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 dainty Piping Plover is surely one of the cutest shorebirds in North America. BirdLife International puts the entire world population at 8,000 individuals and classes the species as Near Threatened. Nowadays its remaining strongholds are mainly on the East Coast, where it nests and feeds on sandy beaches. Predictably this brings it into conflict with people, who also use these beaches, and both its plight and its salvation are in our hands. Disturbance by people themselves and rampaging dogs are among the chief culprits responsible for its decline. But a tidy-minded approach to beach strandlines also causes issues – the birds find invertebrate food among driftline seaweed and washed-up flotsam. All these issues are resolvable. This charming Piping Plover image, taken in Massachusetts by Matthew Filosa and entitled “Unfair Fight,” was Commended in the 2020 competition and appears in the BPOTY 5 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.