Sha Lu, of Los Altos, California, took first place in the 2020 BirdWatching Photography Awards with this photo of a prey exchange between White-tailed Kites.
Sha captured the image on March 23, 2019, at Shoreline Lake Park, in Mountain View, California. The park lies near the southern edge of San Francisco Bay.
“We are fortunate that a pair of White-tailed Kites has nested at a popular local park for the last several years,” Sha says. “It attracted many wildlife photographers to catch their actions. Sometimes we get lucky that the action happens very close to us overhead so that we get detailed action shots. During the breeding season, the male goes out to hunt, while the female takes care of the nest. When the male returns with food, the female often takes flight from the nest to take the prey from the male mid-air. This is an exciting action for wildlife photographers to capture.”
Sha used the following gear and settings: Sony A9, 400mm f/2.8 GM lens and 2X teleconverter, 800mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO640.
You can view more of Sha’s photos on Flickr.
The photo was among more than 1,230 entries that we received during the contest period this spring. And it was one of the 14 finalists that we announced last week. Check the links below for the second- and third-place images as well as our finalists and honorable mentions.
Many thanks to our judges: Professional bird photographer Alan Murphy; author, podcaster, BirdWatching columnist, and photographer Laura Erickson; Outdoor Photographer Editor Wes Pitts, and BirdWatching Editor Matt Mendenhall.