Our friends at the U.K.-based Bird Photographer of the Year (BPOTY) competition see first-hand the mounting pressures on bird populations around the world. Consequently, if bird photography is going to thrive and not become metaphorically speaking a dying art, we must all do our bit to reverse the decline of bird species and support conservation efforts.
BPOTY helps fund its partner charity Birds on the Brink, and it recognizes the power of world-class imagery to inspire people around the globe to care, and maybe shame some into action. Here are some wonderful BPOTY competition images from the United States, which depict species where there is an underlying conservation story to tell.
The Black Skimmer has unmistakable plumage and a quite extraordinary bill. Seen side-on, the lower mandible is much longer than the upper one, which doesn’t make any sense until you see a bird feeding. As its name suggests it flies low over the water, beak open, ‘skimming’ or rather scything through the surface with the lower mandible. The instant the sensitive mandible touches a fish, the bill flips upwards and snaps shut, catching its prey. Like almost all coastal-nesting species in the USA, it is threatened by human disturbance and habitat loss. The Black Skimmer’s unique feeding strategy is captured perfectly by Nikunj Patel’s image entitled "Head On," taken at Ocean City, New Jersey. The photo was a Gold Award winner in the 2019 competition and appears in the BPOTY 4 book.
The 2021 Bird Photographer of the Year contest is open for entries until February 15, 2021. Read the rules and learn how to enter here.