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Winners of the 2019 BirdWatching Photography Awards

From late April through late June, we received 1,234 photos from 726 people who entered our 2019 BirdWatching Photography Awards, and now we’re thrilled to announce the winners! “This was hard,” says Marie Read, one of our judges. “They are all stunning and prize-worthy. It was very difficult to pick the top few.” Nevertheless, she and the other panelists narrowed the field of 25 finalists to three prize-winning photos. Enjoy this gallery of the winners: 

First place: Limpkins

First place: Limpkins

Photographer: Peter Brannon

Location and date: Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, Florida, April 13, 2018.

Description: Ever since I first witnessed Limpkins exhibit this behavior, I wanted to photograph it. Limpkins will occasionally erupt in an aerial "boxing match" when their feeding areas overlap. There were several challenges to getting this shot: Having to be fast enough to catch the action with little warning, and you are not always guaranteed a pleasing angle of the birds. These birds tend to forage in groups, so getting this capture with the two birds this isolated was very fortuitous. The water levels at the lake were ideal to try and get this shot. Lots of birds foraging for mollusks and a fair amount of interaction.

Gear and settings: Nikon D850; 500mm AF-S F/4D IF-ED lens; 1/3200 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 400; Handheld.

Thanks to our judges: Matt Mendenhall, editor of BirdWatching; Wes Pitts, editor of Outdoor Photographer; Marie Read, an award-winning nature photographer based near Ithaca, New York; and Brian E. Small, a professional nature photographer based in Los Angeles whose photos illustrate our “ID Tips” column.

View the BirdWatching Photography Awards finalists

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