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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! 

Short-eared Owl by Jerry amEnde

Short-eared Owl by Jerry amEnde
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January 2018 was a great month for Short-eared Owls in Delaware. I was at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge driving slowly down the wildlife drive when I spotted this beautiful bird perched on a common mullein – just 50 feet away. This was one of those magical days when the owl stayed on the perch for several minutes and was oblivious to me photographing him. He would fly off and return to the same perch for more photos.

Gear and settings: Canon 1Dx II / Canon 600mm F/4L IS USM II + 1.4x Teleconverter. 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200. Photographed from my car using a bean bag on the car door.


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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