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2021 Backyard and City Birds Photo Contest First Place: Blue Jays

Blue Jays
Blue Jays. © Maureen Hills-Urbat/Backyard and City Birds Photo Contest

Maureen Hills-Urbat of Rockyview County, Alberta, is the winner of our first Backyard and City Birds Photo Contest with this image of squabbling Blue Jays.

“We are very fortunate to live in the foothills west of Calgary, Alberta, and have a large variety of birds coming into the yard,” she says. One of my favorite pastimes is to sit on my deck to watch and photograph the birds. On this particular day, I was watching the Blue Jays competing for peanuts in the yard and caught this brief altercation.”

Our judges praised the photo’s detailed look at the jays’ feathers as well as the stop-action depiction of the scene. “This photo shows that a detailed look at common birds in an every-day interaction can be quite special,” says BirdWatching editor Matt Mendenhall.

Hills-Urbat used a Nikon D500 camera body with a Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 lens at 420mm. Exposure: 1/1600s, f/8.0, ISO 900 and camera set to 10 fps. Image taken September 30, 2020. You can view more of Maureen’s photos on her Flickr page.

Congratulations, Maureen!

Many thanks to our panel of guest judges: author, radio host, and Contributing Editor Laura Erickson; our former editor Chuck Hagner, the director of Bird City Wisconsin; our former photo editor Ernie Mastroianni; Outdoor Photographer Editor Wes Pitts; and Imaging Resource Managing Editor William Brawley. 

View the second-place winner: Ruby-throated Hummingbird

View the third-place winner: Carolina Wrens

View the finalists

Enter our 2022 Birds in Flight Contest

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