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 species’ name gives a clue to its favorite food: this Florida specialty feeds almost exclusively on the outsized Florida apple snail. The mollusks are plucked from wetland surface waters; with the shell held in the kite’s talons, the long, curved bill is used to winkle out the snail’s juicy body. Although the species is widespread in Central and northern South America, its USA range is limited to Florida, with a population of perhaps 1,000 individuals. This superb image of a hunting Snail Kite was taken by Canadian Gail Bisson at Lake Parker in Florida and is entitled “On the Hunt.” It 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.