Opening: January 7, 2019
Deadline: April 8, 2019
Entry fee: $15-20, Youth – Free
Conditions: Must be at least 13 years of age and a legal resident of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, or Canada (excluding Quebec) to enter
Prizes: $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, publications in magazines, participation in exhibitions. Youth prize: Six days next July in Maine at the Hog Island Audubon Camp’s Photography session for the winner and a parent/guardian (transportation included)
You’re crazy about birds and photography. Now combine your twin passions by entering your best bird photos in the Audubon Photography Awards.
You could win a cash prize or, if you’re our Youth winner, a special trip that will help you become an even better bird photographer.
Winning photos will be published in future issues of Audubon and Nature’s Best Photography magazines and will travel across the country in a special Audubon Photography Awards exhibit.
- Plants for Birds
Audubon Photography Awards 2018 Winners
After a six-week drought, I finally spotted a Great Gray flying through the woods on a beautiful fall evening. I ran to catch up, and spent 80 minutes photographing it flying from perch to perch, hunting, and catching several rodents. As I took this image, I knew I was seeing something special: The owl was fighting for balance on a thin branch, giving a very unusual, energetic, asymmetric posture as it stared directly into my lens.
On a 27-degree December morning I spotted a small flock of Blacknecked Stilts huddled together in a seasonal wetland. Bills tucked beneath their wings, the normally hyperactive waders seemed in no hurry to start foraging. Moving slowly, I closed the distance without disturbing their tranquility. The soft light illuminated the wall of weeds and the stilts’ striking plumage. Their reddish legs melded into the reflection. I felt peaceful capturing the image, knowing these birds have a pristine home in our invaluable national wildlife refuge system.
A trip to Merced NWR is always a magical event, no matter how many times I visit. On this particular day I was leading three fellow photographers, and we heard the wonderful gurgled-dee-glee of a Red-winged Blackbird just outside our vehicle, which we were using as a blind. As it sang its aria from the twigs of a nearby plant, we clicked away, hoping to capture the bright red epaulets on its wings as it puffed up to serenade any nearby prospective mates.
On a bitingly cold February day we stopped to photograph Whooper Swans, but the conditions were not good: gray skies, whipping winds, and the swans were dirty. As I headed back to the van, I noticed these darling tits taking turns nibbling on the tip of an icicle. I grabbed hand warmers, a tripod, and my longest lens and spent hours photographing this amazing behavior. What an adaptation! You have to be clever to survive such harsh conditions.
Undeterred by heavy snow on the first day of spring, I navigated slick roads to a nearby pond where Wood Ducks had recently returned. I donned my waders, grabbed my camera, and slipped into the frigid water. Trying to keep a low profile, I went too far, and icy water poured into my waders. Soaked and freezing, I stuck it out long enough to get this shot of a Wood Duck drake, whose expression seems to capture how we both felt about the weather.
Three days in a row I waited in a blind near a clay lick that Cobalt-winged Parakeets and other birds of the Amazon frequent. When hundreds of the birds finally descended from the tree canopy to the mineral-rich forest floor on the third morning, I was ready. I used a slow shutter speed to accentuate the blues in their wings. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sight of the birds or the deafening roar of parakeet chatter.
This is the most cooperative Bald Eagle I’ve ever encountered. Thousands of eagles are drawn to Fraser River Delta each autumn to feed on the salmon runs; when those end, hundreds feed at the nearby landfill and can be seen in the surrounding area throughout the winter. I found this one perched on a tree stump beside a popular walking trail on a windy, rainy day. I took many photos, but I especially liked this one for the way it illustrates the power and awe of this emblematic species.
While observing this Fawn-breasted Brilliant hummingbird in the cloud forest, I noticed that it kept returning to the same perch, using it as a base for catching flying insects. The sky was bright, so the bird was beautifully silhouetted, and I knew the exact shot I wanted. I did my best to time my shutter finger with the bird taking off and landing, and when I looked at the screen, I was amazed by the transparency of the feathers and the details brought out by the backlight.