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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! 

Southern Ground Hornbill by Dennis Stogsdill

Southern Ground Hornbill by Dennis Stogsdill

I was shooting a pair of Southern Ground Hornbills feeding in the Mara Triangle region of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya when one of them surprisingly started to approach my vehicle, which is pretty unusual for these rather shy birds. This one hornbill looked up at me for brief moment, and I snapped the shot.

Gear and settings: Sony A1, Sony 400mm F2.8, 1/2000 at f5.0, ISO 640.

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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