18 Best Bird Photos Of 2019 Have Been Announced, And They’re Amazing




The Bird Photographer of the Year is an annually held bird photography competition where photographers from all over the world compete for the grand prize. And now, after a whole year of waiting, the winners of this year’s competition have finally been announced.

The winner of this year’s Bird Photographer of the Year title and a £5,000 prize is British photographer Caron Steele and her majestic photograph of a Dalmatian Pelican on a frozen Lake Kerkini in Greece. Check out Caron’s photograph and other category winners in the gallery below!

#1 Caron Steele – Bird Photographer Of The Year
‘On arriving in Greece to photograph the Dalmatian Pelicans in their breeding plumage I discovered that Lake Kerkini, their favoured haunt, had frozen for the first time in 16 years; all the pelicans had flown off. Fortunately, a few holes started to thaw in the lake and the birds slowly began to return. Unused to the slippery icy surface of the lake they regaled us with hilarious antics as they slid across the lake surface trying to retain control as they took off and landed. I was lucky enough to capture one such rare moment when this magnificent pelican ran towards me across the ice at dusk before taking off. It was a truly unique experience, both magical and comical at the same time. And the image remains a moment of pure joy captured forever.’

#2 Yashodhan Bhatia – Best Portrait – Honorable Mention
‘Those small dark profiles, flying with super-fast manoeuvres in the sky, are swifts or swallows. Identifying them is a challenge unless you have a good look at them. Of course they do differ, only slightly in size or in details of plumage. All of them are adapted for high speed flight, thanks to slender, streamlined bodies, short necks, long pointed wings and small beaks. These all adaptations are for hunting insects in mid-air at breakneck speeds. I found a small colony of Little Swifts under a bridge on a state highway and thought of spending time with them to get some unusual perspectives. It took me four sessions in two days and numerous pictures to get the desired result. I was amazed at how these tiny birds have truly mastered flight. While gliding, they continually change the shape of their wings, albeit very subtly, and optimize their aerodynamic performance to control lift, thrust, drag and what not.’

#3 Cat Edwardes – Creative Imagery – Honorable Mention
‘I wanted to take a slightly different image of a hummingbird to capture the light through its delicate wings. I found a particularly good flower that would work in silhouette. In the end I had to take hundreds of images until I got the perfect wing position and a slight separation between the bird and the flower. This is all captured in-camera.’

#4 Chad Larsen – Garden And Urban Birds – Gold
‘My wife and I had been photographing Snowy Owls for a couple days during the Christmas Holidays in Saskatchewan. On this morning, I returned to the same area and could not believe what I was seeing… an all-white Snowy Owl on a quaint white church! Trying to focus on a white owl set against a very light backdrop proved to be very difficult. However, my biggest challenge was getting into a central position without disturbing this peaceful moment: I knew an opportunity like this might never happen again.’

#5 Csaba Tokolyi – Attention To Detail – Silver
‘It had been a long night, lodged in a hide set up for nocturnal species. After those long dark hours packed with action photography the breaking dawn presented a real treat. A Little Egret in wonderful breeding plumage stopped by and was standing at close range in the golden light of dawn reflected on the water’s surface. The elongated scapular feathers covered the bird like a gown in the lovely morning light. Instead of using wide-angle, I looked for a composition with my telephoto lens to try to record a different kind of image.’

#6 Ben Andrew – Best Portrait – Silver
‘This image of a bold young Kingfisher was taken during the winter months. The bird spent time in the middle of a town centre, fishing around ornamental water gardens that are surrounded by shops, roads and a car park. The Kingfisher regularly spent time perched on railings waiting to plunge into the water below. This spot was right next to the bus stop, so I positioned myself looking along the railings and waited for a bus to arrive. Luckily the buses in the town are blue in colour perfectly matching the Kingfisher’s plumage. So it was just a matter of waiting and hoping a bus came along with its lights on while the bird was sitting there!’

#7 Nikunj Patel – Birds In Flight – Gold
‘Black Skimmers are one of my favourite birds and I love spending time in the summer observing and photographing them. Skimmers have a light and elegant flight, with steady wingbeats. They fly low over water and dip their lower mandible just below the surface, feeling for tiny fish and snapping them up with deadly speed, and making high-speed turns in mid-flight. On a nice summer evening, I arrived at a colony of nesting seabirds on a beach to photograph Black Skimmers flying in, bringing fish for the new-born chicks. I decided to set up low on the beach as it would give me an eye-level perspective with the birds. A few skimmers had gathered at the edge of the shoreline and were having a vigorous bathing session. As some of them took off, I saw one flying low and straight towards me. Luckily, I was able to acquire focus, press the shutter and capture a beautiful image of the bird flying straight at me. Black Skimmers rely on open beaches for nesting and raising their young, with direct access to the water for feeding. Coastal development and our own love of the same beaches have left them with few safe places to nest. The image was captured in the summer of 2018 at Ocean City, New Jersey, USA. The Black Skimmer is an endangered species in the state of New Jersey.’

#8 Madeline Nolan – Young Bird Photographer Of The Year – Silver
‘My family and I travelled to Creede, Colorado. My mom had just got a new camera and a big lens. Every morning, I would wake up, borrow the equipment and take pictures of the hummingbirds in the national forest. Some days, I would shoot for hours. I was able to capture this adorable female Rufous Hummingbird sticking her tongue out! I had never seen that before. It was not easy to capture and I am thrilled I was able to get such a neat shot.’

#9 Jozsef Gergely – Bird Behaviour – Silver
‘Recently I visited a fish-farm near Kanjiza in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina. As you can imagine, the abundance of corralled fish acts like a magnet for fish-eating birds such as the Grey Heron. This particular individual caught my eye: despite its size and bulk it was doing an extremely good job balancing on one of the fishing nets. I love the ‘high key’ effect achieved by shooting into the light.’

#10 Shane Kalyn – Birds In Flight – Honorable Mention
‘I was photographing a couple of Rufous Hummingbirds who were engaged in a mid-air battle with each other to claim a territory. As I watched, this particular male would always come and hover in the same spot, so I aimed the camera and waited. On this particular occasion he gave me (and the other male hummingbird in the area) a full display of his feathers.’

#11 Hu Yi – Bird Behaviour – Bronze
‘This image shows two male Reeves’s Pheasants, performing an elaborate display that I refer to as their ‘dancing steps’. The behaviour is designed to attract the attention of the nearby female. The species is one of the most splendid and attractive of all protected birds in Xinyang City, Henan Province.’

#12 Pedro Jarque Krebs – Creative Imagery – Honorable Mention
‘I took this photo while on a visit to London Zoo, just at the moment the pelicans were being fed. Two zookeepers were stationed on either side of their pond and fed the pelicans alternately. As a result the three birds were obliged to run from one side to the other, making them work for their dinner. In addition to giving the pelicans a bit of healthy exercise, it meant that the keepers could ensure that the fish were distributed equally and fairly, and all three pelicans got a decent meal.’

#13 Yashodhan Bhatia – Garden And Urban Birds – Honorable Mention
‘I am a regular visitor to the backwaters of the Ujni Dam in Maharashtra, India. This winter water levels were very high and so a big flock of Rosy Starlings chose this place to roost in a place of safety. I made two trips to the area within 20 days to photograph the birds’ murmurations and roosting. I took this image using a slow shutter speed to create the feeling of movement in these flying birds.’

#14 Meera Sulaiman – Garden And Urban Birds – Silver
‘This part of Lake Ontario is regarded as the biggest toxic coal-tar deposit in Canada, a by-product of more than 100 years of industrial waste. Its claim to fame is being the largest and most contaminated site on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes. However, it is also a winter home for Trumpeter Swans. These North American natives are the largest of their kind in the world and one of the heaviest flying birds; weighing up to 30 pounds they are held aloft on a wingspan of eight feet. Around 200 swans gather here every winter. Trumpeter Swans once nested over most of North America and some estimates placed their numbers, historically, at more than 100,000. But by the 1880s they were almost hunted out of existence and were locally extinct in Ontario, Canada. The Trumpeter Swan’s reintroduction to Ontario has been a story in the making for more than 30 years. I started to document this wonderful species three years ago after being moved by their recovery story.’

#15 Martin Eschholz – Garden And Urban Birds – Bronze
‘White everywhere. That is the first impression when visiting the Varanger Peninsula in the Arctic north of Norway in winter. But a surprisingly amount of colour can be found too, especially in the region’s various harbours. The port of Vardø is a working fishing harbour attracting several species of wintering sea ducks. One of the most fascinating is the Long-tailed Duck and at first glance it looks too feebly built to survive in the arctic. But the reality is that it can cope perfectly. A bit of extra food like offal from a fish factory comes in handy and that is the reason these birds swim between the harbour’s colourful reflections.’

#16 Bence Mate – Bird Behaviour – Honorable Mention
‘Bird photographers rarely get the opportunity to shoot white birds in a white environment. I had planned for more than ten years to capture Great White Egrets in the snow, with snow clouds in the background so that their black legs and yellow beaks dominated the image. Lots of environmental factors needed to coincide at the same time for such an image to be possible. The European population of Great White Egrets is very resilient: in temperatures of -15° C they are protected by their thick plumage, while in temperatures as high as +40°C their colour reflects the sun’s rays.’

#17 Mohammad Khorshed – Birds In The Environment – Gold
‘Low tide reveals the beauty of the coastal environment. The intertidal zone is also a good feeding area for seabirds, and so a lot of gulls and herons gather because of the abundance of life. I waited for many days to get the perfect combination of elements for the photo I had in mind: still water at low tide, beautiful clouds and of course the birds. I took this photo using a drone and the magic lasted just a short time before the rising tide altered the scene.’

#18 Georgina Steytler – Birds In Flight – Silver
‘I was at Laratinga Wetlands in South Australia in April 2018. I initially went to photograph waterfowl when I noticed dozens of Welcome Swallows diving about the surface of the water. I am attracted to the challenge of shooting birds in flight and swallows present the ultimate challenge due to their small size and quick, erratic flight. There was a beautiful mist so I decided to shoot backlit against a dark background (trees in shade on opposite bank) and try to capture some of the atmosphere. I used the ‘spray and pray’ approach to photography (ie rapid frame rate and loads of pictures) and needed a lot of luck to get this shot.’




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