Photography

Breathtaking bird photography in the 2021 Audubon Awards

Breathtaking bird photography ...
A red male Northern Cardinal seems to float above the snowy ground. Sony a9 II with Sony FE 200- 600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/5000 second at f/6.3; ISO 250
A red male Northern Cardinal seems to float above the snowy ground. Sony a9 II with Sony FE 200- 600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/5000 second at f/6.3; ISO 250
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In the midst of an evening dust bath, a Greater Roadrunner stands proudly, backlit by the sun. Nikon D500 with Nikon 500mm f/4.0 lens; 1/3200 second at f/6.3; ISO 2000
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In the midst of an evening dust bath, a Greater Roadrunner stands proudly, backlit by the sun. Nikon D500 with Nikon 500mm f/4.0 lens; 1/3200 second at f/6.3; ISO 2000
A newborn Sandhill Crane colt rests atop its mother, its body curled around her red- crowned head. Sony A9 with Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/800 second at f 6.3; ISO 1600
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A newborn Sandhill Crane colt rests atop its mother, its body curled around her red- crowned head. Sony A9 with Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/800 second at f 6.3; ISO 1600
Atop a rocky cliff littered with feathers, a Peregrine Falcon stands with a red-crested Acorn Woodpecker in its bloodied talons. Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon 600mm f/4 IS II with Canon 1.4x III Teleconverter; 1/1250 second at f/8; ISO 2500
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Atop a rocky cliff littered with feathers, a Peregrine Falcon stands with a red-crested Acorn Woodpecker in its bloodied talons. Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon 600mm f/4 IS II with Canon 1.4x III Teleconverter; 1/1250 second at f/8; ISO 2500
A female Northern Harrier flies over a wetland, her broad wings raised over her head. Sony a9 with Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM FE OSS lens and 2x Teleconverter; 1/2000 second at f/5.6; ISO 1600
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A female Northern Harrier flies over a wetland, her broad wings raised over her head. Sony a9 with Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM FE OSS lens and 2x Teleconverter; 1/2000 second at f/5.6; ISO 1600
More than a dozen purple blooms on a Pride of Madeira plant obscure all but a blurred wing and one eye of an Anna's Hummingbird. Nikon D500 with AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens; 1/1600 second at f/5.6; ISO 1400
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More than a dozen purple blooms on a Pride of Madeira plant obscure all but a blurred wing and one eye of an Anna's Hummingbird. Nikon D500 with AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens; 1/1600 second at f/5.6; ISO 1400
Beak deep in a partially opened, yellow flower emerging from the water, a gray female Red-winged Blackbird stands balancing on a lily pad. Canon EOS-1DX Mark II with Canon EF 400 f/4 DO lens and Canon Extender EF 2x III; 1/2000 second at f/8; ISO 1600
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Beak deep in a partially opened, yellow flower emerging from the water, a gray female Red-winged Blackbird stands balancing on a lily pad. Canon EOS-1DX Mark II with Canon EF 400 f/4 DO lens and Canon Extender EF 2x III; 1/2000 second at f/8; ISO 1600
The brown, cylindrical top of a cattail stands upright as a green Anna’s Hummingbird half its size pulls away seed fibers. Sony a7R IV with a Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens; 1/5000 second at f/4; ISO 800
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The brown, cylindrical top of a cattail stands upright as a green Anna’s Hummingbird half its size pulls away seed fibers. Sony a7R IV with a Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens; 1/5000 second at f/4; ISO 800
A red male Northern Cardinal seems to float above the snowy ground. Sony a9 II with Sony FE 200- 600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/5000 second at f/6.3; ISO 250
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A red male Northern Cardinal seems to float above the snowy ground. Sony a9 II with Sony FE 200- 600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/5000 second at f/6.3; ISO 250
A Red-tailed Hawk holds an open-mouthed chipmunk in its yellow talons. Sony a9ii with Sony FE 200- 600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/2000 second at f/7.1; ISO 3200
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A Red-tailed Hawk holds an open-mouthed chipmunk in its yellow talons. Sony a9ii with Sony FE 200- 600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/2000 second at f/7.1; ISO 3200
A Purple Sandpiper sits with its beak tucked under its brown and gray wing. Nikon D850 with AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/800 second at f/7.1; ISO 320
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A Purple Sandpiper sits with its beak tucked under its brown and gray wing. Nikon D850 with AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/800 second at f/7.1; ISO 320
A Canada Goose flies up from the water, its wings outstretched and beak agape as another Canada Goose, wings bent at 90-degree angles, honks back. Nikon D7100 with AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED lens and Nikon TC-14E II 1.4x Teleconverter; 1/640 second at f/7.1; ISO 720
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A Canada Goose flies up from the water, its wings outstretched and beak agape as another Canada Goose, wings bent at 90-degree angles, honks back. Nikon D7100 with AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED lens and Nikon TC-14E II 1.4x Teleconverter; 1/640 second at f/7.1; ISO 720
View gallery - 11 images

A beautiful shot of a Roadrunner taking a dust bath has taken the top prize in this year’s Audubon Photography Awards. In its 12th year, the contest continues to offer up an incredible annual selection of bird photographs.

The Grand Prize this year went to Carolina Fraser for a shot taken at Los Novios Ranch in Texas. The image of a Greater Roadrunner, known to rarely use water for bathing, perfectly captures the unique bird taking a dust bath.

In the midst of an evening dust bath, a Greater Roadrunner stands proudly, backlit by the sun. Nikon D500 with Nikon 500mm f/4.0 lens; 1/3200 second at f/6.3; ISO 2000
In the midst of an evening dust bath, a Greater Roadrunner stands proudly, backlit by the sun. Nikon D500 with Nikon 500mm f/4.0 lens; 1/3200 second at f/6.3; ISO 2000

“On a blazing hot summer day just before sunset, I found myself lying facedown at an uncomfortable angle, my elbows digging into a gravel path as I photographed this roadrunner,” says Fraser. “I manually adjusted the white balance until I captured the bird bathed in golden sunlight as it took a dust bath.”

This year’s contest received nearly 9,000 submissions from more than 2,400 photographers. A new Video category was included for the first time, plus a special Female Bird Prize was awarded to the best shot of a female bird.

A Red-tailed Hawk holds an open-mouthed chipmunk in its yellow talons. Sony a9ii with Sony FE 200- 600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/2000 second at f/7.1; ISO 3200
A Red-tailed Hawk holds an open-mouthed chipmunk in its yellow talons. Sony a9ii with Sony FE 200- 600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS lens; 1/2000 second at f/7.1; ISO 3200

An exceptional highlight in the top picks from this year’s contest is Steve Jessmore’s shot of a Red-tailed Hawk staring down at a captured chipmunk. Taken while hiking in Michigan, Jessmore says the photograph depicts a rarely-seen moment between predator and prey.

“When an eastern chipmunk ran from beneath the debris a few minutes later, the hawk quickly caught it and carried it to a tree,” says Jessmore, describing the moment. “It was incredible to see that connection between predator and prey – one that I don’t usually get to share in a wildlife photo.”

Take a look through our gallery at more of the top picks from this spectacular photography competition and check out last year's highlights for more stunning avian snaps.

Source: Audubon

View gallery - 11 images
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