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Jim Burns of Scottsdale, Arizona is the winner of our 2022 BirdWatching Photography Awards competition with this remarkable photo of a fight between a Gilded Flicker and a European Starling.
He took the photo in the Tonto National Forest in Maricopa County, Arizona on April 19, 2021.
“Earlier in the spring, I had discovered a pair of Gilded Flickers digging a nest cavity near the top of a Giant Saguaro,” Jim writes. “As spring progressed, buds appeared on the top of the cactus, and I realized that when it bloomed, it would attract other birds to the pollen and insects on the flowers. anticipated, rightly, that the woodpeckers would never tolerate other birds literally feeding on their “roof”, and I was able to spend several weeks photographing the often spectacular aerial battles fought by the woodpeckers for territorial defence. This was my favorite setting as the full wing span of the male twinkle showed off the beautiful underwing color that gave it its name and the subtle iridescence of the starling in breeding plumage, which is not often seen The attack stance of the talons against the starling’s face and the closed eye of the twinkle testify to the intensity of these battles, and I can report, in this case, that both combatants flew away unscathed.
Equipment and settings: Canon R5 and Canon 100-500 zoom lens, portable. Exposure data: 1/6400 @ f/7.1, ISO 800, exposure compensation -1/3.
Many thanks to our panel of guest judges: editors Laura Erickson, Pete Dunne and Brian E. Small; professional photographers Marie Read and Alan Murphy; Outdoor photographer editors Wes Pitts and Kristan Ashworth; And Imagery resource Editor William Brawley.
See the second place winner
See the third place winner
See the finalists
Take part in our 2022 bird portrait competition