posted Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at 11:30 AM EDT
Last week, the winners were announced for the Bird Photographer of the Year 2021 contest. This year's competition attracted more than 22,000 image entries from all over the world.
The grand prize was awarded to Mexican photographer Alejandro Prieto for his photograph, seen below, of a roadrunner standing next to the 3,000km border wall standing between the United States and Mexico. For his image, Prieto was awarded £5,000, which is equivalent to just under $6,900 USD. Prieto said of his winning image, 'The border wall crosses deserts, mountains, and even mangroves. It is not just desert, and is in fact very biodiverse with more than 1,500 animal and plants species threatened by the wall. I have watched many diﬀerent animals reach the wall before turning around and heading back.'
'Blocked' by Alejandro Prieto, Mexico. Category: Birds in the Environment. Nikon D850 with Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 112mm, 1/320s, f/14, ISO 200. © Alejandro Prieto / Bird Photographer of the Year
Judge Will Nicholls, Director of Bird Photographer of the Year and founder of excellent photography website, Nature TTL, said of Prieto's photo, 'Prieto's image immediately caught the attention of the judges. It is not your typical bird photo, and the story behind the image is so strong. The roadrunner appears so vulnerable facing up to the huge border wall that dominates the frame.'
The competition also awarded a prize for Young Bird Photographer of the Year 2021. This year, 17-year-old Swiss photographer Levi Fitze took home the prize for his image of a black grouse lekking at sunrise.
'Morning Lek' by Levi Fitze, Switzerland. Category: 14-17 years. Sony A7R IV with Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 lens at 16mm, 1/100s, f/22, ISO 320. © Levi Fitze / Bird Photographer of the Year
Many other fantastic images took home awards across eight different categories. We have selected a few of our favorites, but the entire set of awarded images can be viewed in a book, 'Bird Photographer of the Year.' The book is available from Harper Collins and includes a foreword by British actor, musician and comedian, Bill Bailey.
If you'd like to enter the 2022 competition, it opens on September 30, 2021. Stay tuned to the Bird Photographer of the Year website for more information. The competition is about more than awarding excellent photographers, it is also about conservation. This year's competition generated more than £8,000 (more than $11,000 USD) in funding to its partner charity, Birds on the Brink.
'Underwater Portrait' by Felipe Foncueva, Spain. Category: Best Portrait. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with Canon 8-15mm f/4 at 15mm, 1/10s, f/9, ISO 200. © Felipe Foncueva / Bird Photographer of the Year
'Night Hunter' by Jonas Classon, Sweden. Category: Best Portrait. Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with Canon 200-400mm f/4 lens at 300mm, 1/160s, f/4, ISO 3200. © Jonas Classon / Bird Photographer of the Year
'Disappearing' by Rafael Armada, Spain. Category: Attention to Detail. Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II lens at 100mm, 1/30s, f/14, ISO 100. © Rafael Armada / Bird Photographer of the Year
'Entangled' by Julie Halliday, Falkland Islands. Category: Bird Behavior. Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II lens with 2x teleconverter at 400mm, 1/1600s, f/5.6, ISO 250. © Julie Halliday / Bird Photographer of the Year
'First Come, First Served' by Hannes Lochner, South Africa. Category: Birds in Flight. Nikon D850 with Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 120mm, 1/5000s, f/4, ISO 200. © Hannes Lochner / Bird Photographer of the Year
'Chinstrap Penguin' by Renato Granieri, United Kingdom. Category: Black and White. Nikon D4S with Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens at 130mm, 1/1250s, f/16, ISO 800. © Renato Granieri / Bird Photographer of the Year
'Lockdown' by William Steel, South Africa. Category: Urban Birds. Canon EOS 6D with Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 Sports lens at 252mm, 1/3200s, f/4, ISO 800. © William Steel / Bird Photographer of the Year
'Golden Calm' by Kevin Morgans, United Kingdom. Category: Portfolio Award Winner. Canon EOS-1D X with Canon EF 500mm f/4L lens, 1/8000s, f/4, ISO 1600. © Kevin Morgans / Bird Photographer of the Year
'Sudden Turn of a Tern' by Filip Niziolek, Poland. Category: 8 and under. Nikon D500 with Nikon 300mm f/2.8 lens, 1/3200s, f/2.8, ISO 800. © Filip Niziolek / Bird Photographer of the Year
'Mid-Air Catch' by Daniel Zhang, United Kingdom. Category: 14-17 years. Canon EOS-1D X with Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II lens at 164mm, 1/800s, f/5, ISO 20,000. © Daniel Zhang / Bird Photographer of the Year