After more than 22,000 images were submitted, the winners of the Bird Photographer of the Year 2021 contest were announced this week. We wrote about the grand-prize winner, a photo of a Greater Roadrunner stopped at the U.S.-Mexico border wall, and the youth winner here.
Below is a slideshow of the gold and silver winning images from the eight primary categories in the contest. Enjoy these incredible photographs!
Mousam Ray, India
This image was taken at North Bengal Agricultural University in Cooch Behar, West Bengal. To set the scene, here in India autumn days (when the photo was taken) are typically hot and humid – sporadic rains interspersed with sweltering heat – while the nights are cold. I was keen to capture images of Crimson Sunbirds drinking nectar from banana flowers. Typically, these flowers point towards the ground, but in some ornamental species they point skywards and some of their outer petals open up like cups, holding water from rain or dew. Late one evening, a female Crimson Sunbird suddenly arrived and started sipping nectar. Her thirst quenched, she then started bathing in the water stored in this banana flower petal. It’s quite common to find birds refreshing themselves in the evening, visiting puddles and pools, dipping their heads and wetting their wings and body. However, 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. Her relaxed and indulgent manner, lit by the glow of sunset, was truly a sight to behold.
Nikon D500 with Nikkor 300mm f/4 and 1.4x teleconverter. Focal length 420mm, 1/4,000 second, f/7.1, ISO 1,600.