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2021 Bird Portrait Contest finalists

Last fall, we sent out a call for entries to our 2021 Bird Portrait Contest, here on our website. And, wow, did bird photographers deliver! We received the most entries ever — 979 — since we started hosting contests a few years ago!

Entries included images of owls, hummingbirds, ducks, eagles, pelicans, warblers, toucans, and more — from hundreds of photographers. Thanks to everyone who entered! The selection of images was outstanding, as all of our previous contests have been. The judges had a challenging task! Today we are proud to present the finalist photos, featured in the following slideshow. We’ll announce the winners on Friday, February 25. 

Each caption tells the story behind the photo, from the photographers themselves, and it lists the camera gear they used and their settings. Enjoy! 

Eastern Kingbirds by Kim Elton

Eastern Kingbirds by Kim Elton
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Some mornings are better than others when your passion is bird photography. I started out at sunrise using my car as a rolling blind looking for meat-eating raptors. When I didn’t spot any hawks, I “settled” for insect-eating Eastern Kingbirds. It wasn’t until a couple days later, as I began processing the images, that I realized the combination of early light and this family moment was quite special.

Gear and settings: Fujifilm XT3 with the Fujifilm XF 100-400 and 1.4 teleconverter. Exposure: 1/600, f 11 and ISO 800.


Can’t get enough? Here are the 10 honorable mention images from the 2021 Bird Portrait Contest! 

Enter our current contest, the 2022 BirdWatching Photography Awards

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