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2021 Audubon Photography Awards winners

This week, the National Audubon Society named the winning photographs and videos of the 2021 Audubon Photography Awards, with eight prizes across five divisions. In the twelfth year, winning entries and honorable mentions emerged from 2,416 entrants from all 50 states, Washington D.C., and 10 Canadian provinces and territories.

For the first time, the competition awarded the Female Bird Prize and Video Prize. The Female Bird Prize was introduced to draw attention to female birds, which are often overlooked and underappreciated in both bird photography and conservation. The new video category aims to illuminate unique and fascinating ways birds behave and interact with their environments. Previously featured prizes, such as the Plants for Birds Prize and Fisher Prize, were also awarded in this year’s contest.

Winning photos and videos will be featured in the Summer 2021 issue of Audubon magazine. Top photos and honorable mentions will also be showcased in a virtual Audubon Photography Awards exhibit. The 2021 Audubon Photography Awards team worked in collaboration with the photographers to ensure that the intent and essence of each photo was incorporated into vibrant alternative text in order to make the awards accessible to the largest audience possible.

Enjoy this slideshow of the 11 photography winners and honorable mentions! 

Professional Award Winner: Northern Cardinal

Professional Award Winner: Northern Cardinal
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Photo by Steve Jessmore/Audubon Photography Awards/2021 Professional Award Winner

Location: Rural Muskegon County, Michigan

Hometown: Alto, Michigan

A red male Northern Cardinal seems to float above the snowy ground, the crest feathers on its head blown backward in the wind as it flies in profile in front of gray plant stalks. The bird’s three wing feathers touch the white carpet of snow, its shadow connecting below.

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