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Third place in our 2021 Bird Portrait Contest goes to Tina McManus from Beverly, Massachusetts, for her photo of a Piping Plover with a dozing chick under its wing feathers.
McManus took the photo in June 2020 on a beach near Ipswich, a coastal town in northeastern Massachusetts.
“On the beach before sunrise, I was walking around looking for terns and piping plovers when I spotted this plover relative nestling in the sand,” she recalls. “Lying down, I slowly crawled towards the bird (staying outside the bounded area) until I was reasonably close. At first, I didn’t notice the little chick nestling under the parents’ wings. When it caught my eye, I moved a bit and was able to capture both the parent and the sleeping little baby. During their first week, baby plovers are unable to regulate their body temperature and are brooded by either parent to survive.
Brian E. Small, one of our judges and a professional bird photographer whose images feature in our “Tips for Identification” feature in each issue of Bird watchingsays the photo immediately caught his eye.
“I was drawn into the intimacy of the moment between adult and chick,” he says. “The image gives a nice idea of the protective instincts of the adult and at the same time, the fluffy comfort of the young one buried in the feathers. These elements, together with the perfect composition, beautiful lighting and the soft, pastel tones of the photograph make it a winner for me. Well done!!”
McManus used a Canon 7D Mark II camera body with a Canon 500mm f4 lens and a 1.4x teleconverter. The settings were ISO 2000, f/7.1, 1/500 sec.
Many thanks to our panel of guest judges: author, radio host and editor Laura Erickson; our former editor Chuck Hagner, the director of Bird City Wisconsin; our former photo editor Ernie Mastroianni; professional bird photographer Brian E. Small; Outdoor photographer Editor Wes Pitts; and William Brawley, Imagery Resources Editor.
See more photos of Tina McManus on her website and Instagram
See the First Place Winner: Sandhill Cranes
See the runner-up winner: Southern Ground Hornbill
See the finalists
View Honorable Mentions
Enter your photos in our BirdWatching Photography Awards competition