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2021 BirdWatching Photography Awards finalists

This past spring, we conducted our latest photo contest, the 2021 BirdWatching Photography Awards, here on our website. We received more than 770 entries — images of owls, eagles, hummingbirds, cranes, and passerines, among others — from hundreds of photographers. Thanks to everyone who entered! The selection of images was stellar, 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. 

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

We’ll announce the three winning images here on our website on Tuesday, August 10, and they’ll be featured in our September/October 2021 issue. Enjoy! 

Sandhill Cranes by Rustin Nordsven

Sandhill Cranes by Rustin Nordsven

I took this shot on the Platte River outside of Kearney, Nebraska, during the Sandhill Crane migration in March 2021. We spent a few days scouting the best locations where the cranes come in to roost on the river at night. The following day, we woke up before sunrise and drove to the spot where the canes landed the night before. As the sun came up, thousands of Sandhill Cranes were awake and waiting to take their morning flight. We were fortunate for a beautiful sunrise that morning.

Gear: Canon EOS 6D, Tamron SP 150-600mm lens, and a tripod.

Many thanks to our panel of guest judges: our Founding Editor and “Amazing Birds” columnist Eldon Greij; author, radio host, and Contributing Editor Laura EricksonOutdoor Photographer Editor Wes Pitts; and Imaging Resource Editor William Brawley. 

View the 2021 BirdWatching Photography Awards honorable mentions

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