First Place BirdWatching Photography Awards 2020: White-tailed Kites

white-tailed kite© 2019 Sha Lu

Sha Lu of Los Altos, California, won first place in the 2020 BirdWatching Photography Awards with this photo of a prey exchange between white-tailed kites.

Sha captured the image on March 23, 2019 at Shoreline Lake Park in Mountain View, California. The park is near the southern edge of San Francisco Bay.

“We are fortunate that a pair of white-tailed kites have nested in a popular local park in recent years,” says Sha. “This inspired many wildlife photographers to capture their actions. Sometimes we are lucky enough that the action is happening very close to us, allowing us to get detailed action plans. During the breeding season, the male goes hunting while the female takes care of the nest. When the male returns with food, the female often flies out of the nest to snatch the male’s prey from the air. This is an exciting action for wildlife photographers to capture.

Sha used the following equipment and settings: Sony A9, 400mm f/2.8 GM lens and 2X teleconverter, 800mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO640.

You can see more of Sha’s photos on Flickr.

The photo was one of more than 1,230 entries we received during the competition period this spring. And it was one of 14 finalists that we announced last week. Check out the links below for second and third place images as well as our finalists and honorable mentions.

Second place at the BirdWatching Photography Awards 2020

Third place at the BirdWatching Photography Awards 2020

Finalists for the BirdWatching Photography Awards 2020

Honorable Mentions from the 2020 BirdWatching Photography Awards

A big thank you to our judges: Alan Murphy, professional bird photographer; author, podcaster, Bird watching columnist and photographer Laura Erickson; Outdoor photographer Editor-in-Chief Wes Pitts and Bird watching Editor Matt Mendenhall.

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Find out how to submit your photos to our Color of Birds competition