2019 BirdWatching Photography Awards finalists

In addition to the three winning photos from the 2019 BirdWatching Photography Awards, we’re thrilled to present this gallery of 22 finalists: 

Brown-headed Nuthatch

Brown-headed Nuthatch

Photographer: Martin Bozone

Location and date: Newnan, Georgia, April 7, 2018.

Description: Every spring, I take every chance to go outside and see what birds I can find. I even go at lunchtime while at work to bird. One day I had noticed a pair of Brown-headed Nuthatches going in and out of their cavity nest in a dying tree in the office parking lot. I loved seeing how they created their nest, but I never got around to getting a photo of them that year.

However, the next spring, I remembered the nuthatches and started watching for them when birdwatching fever hit again. While on my lunchtime exercise hike, I heard the familiar squeaky toy sound of the nuthatches. I followed the sound and to my surprise, they were in the Japanese cherry trees directly in front of the office building. They were busy creating their cavity nest in the dead limb of the tree and they let me watch. They seemed to pay me no mind.

For the next two days, I photographed the pair during lunch. But I couldn’t get the shot I wanted with the harsh light of the noonday sun. So, on the third day I stayed after work and waited on sunset with my tripod, camera, remote shutter release, and flash. Fortunately, it was a partly cloudy sky and the sunset was unbelievable. I shot with fill-flash until the sun went down and captured this photo almost as the sun was gone. It was such a wonderful moment, and I am glad I get to share it with you.

Gear and settings: Nikon D800e, Tamron 150-600mm lens, Nikon Speedlight SB700; 600mm, f/16, 1/250 of a second, ISO 640.

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.

View the 2019 BirdWatching Photography Awards winners