Wings of desire: The winners of the 2023 Audubon Photo Awards
As any ornithologist will tell you, birds are wonderful, funny and expressive animals, so it's no surprise they also make such incredible subjects for nature photo competitions.
The 2023 Audubon Photography Awards return to show off the most fabulous feathered finds captured in the wild by some very talented snappers.
Formed over a century ago, the National Audubon Society has hundreds of chapters across the US. Named after 19th century artist John Audubon, known for his bird illustrations, the annual contest aims to spotlight a huge range of bird behavior across North America. Over the years the awards have attracted some of the most talented bird photographers able to capture bird behavior, which you can revisit for 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019.
These rock pigeons, snapped at White Rock, British Columbia, earned Liron Gertsman the grand prize this year, showcasing their glorious colors as they preen each other. While we see these birds across the globe, it's not often we stop to see how stunning they are and how sweet their courtship rituals are.
A chinstrap penguin taking a leap of faith off an iceberg near Esperanza Station in Cierva Cove, Antarctica, was a stunning shot from amateur winner Karen Blackwood, who hails from very far away, in Colorado. Chinstrap penguins are very social animals and will hit the water to hunt for krill. Incidentally, their poop plays an important role in the health of our oceans.
Fittingly, this brown pelican was captured in the Galápagos National Park, Ecuador, a region known for incredible biodiversity and a magnet for wildlife lovers eager to see what Charles Darwin witnessed nearly 200 years ago (and what inspired the foundations of evolutionary biology, The Origin of the Species). The smallest of pelican species, the brown pelican is a common sight in the Galápagos. When a female lays her eggs, usually two or three, both her and her partner will work on the incubation duties.
For more of these incredible shots, check out our gallery, and below, don't miss the video category winner (short-eared owls) and honorable mention (osprey and fish), both shot by Steven Chu.
Source: National Audubon Society