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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! 

Western Grebes Greisman

Western Grebes Greisman

Western Grebes are well known for their courtship behavior entitled "rushing." During this courtship dance, the birds appear to walk on water. I captured this beautiful ritual at Lake Hodges, California, in spring of 2021. When I was there, the birds were primarily rushing on the far side of the lake. Thus, this image is cropped. During the winter and spring, there can be hundreds of Western Grebes as well as Clark's Grebes performing this courtship dance at this lake near San Diego.

Gear: Canon EOS R5 and a Canon 100-500mm lens, handheld.

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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