The awe-inspiring winners of the Bird Photographer of the Year awards
A sublime shot of a Roadrunner facing the US-Mexico border wall has taken top prize in this year’s Bird Photographer of the Year contest. The contest is one of the biggest in the world to solely focus on bird photography.
The contest spans eight different categories including Portraits, Bird Behavior, Birds in Flight and Black and White. This year more than 22,000 entries were submitted, all competing for a cash prize of £5,000 (US$6,880).
The not-for-profit competition is designed to support bird conservation charities. This year several thousand dollars went to helping Birds on the Brink.
Alejandro Prieto’s winning photograph ostensibly appears to be very political, however, he points out the intention with the shot is to highlight the threat to biodiversity these kinds of structures can impose on local animal habitats.
“The border wall crosses deserts, mountains, and even mangroves,” explains Prieto. “It is not just desert, and is in fact very biodiverse with more than 1,500 animal and plants species threatened by the wall. I have watched many different animals reach the wall before turning around and heading back.”
Another highlight is Indian photographer Mousam Ray’s snap of a Crimson Sunbird bathing in a floral bath. Ray captured this image in the early evening and was surprised to see the bird so thoroughly immersed in the water.
“…it was a unique experience to see this sunbird immersing herself upside down in water contained in an ornamental flower petal, like a lady in a bathtub,” says Ray. “Her relaxed and indulgent manner, lit by the glow of sunset, was truly a sight to behold.”
Other highlights include a stunning portrait of an ominous owl, a surreal perspective on a massive flock of birds, and an incredible view of a penguin reflected in a wet sandy beach.