Kingfisher diving (Spain) by Mario Cea Sanchez
With a focus on our feathered friends, the Bird Photographer of the Year contest fosters a “growing interest and passion for photographing one of the most interesting and engaging areas of natural history.” Much like last year's collection of awe-inspiring winning photos, this year's recently released shortlist showcases the unique beauty and behaviors of birds around the world.
The Bird Photographer of the Year contest is split into 8 categories. Some, like Best Portrait and Attention to Detail, capture the distinctive features that make the subjects so special. Others, including Bird Behavior and Birds in Flight, showcase the animals in action, while Birds in the Environment and Garden and Urban Birds place an emphasis on the creatures' surroundings. Finally, the Creative Imagery category gives applicants ample artistic freedom, and the Young Photographer of the Year “aims to encourage and recognize the younger generation of birders and photographers.”
Each grouping has its own shortlist from which the winners will be selected. When picking their victor, the judges will not consider the person behind the camera. On a mission to make avian photography accessible to all, the contest's organizers—Nature Photographers Ltd and the British Trust for Ornithology—welcome submissions from everyone, whether you're a “hardened pro” or “hobbyist with a cameraphone.”
The winners of this year's Bird Photographer of the Year competition will be announced on August 20. Until then, enjoy this amazing selection of shortlisted photos.
Starlings at the Tor (Ham Wall Nature Reserve, Somerset, United Kingdom) by Chris Sweet
Alexandrine parakeet standing on swallows nest (Chambal River, India) by Georgina Steytler
Red-billed oxpecker on an impala (Kruger National Park, South Africa) by Edmund Aylmer
Whooper swans (Janakkala, Finland) by Antti Siponen
Pygmy Cormorant (Hungary) by Bence Mate
Sanderling wading birds stop during migration (Asturias, Spain) by Mario Suarez Porras
Griffon vulture (Alaska) by Pedro Jarque Krebs
Grey heron (Hungary) by Bence Mate
Ruddy duck (British Columbia, Canada) by Jess Findlay
White-tailed eagle (Hortobágy, Hungary) by Ben Hall
Snowy owl (Canada) by Markus Varesvuo
Toco toucan (Poconé, Brazil) by Petr Bambousek
Giant cowbird taking ticks from a capybara (Pantanal, Brazil) by Petr Bambousek
Northern gannet with discarded netting in its beak (Heligoland, Germany) by Petr Bambousek
Canada Goose (London, United Kingdom) by Renato Granieri
White-backed vulture (Zimanga, South Africa) by Clint Ralph
Northern gannet (Bempton Cliffs, United Kingdom) by Janine Lee
Great Grey Owl (Alberta, Canada) by John Launstein
Dalmatian pelicans (Lake Kerkini, Greece) by Johan Siggesson
Water rail (Salamanca, Spain) by Mario Cea
Stellar's Sea Eagle (Hokkaido, Japan) by Gladys Klip
You can see more shortlisted bird photography on the contest's website.
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by the Bird Photographer of the Year Awards.