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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! 

King Penguin by Carol Grenier

King Penguin by Carol Grenier

King Penguins are the second largest penguin species and are more colorful than their larger cousins, Emperor Penguins. I was photographing the beautiful and intricately patterned feathers around their heads when this individual raised its foot and scratched the back of its head, a behavior I had not seen before or since. The next step was to contort itself even further and scratch the back of its neck, the action captured here.

Gear and settings: Canon 7D, 70-200 mm f/4 lens @169 mm, handheld. 1/80 sec, f/8.0, ISO 400.

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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