In addition to the three winning photos from the 2019 BirdWatching Photography Awards, we’re thrilled to present this gallery of 22 finalists:
Photographer: Christopher Ciccone
Location and date: Cape Anne, Massachusetts, July 19, 2014.
Description: A few years ago, a friend told me about an American Kestrel nest in a natural cavity that was in a business park where he worked on Cape Anne, north of Boston, Massachusetts. I was given to understand that most, if not all, the chicks had fledged already, but that they were still near the nest and being fed by the parents. Expecting that this opportunity might not last, I went that very day and upon arriving (later in the morning than I typically like to photograph as the light was getting a bit harsh) I found that one chick was still sitting at the edge of the cavity. I quickly grabbed my camera and set it up on my tripod, intending to frame, lock focus, and test settings when suddenly it seemed to get very excited and opened its mouth wide. Before I had the chance to adjust my settings, I caught movement in my peripheral vision and hit the shutter for a burst of images. The action happened so fast that I wasn't even sure I caught the moment, but upon reviewing my images, I realized that I caught a single frame with both the mother and chick with a food delivery.
Gear and settings: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, Canon EF-800mm f/4L; ISO-800, F/8, 1/800 second; manual exposure, spot metering; mounted on tripod.
Thanks to our judges: Matt Mendenhall, editor of BirdWatching; Wes Pitts, editor of Outdoor Photographer; Marie Read, an award-winning nature photographer based near Ithaca, New York; and Brian E. Small, a professional nature photographer based in Los Angeles whose photos illustrate our “ID Tips” column.