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Stunning Winners Of 2021 Bird Photographer Of The Year Revealed

What a magnificent flock of photos.

With over 22,000 entries, the Bird Photographer of the Year winners have been revealed. Celebrating the beauty of birdlife from all around the globe, talented photographers have captured some of the most incredible images in the world.

‘Blocked’ by Alejandro Prieto. Overall Winner and Bird Photographer of the Year 2021.
‘Blocked’ by Alejandro Prieto. Overall Winner and Bird Photographer of the Year 2021.
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Alejandro Prieto, a photographer from Mexico, won the prestigious title of Bird Photographer of the Year with his photograph titled Blocked. Prieto took home the £5,000 prize for his brilliant photo of a roadrunner staring at the barbed-wire border wall between Mexico and the USA. This photo also won the Gold Award in the Birds in the Environment category.

“Prieto’s image immediately caught the attention of the judges. It is not your typical bird photo, and the story behind the image is so strong,” said Will Nicholls, Director of Bird Photographer of the Year. “The roadrunner appears so vulnerable facing up to the huge border wall that dominates the frame.”

The competition has been running since 2016 and showcases the beauty of birds.

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Conservation is at the organisation’s heart, as they established the charity Birds on the Brink that helps supports bird conservation projects globally.

The eight categories are: Best Portrait, Birds in the Environment, Attention to Detail, Bird Behaviour, Birds in Flight, Black and White, Urban Birds, and Creative Imagery.  There is also a Portfolio Award and a Conservation Award.

Scroll through some of the winning photos.

Bronze winner, category: Birds in the Environment

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A Yellow - billed Oxpecker bird about to land on the face of a bufalo.
Yellow-billed Oxpecker with Cape Buffalo
PHOTO: BARBARA FLEMING, UNITED STATES

Silver winner, category: Birds in the Environment

An Ovenbird singing on top of a fallen log.
Claiming the Forest Floor
PHOTO: JOSHUA GALICKI, UNITED STATES

Silver winner, category: Attention to Detail

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A Common Loons baby bird takes to the water soon after hatching.
Growing Up
 PHOTO: RAYMOND HENNESSY, UNITED STATES

Gold winner, category: Attention to Detail

The reflection of a penguin in water
Disappearing
 PHOTO: RAFAEL ARMADA, SPAIN
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Bronze winner, category: Attention to Detail

Detail of the feathers of a .Great Blue Heron
Blue Flames
 PHOTO: KERRY WU, UNITED STATES

Gold winner, category: Best Portrait

A pelican  fishing underwater
Underwater Portrait
PHOTO: FELIPE FONCUEVA , SPAIN

Bronze winner, category: Best Portrait

“When I looked at the photo afterwards, it gave me goosebumps,” the photographer says.

A Great Grey Owl poised for attack on a full moon night.
Night Hunter
 PHOTO: JONAS CLASSON, SWEDEN

Silver winner, category: Best Portrait. 

A pair of Demoiselle Cranes with two chicks at the start of the breeding season.
Sing Heartily
PHOTO: MAOFENG SHEN, CHINA

Gold winner, category: Behaviour

A Crimson Sunbird bathing in the water stored in a banana flower petal.
Floral Bathtub
PHOTO: MOUSAM RAY, INDIA

Bronze winner, category: Bird Behaviour

A couple of King Cormorants crosing beaks during  a mating ritual
Entangled
PHOTO: JULIE HALLIDAY

Silver winner, category: Bird Behavior Category

“I had long dreamt of a shot like this one that would allow to see the expressions of the two subjects – predator and prey,” explains the photographer.

A purple  heron bird has caught a mouse in its beak.
The Face of Death
 PHOTO: MASSIMILIANO APOLLO, ITALY

Gold winner, category: Birds in Flight

A Common Swift bird flying above water.
Thirsty
PHOTO: TZAHI FINKELSTEIN, ISRAEL

Silver winner, category: Birds in Flight

“I then tried to introduce a sense of movement into the image by adding continuous lighting to the scene,” said the photographer.

A hummingbird sipping nectar from a red flower.
The Art of Motion
 PHOTO: NICOLAS REUSENS, SPAIN

Gold winner, category: Black and White

A sigle penguin walking on an iceberg in Antartica.
Chinstrap Penguin
PHOTO: RENATO GRANIERI, UNITED KINGDOM

Silver winner, category: Black and White

A Northern Gannet backlit by the rising sun,as it removes a displaced feather.
Feather Light
 PHOTO: JAMES ROGERSON, UNITED KINGDOM

Gold winner, category: Urban Birds

A pair of White-throated Dippers nest under a bridge on the edge of a town center
Dipper on Shopping Trolle
PHOTO: TERRY WHITTAKER, UNITED KINGDOM

Silver winner, category: Urban Birds

A Karoo Prinia bird looking for insects s in a security gate.
Lockdown
 PHOTO: WILLIAM STEEL, SOUTH AFRICA 

Gold winner, category: Creative Imagery

“The concept for this picture came to me spontaneously when I was editing photographs of a Common Kingfisher,” the photographer said. “To create the image, I cut out a close-up of a kingfisher, then looked for a photogenic tin of fish and used the bread as a perch for the bird.”

A creative photo composition of a Kingfisher bird with a can of fish
Sprats and Bread
 PHOTO: RUEDIGER SCHULZ, GERMANY 

Silver winner, category: Creative Imagery

“My aim was to depict the fluid-like movement of a murmuration and capture its essence,” the photographer said. “I am interested in transient moments when chaos briefly changes to order. Here, I’ve captured the flock’s swirls, twists and turns, forming shapes like funnels and tornadoes as the birds seek a suitable spot in which to land.”

Tens of thousands of Common Starlings migrating.
Funnel
 PHOTO: KATHRYN COOPER, UNITED KINGDOM

The 2022 competition will open on September 30 and invites photographers of all experience levels.

Which photo is your favourite?

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Written by Alice Joan

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