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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! 

Summer Tanager by Tom Ingram

Summer Tanager by Tom Ingram

During the spring migration, we set up in a blind at a water drip at an elevated location on Galveston Island, Texas. As birds arrive from a long evening flight over the Gulf of Mexico, they drop in to take a quick bath and a short rest before continuing northward on their migration. We had set up a few perches, and I was delighted to see this juvenile Summer Tanager on our perch as he slowly made his way down to the water drip.

Gear and settings: Nikon D5 body, AS-S Nikkor 500mm f/4E FL ED VR Lens. Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, Gitzo Series 3 Systematic 4 Section Long Tripod GT3542LS, Wimberley WH-200 Gimbal Tripod Head II with Quick Release Base. f/5.6, ISO 3200, 1/400, 700mm .

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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