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2020 Bird Portrait contest finalists

In late 2020, BirdWatching received more than 700 photos entered into our Bird Portrait contest from hundreds of photographers. Thanks to everyone who entered! The selection of images was stellar, as all of our previous contests have been. The judges had a challenging task! Today we are proud to present the 12 finalist photos, featured in the following slideshow. 

We’ll announce the three winning images here on our website tomorrow, and they’ll be featured in our May/June issue.

Dark-eyed Junco by Christopher Ciccone

Dark-eyed Junco by Christopher Ciccone
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Christopher Ciccone of Woburn, Massachusetts, tells the story of this terrific image:

"This photo was taken during a light autumn rain one morning at a small local cemetery that I drive through regularly, as there can be a nice variety of birds with little other traffic. I could see quite a bit of activity in this one bright burning bush that was close to the road, and with the overcast light, the color of the leaves were so saturated that I knew I wanted to photograph whatever I could in that setting. Before approaching it, I set my camera on a beanbag in the window and draped a camouflage netting (to which I’ve attached some magnets to hold in place) over the open window and lens to obscure my movement. I then rolled my vehicle up next to the bush, turned off the engine, and waited to see what would pop up. There were mostly chickadees (which I also took great pleasure in photographing) and a few juncos, including a really nice dark charcoal-colored one, which I followed as best I could as he hopped through the bush until he arrived briefly at this opening where I took this photo."

Equipment and settings: Canon EOS 1D-X camera, with Canon 600mm f/4 Mkii lens + 1.4x extender. 1/400sec, f/7.1, ISO 3200. Manual mode with spot metering.


Many thanks to our panel of guest judges: our Founding Editor and “Amazing Birds” columnist Eldon Greij; author, radio host, and Contributing Editor Laura Erickson; and Outdoor Photographer Editor Wes Pitts. 

View the 12 honorable mentions from our 2020 Bird Portrait contest

View the finalists from our 2019 Bird Portrait contest


UPDATE, MARCH 12: We have announced the winners!

First place: Cedar Waxwing

Second place: Elegant Trogon

Third place: Wood Duck

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