Bird photography is one of the most challenging yet rewarding sub-genres of wildlife photography and it takes real patience, perseverance and skill to capture a quality bird photography image. Well, if you’re interested in this style of image-making, you’ll be inspired by the winning photos from the 2019 Bird Photographer of the Year contest.
The prestigious competition showcases the best bird photography from around the world and received over 13,500 submissions, with the commended images due to be featured in a glossy book. This year’s top prize was awarded to UK photographer Caron Steele, who took the top honour for an image entitled; ‘Dancing On Ice’. Caron commented; ‘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.’
Image by Caron Steele/Bird Photographer of the Year
Taking Gold in the Bird Behaviour category was this well-timed capture by Ivan Sjögren, which shows a Purple-crowned Fairy Heliothryx barroti in the waters of Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica.
Image by Ivan Sjögren/Bird Photographer of the Year
Picking up Bronze in the Best Portrait category was this stunning frame by photographer William Steele. Entitled; ‘The Guardian’, the image was captured on the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Botswana and shows a Cattle Egret in the foreground of the much larger rhino.
Image by William Steele/Bird Photographer of the Year
Photographer Liron Gertsman was awarded Bronze in the Bird In Flight category or this fast-paced frame, entitled; ‘Colourful Chaos’ of Cobalt-winged Parakeet Brotogeris cyanoptera. Yasuni National Park, Ecuador.
Image by Liron Gertsman/Bird Photographer of the Year
Taking Gold in the Birds In the Environment category was this aerial image by Kuwait-based photographer Mohammad Khorshed. Entitled; ‘The Way of Life’, the image shows hundreds of mixed gulls from above.
Image by Mohammad Khorshed/Bird Photographer of the Year
A Snowy Owl resting on top of a picturesque church in Saskatchewan, Canada was the subject for Chad Larsen’s winning image. Entitled; ‘Church Light’, the photo took Gold in the Garden and Urban Birds category.
Image by Chad Larsen/Bird Photographer of the Year
The Garden and Urban Bird category was hotly contested and this image, entitled; ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was awarded Silver. Captured by photographer Meera Sulaiman, the scene showcases swans set against heavy industry in Ontario, Canada.
Image by Sulaiman/Bird Photographer of the Year
German photographer Thomas Hinsche took the Best Portfolio award for an impressive selection of images, including this frame of a Black-crowned Night-heron, captured in Kiskunság National Park, Hungary.
Image by Thomas Hinsche/Bird Photographer of the Year
This spectacular frame by Norwegian photographer Pål Hermansen took Gold in the Attention To Detail Category. Entitled; ‘Relaxed Foot’ the striking image shows a Northern Goshawk, which was captured in Trøndelag, Norway.
Image by Pål Hermansen/Bird Photographer of the Year
UK photographer, Cat Edwards, was given an honourable mention in the Creative Imagery category for this cleverly silhouetted image of a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird. Entitled; ‘Amazilia Silhouette’, the image was captured in Costa Rica.
Image by Cat Edwards/Bird Photographer of the Year