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! 

Silver winner: Urban Birds

Silver winner: Urban Birds


William Steel, South Africa

For many people around the world, a large part of 2020 was spent at home. South Africa went into one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. This turned out to be the longest time I had spent at home in the last ten years. As a wildlife and travel photographer, I felt trapped. The only solution was to turn my camera toward the animals around me. The longer you spend observing the wildlife around you, the more you realize how many stories there are to tell. Every morning this Karoo Prinia would search for insects in the security gate at my front door. The insects drawn in by the outside light proved an easy meal for this clever bird. Adaptation is the key to survival in an urban environment, for humans and wildlife alike. I feel that the image is a striking symbol encapsulating the challenges we have faced with COVID-19 – a juxtaposition of fear and freedom.

Canon EOS 6D with Sigma 120–300mm f/2.8 Sport lens. Focal length 252mm, 1/3,200 second, f/4, ISO 800.

Winning images from the Bird Photographer of the Year 2020 competition