Bird Photographer of the Year, an annual international photo competition based in the U.K., is accepting entries for its 2020 competition through November 30. BirdWatching contributor Brian Small and I are two of the judges, and while we wait for the judging process to begin in December, I thought it would be fun to share photos of North American birds that have been honored in past years of the contest. The images in the following slideshow have been submitted over the last four years of the contest. Enjoy!
Graham McGeorge photographed this Eastern Screech-Owl in Georgia.
"I photographed this owl at Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia, a National Wildlife Refuge run by US Fish and Wildlife," he says. "The Eastern Screech-Owl is a small species, and a sharp eye is required to locate them. They like to nest in old woodpecker holes excavated in pines, a prolific tree on the reserve. Having located this particular nest on a previous visit, I arrived at the swamp at around 6.00 a.m. in the hope of photographing one of the occupants. As I approached, I spotted an owl perched in front of the nest and couldn’t believe my luck. I spent around six hours there that morning, taking many images and enjoying every second. I had no idea that there were three young owlets inside the nest until a week later, when I got to photograph them also."
Equipment and settings: Canon 1D Mk III with Canon 600mm f/4 USM lens and Canon EF 2× III converter; Canon Speedlite 580EX flash with Better Beamer Flash X-Tender; Gitzo tripod with Jobu Gimbal head. Focal length1,200mm; 1/100 second; f/11; ISO 640.