2020 Bird Color Contest First Place: Orange-breasted Sparrow

Orange-breasted Bunting

Bob Graham of Kingsville, Ontario won first place in our 2020 Color of the Birds contest with this photo of a male Orange-breasted Sparrow. The species is endemic to western Mexico. Bob and his wife are retired and spend most of the year in Mexico. They were renting a house on Troncones beach in February 2020 when Bob photographed the sparrow as it splashed in a pond.

The bird is certainly aptly named after our competition. Males of the species have a pale green crown, turquoise blue nape and upperparts often tinged with green, and a turquoise tail. Lores, eye-ring and underparts are canary-yellow, becoming golden-orange on the breast.

“His reflection made him doubly beautiful,” says Bob.

Ernie Mastroianni, one of our judges and former photo editor of The world of bird watchers magazine, praised the photo: “Great light, beautiful composition, high technical quality, and a compelling and warm palette. The water and droplet environment is a plus.

Bob used a Sony Alpha SLT-A58 camera and a 300mm lens with 1.4x teleconverter.

The photo was among more than 725 images submitted to our Bird Color contest, and last week we featured it in our gallery of 13 finalists. Check out the links below for second and third place images as well as our finalists and honorable mentions.

View a range map and hear the sounds of the Orange-breasted Sparrow

Second Place: Scarlet Macaw

Third place: White-necked Jacobin

Discover the finalists of the Color of the Birds contest

See the honorable mentions of the Color of the Birds contest

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