Soar with the 2022 Bird Photographer of the Year winners
The winners of the world’s largest bird photography contest have been revealed featuring a spectacular array of avian sights, from a hummingbird catching a droplet of water to a gorgeous snap of a rock ptarmigan launching off the top of a mountain.
This year’s contest attracted more than 20,000 entries, with its adult competition spanning eight categories: Best Portrait, Birds in the Environment, Attention to Detail, Bird Behavior, Birds in Flight, Black and White, Urban Birds, and Creative Imagery. Three youth categories also focus on age groups eight and under, nine to 13, and 14 to 17.
Norwegian photographer Erlend Haarberg won the overall top prize this year for a beautifully composed shot taken atop the snow-covered mountains of Tysfjord. Haarberg caught the rare sight of a rock ptarmigan while hiking up the mountain for some landscape shots.
“I had almost reached the summit when I spotted some ptarmigan tracks criss-crossing between the rocks, where the wind had uncovered some sparse vegetation,” Haarberg said. “From behind a rock, a small head appeared, and seconds later it took to the wing with the mountains and fjord landscape in the background, setting the scene perfectly.”
Another highlight in this year’s selection came from US photographer Peter Ismert. It took Ismert days to capture the rarely photographed sight of two male sage-grouses fighting to impress female onlookers.
“I entered my hide in the middle of the night, trying to sleep as best I could before the early- morning hours,” Ismert explained. “At first light I awoke to booming sounds made by the male grouse, and the sight of their unusual display and this particular battle.”
The competition features a strong focus on conservation, donating some of its proceeds to Birds on the Brink, a charity focused on protecting bird habitats around the world. All images entered into the competition must be taken in the wild, with no baited intervention or domesticated birds.
Take a look through our gallery at more highlights from this years contest.