16 winning images from Bird Photographer of the Year 2021

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! 

Gold winner: Birds in Flight

Gold winner: Birds in Flight


Tzahi Finkelstein, Israel.

Common Swifts live their lives on the wing and are a challenge to capture in flight. With a diet of flying insects, they need to drink from time to time, and even that behavior is performed on the wing. I had had this image – of a swift skimming over water – in my mind for a long time. I finally found a suitable place to attempt it, and to get the photo I had to sit in water wearing a wetsuit, shrouded by a portable hide, every day for three weeks. Eventually, I got this photo on the final day – the next day, the birds had all gone.

Nikon D500 with Nikkor 300mm f/4 PF lens. Focal length 300mm, 1/4,000 second, f/7.1, ISO 1,800.

Winning images from the Bird Photographer of the Year 2020 competition