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:
Photographer: Kim Caruso
Location and date: Santa Clara Ranch, McCook, Texas, June 8, 2017.
Description: The day started out as a steamy summer morning, already well on the way to 90+ degrees by 7 a.m. I was sitting in a sunken blind during a photo workshop waiting for local wildlife and birds to visit a small pond when a cardinal pair flew in and started to drink, bathe, and forage around the water's edge.
Suddenly the male began to display and dance around the female in a behavior I had never seen before, so I started to rapidly fire off as many images as I could. Almost as soon as it began, the dancing stopped and they returned to foraging. When looking through photos at the end of the day, I saw this image and I knew it was special.
The gift of photography was so evident to me that day as I realized that it allowed me to share a special moment that I would never have appreciated otherwise.
Gear and settings: Canon EOS -1DX Mark II; EF500mm f/4 IS II USM + 1.4x III; 700mm; f/8.0, 1/2500, ISO 1000; auto WB, no flash; Gitzo Tripod with Gimbal head.
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.