2020 Bird Portrait Contest First Place: Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Congratulations to Andy Raupp of Pingree Grove, Illinois for winning first place in our 2020 Bird Portrait Contest with this amazing photo of a Cedar Waxwing.

Andy took the photo “on a cold winter morning in our northern Illinois suburban neighborhood,” he says. “I was heading to a local park for bird watching when I passed this crabapple tree full of birds. I was thrilled to see that there was a large flock of Cedar Waxwings feeding in the tree. These birds are one of my favorites so I was thrilled to spend time photographing them and capturing this shot! »

Andy’s photo was the first choice of our four judges.

“This beautiful Cedar Waxwing was captured at the perfect time to highlight hard-to-photograph behavioral activity, with great composition and all the beautiful colors,” comments Eldon Greij, our Founding Editor and Editor of our ‘Amazing Birds’ column. . .

The photo shows the waxwing’s “feeding abilities by flipping a berry so that it falls down its esophagus,” he says. “The yellow belly and terminal bar of the tail as well as the tips of the red wing feathers are colored by carotenoids obtained from the fruit.”

The photo provides an opportunity to study the waxwing’s unusual plumage, Eldon adds.

“Red waxy extensions of the stalks of the inner (secondary) flight feathers occur in some individuals in varying numbers,” he says. “They probably occur in birds over two years old, increase with age and are probably more abundant in males. These extensions are thought to be social cues that allow older males and females to mate, and they raise more young than younger pairs. Waxwings differ from most other birds in that their plumage is unusually smooth. Their feathers have a solid appearance which gives the plumage a smooth and satiny appearance.

See also  Third place at the BirdWatching Photography Awards 2022!

Andy took the picture with a Nikon D500 camera and a contemporary Sigma 150-600mm lens.

The photo was one of over 700 photographers entered into our competition. Yesterday, we presented him among the dozen finalists. Check out the links below for second and third place images as well as our finalists and honorable mentions.

Second Place: Elegant Trogon

Third place: Wood duck

See the contest finalists

See the honorable mentions of the competition

Enter your photos for our BirdWatching Photography Awards

View Andy’s photography website