Winners of the 2020 Audubon Photography Awards Highlight the Beauty of Birds

Double Crested Cormorant Diving Underwater

“Double-crested Cormorant” by Joanna Lentini (USA). Grand Prize Winner. Location: Los Islotes, Mexico

Each year the National Audubon Society asks photographers from across the United States and seven Canadian provinces to submit their best bird imagery. With over 6,000 submissions, the 2020 Audubon Photography Awards was hotly contested. In the end, American photographer Joanna Lentini came out on top for her magical photograph of a double-crested cormorant diving into the waters off Mexico.

“I’ve spent many hours underwater at this California sea lion rookery in the Bay of La Paz, but I had never before encountered diving cormorants there,” she told “Shifting my focus from the playful sea lions, I watched in awe as the cormorants plunged beak-first into the sea to snap at the sardines swimming by. Although I spent a long time admiring these birds, I didn’t see a single one catch a fish. Adding insult to injury, curious sea lion pups would zip by the hunting birds and nip at them from behind.”

Lentini's work is complemented by the other winners and honorable mentions of the contest's four categories—Professional, Amateur, Youth, and Plants for Birds. The Plants for Birds category, which celebrates the vital relationship between animals and nature, is making an appearance for the second year. Also in its second year is the special Fisher Prize. Named after Audubon magazine's former creative director Kevin Fisher, it awards the photo that best blends artistry and technical ability.

Each winner displays a wonderful sense of timing and keen observational skills. Whether it's amateur photographer Bibek Ghosh clicking the shutter just as a drop of water circles a hummingbird's beak or Christopher Smith capturing the moment a Greater Roadrunner seizes its prey, each photograph is a masterclass in wildlife photography. These winners will have the opportunity, thankfully, to share their work with an even larger audience as their photos will be featured in Audubon and Nature's Best Photography magazines.

See more incredible winning bird photographs from the 2020 Audubon Photography Awards.

Anna's Hummingbird

“Anna’s Hummingbird” by Bibek Ghosh (USA). Amateur Honorable Mention. Location: Ardenwood Historic Farm, California, USA.

Tennessee Warbler

“Tennessee Warbler on an Eastern Prickly Gooseberry” by Natalie Robertson (Canada). Plants for BIrds Honorable Mention. Location: Point Pelee National Park, Ontario, Canada.

Magnificent Frigatebirg

“Magnificent Frigatebird” by Sue Dougherty (USA). Professional Winner. Location: Genovesa Island, Ecuador.

American Dipper Fishing

“American Dipper” by Marlee Fuller-Morris (USA). Fisher Prize Winner. Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA.

Northern Jacana

“Northern Jacana” by Vayun Tiwari (USA). Youth Winner. Location: New River, Orange Walk District, Belize.

Roadrunner Eating a Lizard

“Greater Roadrunner” by Christopher Smith (USA). Youth Honorable Mention. Location: San Joaquin River Parkway, California, USA.

American Goldfinch

“American Goldfinch on a Cup Plant” by Travis Bonovsky (USA). Plants for Birds Winner. Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Greater Sage Grouse

“Greater Sage-Grouse” by Gene Putney (USA). Professional Honorable Mention. Location: Jackson County, Colorado, USA.

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron

“Bare-throated Tiger-Heron” by Gail Bisson (Canada). Amateur Winner. Location: Tárcoles River, Costa Rica.

National Audubon Society: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by the National Audubon Society.

Related Articles:

Stunning Winners of the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards

Amazing Winners of the 2019 Bird Photographer of the Year Contest

See the Soaring Shortlist for the 2018 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards

Winners of the 2019 British Wildlife Photography Awards Celebrate Beauty of Local Fauna

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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