hoped the hen and fish could be aligned for an important picture. I did this again and again, getting higher at timing the exercise with every dive. This picture was the very best of the collection, the hen’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: Novice

  • 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 often, 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 seemed much like the fire-flames on previous scorching rods. When the hen passed by, it seemed as me as if it was superbly badass, seemingly unaware its magnificence was, nicely, 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 realizing 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 bought on my abdomen within the snow to {photograph} them. After strolling round for a bit, they stopped to examine one another’s beaks, choosing off small items of filth and snow. One of the best half, although, had been the sounds they made, speaking to one another in delicate 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: Novice

  • 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 technique 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 degree with the birds. They don’t acknowledge you as an individual and can get very shut. This lone avocet was driving the waves whereas strolling although the water. This photograph provides 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 provides 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: Novice

  • 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 over a useless gull. The grownup eagle snatched the meal from the younger eagle and began flying towards me simply as I bought 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: Novice

  • 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 way of an city park one night after I noticed a small group of Killdeer foraging for worms alongside the lakeshore. I bought belly-down within the mud to get a greater angle. By way of the viewfinder, I seen that, because the birds moved by way of the mudflats, they kicked up little clouds of shore flies, which glowed within the afternoon mild. Nothing on this scene was notably stunning taken from a wide-angle perspective; I beloved how getting in tight to the macro world reveals how particular any second in nature will 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. After I seen that the sundown was getting fairly colourful, I positioned myself the place the setting solar could be behind the hen. I knew that the owl would probably go away quickly to hunt. I stayed low in order to not disturb the hen and waited. When the owl stretched and pooped (an precise hen pictures 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 various pictures.

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 hen 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 often a myriad of birds round, however I’m keen on the plovers. So many individuals appear to stroll the seashores with out seeing them in any respect; I really like the concept of taking pictures what others could 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: Novice

  • 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. Wanting down, I seen a hummingbird bathing within the water pooling on shrub leaves. Sensing a photograph alternative, I took a number of pictures because the hen 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 season, 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. In the future at sundown, I made a decision that I needed a photograph of this man, considered one 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: Novice

  • 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” photograph of any hen 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 centered on the hen. As quickly as I noticed it on the brink of fly, I took as many pictures as I may. This shot was my favourite as a result of the hen appears to be like 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: Novice

  • 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, all the time splashing and diving into water to catch prey or hurriedly carry out aerial shows. I noticed a female and male by way 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 frequently offers.

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: Novice

  • 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 hen. The most important problem was standing nonetheless within the biting wind, and I routinely stuffed my arms 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: Novice

  • 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 task in Padre Island Nationwide Seashore, I spent my off time exploring state parks and native preserves. I spent many weekends trying to find the attractive Inexperienced Jay with no luck. Then one spring morning, because the solar crammed the horizon, I heard the track I had been in search of. 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: Novice

  • 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 mountaineering 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 commentary tower to {photograph} the sundown. Straight away I seen a male Vermilion Flycatcher flying forwards and backwards from a tree department because it snatched bugs in midair. I switched from a wide-angle to a telephoto lens to higher 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: Novice

  • 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 getting ready to extinction till sturdy conservation efforts introduced it again. Greater than half of the world’s inhabitants can now be present in jap Hokkaido. Many roost in a single day in the midst of this river on the island. On a winter morning, in what was in all probability the coldest temperature that I had ever skilled, I bought up early to catch the primary mild 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: Novice

  • 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 mild, however a flock of Canada Geese close to the lake caught my consideration. One dipped its beak into the water, and I immediately needed to seize its grace. I adjusted my digital camera settings and laid flat on the bottom to get eye-level pictures. Whereas I modified my settings, one other goose approached a spot with excellent lighting and began dipping its head within the water as nicely. I fired a flurry of pictures 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 an area wildlife refuge to {photograph} geese within the components. I had been engaged on a collection of pictures capturing particulars within the feathers of geese for fairly a while, so I used to be wanting 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 centered on his droplet-covered again. When folks consider locations with stunning, brightly coloured birds, they have an inclination to consider the tropics. Spectacular birds will be discovered nearly wherever 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 seaside 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 pictures of skimmers arriving with fish to feed their younger, zooming in for closeups. Below these circumstances, it’s a wrestle to maintain the hen correctly framed, however at one level, I managed to seize a number of pictures of a skimmer flying instantly 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 discipline, drawing consideration to the hen’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 considered one 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. Abruptly, it determined to take a full tub. 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 alternative 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: Novice

  • 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 transferring 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 standard (and cute) honking of a Pink-breasted Nuthatch. After 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 choice was a constructing at present below building. I all the time 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: Novice

  • 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 iced up. 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 may 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 very best burst charge 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 12 months’s Day 2021, and it took numerous willpower to bundle up and drive over the Teton Go, however I needed to begin the yr off with some good pictures. I wandered down the highway to Kelly, the place I believed I’d see some moose. After I handed a heat spring, which usually appears to be like like an strange 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. After I noticed the setting solar had turned the mist yellow, I bought this photograph as a swan stretched its wings.

46. Yellow-crowned Evening-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 Evening-Heron had discovered a house in a small stretch of mangroves surrounded by tall buildings, a busy highway, and boat visitors. He appeared comparatively undisturbed by the hectic environment. I had watched this hen hunt and chase off youthful herons from his coveted looking grounds. After a profitable crab catch, the glad heron started preening, his breeding plumes blowing within the air. To succeed in him in entrance of the mangroves, I military crawled to my topic. The quick 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 beautiful 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 dashing at a lake close to my house, I’ve needed to seize the courting conduct. After I tried to {photograph} them from the shore, although, they might by no means rush shut sufficient. I seen 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 noticed the very best time to see grebes dashing in good mild was within the morning. I bought 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 power them to maneuver and positioned myself with the solar behind me. Hours later they turned extra lively, 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: Novice

  • 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 bought okay pictures however determined to come back again later that week to see if I may get luckier. To my shock, I did. This owl spent an hour looking between a few perches as the attractive 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: Novice

  • 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 a gorgeous Yellow-breasted Chat. I wait till the mustard flowers are in full bloom, an exquisite cowl for the hen. I rigorously scan the world, listening for its whistles, screeches, mew calls, cackles, high-pitched notes, and clucks. After some time, there it’s, proud and great, within the open, singing its coronary heart out as if its life relied on it. It provides me its greatest spring track and reveals its vibrant coloration. My digital camera is prepared, I take a breath to settle down 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: Novice

  • 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 often, so I used to be capable of experiment with totally 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 residence constructing within the background and took this photograph utilizing an extended publicity with out flash. Perched owls will 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 a logo of hope and surprise in a metropolis struggling vastly by way 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: Novice

  • 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 house, I began checking in on them virtually every single day through the breeding season. The pond supplied glorious alternatives to watch and {photograph} these birds from a comparatively quick 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 bought some good pictures of its stalking pose. Very quickly after this photograph was taken, it caught a large 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: Novice

  • 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 troublesome hike to False Cape means there aren’t many individuals on this stretch of quiet seaside, 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 centered 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 believed 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 dad and mom accomplished with their two overly excited children.

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: Novice

  • 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 go away for Spain, however we canceled our journey and drove to the Skagit Valley as a substitute. 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 traumatic 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 identical degree 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: Novice

  • 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 Warfare battlefields. The day past’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 circumstances created a surreal, glowing silver and golden bokeh. Conserving 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: Novice

  • 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 gradual spring rain, I captured this American Bittern portrait. The hen stayed completely idle throughout a prolonged downpour, deep inside a freshwater wetland. Whereas the circumstances had been dreary, it was unimaginable to observe this wonderful and steadfast species. American Bitterns are endangered within the state of Pennsylvania attributable to declining habitat and the standard of remaining wetlands. I’ve been making an attempt to doc these birds, which will be troublesome 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: Novice

  • 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 season 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 doable place, a Virginia Rail ran throughout the boardwalk. I turned to the place the rail stopped, taking some pictures whereas the hen 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: Novice

  • 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 Sparkles making their house within reach 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 way of overhanging leaves to create this pure blurred inexperienced body. Because the season progressed, we noticed each dad and mom 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 could have spent extra time at house that spring, however we nonetheless felt linked to the broader world by way 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: Novice

  • 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 bought 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 hen is sort of frequent in Florida, however the entire sudden, the sight of it made me catch my breath. The solar was nonetheless fairly low behind the hen, and the rays went straight by way of the pelican’s throat pouch, making it glow radiantly within the low mild. The throat pouch’s capability to suit thrice extra fish than its abdomen has all the time 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: Novice

  • 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 bought me into birding over the course of the pandemic. She gave me binoculars, but it surely 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 a tremendous sight unto itself, however then I seen 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 simply all the time come away with not less than one standout reminiscence—a second of experiencing true unfiltered nature. The photograph 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: Novice

  • 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 neighborhood 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 middle. 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 forged heat reflections that stretched into the calm, chilly waters. This grebe, gliding effortlessly, sliced by way 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 mild. 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 quite a lot 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 seen some White Pelicans within the lake close to my house. The Mississippi River Delta is thought for its abundance of wildlife, notably 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 an identical birds swimming in excellent unison. Grabbing my digital camera and heading nearer to the lake, I captured what has change into a favourite photograph of mine: a shot that embodies each the chaos and peace of a tight-knit neighborhood.

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. Presently through the summer season, smoke from fires all through the West blew into the jap 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 seemed 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: Novice

  • 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 by day I take my lunch break on the UC Davis Arboretum, the place I work as a researcher utilizing genetic instruments to check wildlife conservation. I’m all the time amazed how wild the arboretum feels, with waterbirds making their approach 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. In the future I noticed this magnificent Nice Blue Heron sitting in a pine tree overlooking the water. I sat snapping pictures and watching folks go by, having fun with their appears to be like of wonderment after they noticed the heron perched above. This photograph 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: Novice

  • 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 dad and mom inspired the colts to search out their very own meal. To my shock, they had been fairly profitable. Then, one of many dad and mom discovered a damselfly on the bottom. Fairly than consuming it, the grownup grabbed it in its beak and referred to 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 dad or mum 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: Novice

  • 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 coated with snow. As I used to be making an attempt to {photograph} her, I seen two very vocal Blue Jays. I used to be capable of focus and shoot a burst of pictures as they fought, their feathers seeming to glow within the mild. I had all the time 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 tasks was capturing distinctive portraits of frequent birds such because the Track Sparrow. Though some might imagine these birds are boring due to their bland colours, I feel 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 capable of seize him on flowers and with totally different lighting. In the future, I seen a white automotive within the background take a left flip with its headlights on. I took many pictures and was very excited after I took a photograph with Fergus’s head in entrance of the sunshine, which seemed 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 because the 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 (an area rarity) had been reported for a number of days. After some looking, I discovered it sitting on the finish of a lower 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: Novice

  • 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 destructive 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 often 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 hen flitted in entrance of an interesting-looking cavern rimmed with hoarfrost and started preening. The hen 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 wanting down with closed eyes coated 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: Novice

  • 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 neighborhood science mission gathering plastic pellets referred to 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 collection of pictures because the eagle gained raise and moved down the seaside. Discovering shorebirds and eagles alongside this stretch of coast brings the conservation and restoration work that I’ve accomplished by way of the years full circle for me. As a discipline biologist, author, and photographer, the weather of what I do and what I respect 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: Novice

  • 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 way 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 way 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 will be fully soaked by way of by a heavy rain in minutes. Since this hen was fully nonetheless, I used an extended publicity to elongate the raindrops and provides a little bit of context to that basic 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 technique. However I actually needed to {photograph} one throughout a sundown. One evening, after I may 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 conserving my digital camera above the waves, I began snapping till the solar ducked under the horizon. I walked off the seaside that evening soaking moist and coated in sand however with recollections I’ll cherish the remainder of my life.

74. Larger 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, due to extra water within the setting, flamingos and plenty of different waterbirds have come again, enriching the conventional safari expertise. Whereas observing the birds in 2021, I noticed two Larger Flamingos concerned in some kind of encounter. Whether or not their interplay was amicable, amorous, or in any other case, was unclear, but it surely was enjoyable watching them beak to beak, contorting their necks collectively into totally different shapes. It was refreshing to seize this interplay moderately than the standard beak-down feeding conduct.

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: Novice

  • 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 arduous 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 whole face coated with gnats, I used to be nonetheless awestruck by the swish look of this threatened, ancient-looking hen. Whereas watching the stork by way of the viewfinder, I seen that the grass behind it glowed within the mild. At that second, the stork gave me the proper pose. I lowered my gear to the muddy floor as a lot as doable to get an eye-level shot of this complete scene.

76. Jap 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: Novice

  • 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 Jap 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 may by no means catch. I adopted the household alongside a row of vegetation down the sting of the pond. The dad and mom 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 bought into place, lining up a shot by way 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: Novice

  • 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 conserving a watch out for fall migrants. I seen this stunning juvenile Cooper’s Hawk roosting in considered one 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: Novice

  • 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 one more guys’ journey. As all the time, 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 bought 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 fireplace 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: Novice

  • 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 seaside in entrance of my resort and found a flock of Black Skimmers—tons of of them huddled tightly collectively, going through the identical route. Often they might 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 putting design created by their black and white our bodies contrasting with their shiny orange beaks and legs. When considered in profile, the birds’ colours created one form of visible sample, and when considered head-on, as on this photograph, they seemed fully totally different—virtually like penguins. I admired the skimmers’ endurance, 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: Novice

  • 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 hen pictures 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. Conserving such quick flyers centered within the viewfinder proved the toughest half as they zoomed by. I studied their flight conduct and discovered to identify good candidates whereas panning at simply the proper 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 arms froze and I couldn’t really feel my fingers, however I beloved the expertise of being alone with the animals in nature. On the planet of birds, males have shiny and flashy colours and are usually extra photographed. As an alternative, I primarily centered my consideration on females. I preferred 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: Novice

  • 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 intensive 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 seaside till the panorama bathed in a golden glow. I may see scattered shorebirds roosting for the evening among the many seaside and dunes, however the solar setting in entrance of me barred me from the standard shot. I modified my settings to seize the birds in silhouette and zoomed out to get them of their setting. I really like the look of the dunes and distant crashing waves, making the birds appear as if 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: Novice

  • 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 mild required that I exploit a a lot larger 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: Novice

  • 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 seen this feminine hummingbird flying low and ceaselessly visiting a moss garden. It didn’t take lengthy to search out her nest. I hoped to {photograph} the second when she picked up some nesting supplies from the bottom, so I discovered a great spot to lie down on my abdomen, arrange my publicity to seize the hen in flight, and waited. Shortly after, she flew again to the positioning, dived to the moss garden, and picked up a bit along 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 considered one 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 lots of the salmon carcasses had been washed downstream. Nonetheless, because the waters started to recede, I photographed the eagles that gathered in the hunt for meals. Spending the morning ready on the sting of a river within the rain, I used to be rewarded when an eagle flew right 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: Novice

  • 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 come back to the east finish of Lengthy Island from November by way of March. However they typically keep within the dunes and will be arduous to identify. Although that they had been on my bucket record to seize—and I clocked many miles looking—I had by no means been capable of {photograph} one. Lastly, nonetheless, on a visit to the shore, I noticed one me by way of the seaside grass. I used to be very grateful: It was my final likelihood 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: Novice

  • 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 considered one of my favourite trails within the park after I heard the acquainted name of a White-breasted Nuthatch. I scanned the world till I seen it transferring 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 a better department to seize a fast snack. White-breasted Nuthatches are considered one of my favourite species. Witnessing their quirky conduct 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 organising my digital camera going through a Western Screech-Owl’s cavity, I hoped that the hen would come out quickly. In any case, hiding within the bushes and taking pictures at the hours of darkness round a couple of residence buildings is usually one thing that I don’t wish to be doing for too lengthy. After the solar went down, and after a couple of bizarre appears to be like had been thrown my approach, I used to be nearly to take off after I noticed a small shadow transferring inside the cavity. The hen was awake! Fortunately, I used to be capable of seize some nice pictures 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: Novice

  • 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 encircling 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 bear 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, tons of of pairs now nest right here—and the numbers proceed to develop. That near-loss and noteworthy 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 a gorgeous 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 approach nearer to us as the sunshine finally light 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: Novice

  • 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 will be difficult to {photograph} since they often 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 mild 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 recent sand close by. Behind me, visitors streamed on a busy highway. To my proper, automobiles and folks 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 questioned if the plover felt the identical. But after a couple of minutes, all the pieces melted away, leaving simply me and a gorgeous hen in glowing golden mild.

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: Novice

  • 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 go away your automotive on the Ridgefield Nationwide Wildlife Refuge; as a substitute, 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 discipline. 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. In the event 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. Larger 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 proper birthday would begin with an early morning at a Larger Sage-Grouse lek. I’ve an early March birthday, and the lek at the moment of yr is usually unproductive, with just some males half-heartedly displaying. Nonetheless, I satisfied my dad to drive me out as a birthday current. We arrived nicely earlier than dawn and found three feeding males. I snuck out of the automotive and laid down on the highway to get eye-level pictures when the rising solar peeked out from behind the clouds, offering me with gorgeous golden backlighting as this male displayed. Although my arms 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: Novice

  • 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 an area dam proved price it after I seen 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 wrestle 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 bought 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: Novice

  • 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 every week in Hilton Head, so I hopped away from bed. It was low tide, and there was not a hen 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 way of clouds. He had an virtually ethereal look. I instantly dropped to my knees, hoping I wouldn’t scare him off. After 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: Novice

  • 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 may concentrate on 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: Novice

  • Location: George C. Reifel Migratory Chook 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 Chook Sanctuary. It’s a great park the place numerous migratory birds cease and overwinter. You by no means know what you will note if you go. The day I went, I hoped to search out Sandhill Cranes. As an alternative, 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 an exquisite shot. It wasn’t till I bought house and processed the picture that I seen 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: Novice

  • 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 attractive Puget Sound, I watched the native Buffleheads socialize, preen, and splash round within the water. Just a few of them dipped their payments barely into the water after which quickly raised their heads, inflicting a little bit splash. Over the following two hours I waited to {photograph} this conduct. 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 alternative 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: Novice

  • 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 maintain 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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