Birds are fascinating creatures, just bizarre and beautiful enough to remind us that they are related to the ancient dinosaurs that used to roam the earth. The recently released winners of the 2016 Audubon Photography Awards celebrate the bizarre and majestic nature of these unusual creatures. From over 7,000 images across 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 6 Canadian provinces, winners were selected based on quality, originality, and artistic merit in the categories of Amateur, Professional, Fine Art, and Youth.
Audubon is a conservation organization intent on working as a community to restore natural ecosystems and biodiversity across America. They aim to engage the public into taking an active role in protecting birds and their habitats. The annual photo awards, which they host, are an extension of this, raising public awareness of the remarkable wildlife throughout the country. So take the opportunity to look through some amazing bird photography that was gathered for this contest series. To see all the top 100 entries, head over to Audubon's website.
Above: Little Blue Heron. Top 100, Amateur Category. Lynn Miller.
Roseate Spoonbills. Top 100, Amateur Category. Judylynn Malloch.
Great Blue Heron. Top 100, Amateur Category. Christopher Schlaf.
Wood Stork. Top 100, Amateur Category. Richard Johnson.
Osprey. Professional Winner: Dick Dickinson.
Long-billed Thrasher. Top 100, Professional Category. Hector Astorga.
Osprey. Top 100, Amateur Category. Thomas Chadwick.
Eastern Screech-Owl / Top 100, Amateur Category. William Kleinfelder.
Yellow-billed Oxpecker. Top 100, Professional Category. Aaron Baggenstos.
Bald Eagle. Top 100, Amateur Category. Howard Arndt.
Greater Sage-Grouse. Top 100, Professional Category. Ken Archer.
American Goldfinch / Top 100, Amateur Category. Deborah O'Sullivan.
Great Horned Owls and Black-chinned Hummingbird. Top 100, Professional Category. Ed Mackerrow.
Common Raven, photographed in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Amateur Honorable Mention. Colleen Gara.