Last spring we held our latest photo competition, the 2021 BirdWatching Photography Awards, here on our website. We received over 770 entries – images of owls, eagles, hummingbirds, cranes and passerines, among others – from hundreds of photographers. Thank you to everyone who participated! The selection of images was stellar, as all of our previous contests have been. The judges had a difficult task! Today, we are proud to present the honorable mention photos, featured in the following slideshow.
Each caption tells the story behind the photo, from the photographers themselves, and lists the photo equipment they used.
We’ll announce the three winning images here on our website on Tuesday, August 10, and they’ll be featured in our September/October 2021 issue. Enjoy!
Big Roadrunner by Jim Burns
I had observed a mated pair of Greater Roadrunners, intermittently at a respectful distance, for several weeks during the spring nesting season, photographing the pairs, copulation, hunting together in the desert, and ultimately nest building. The nest was six feet high in the tangled crotch of an acacia tree. He brought nesting materials for her to work in the woven stick frame of the nest.
He would leave, pull up desert weeds and greenery by the roots, then bring her beak loads of the soft material to line the nest. It lasted about an hour one morning, and just as I was about to leave, I was amazed to see him trotting back with his beak full of these beautiful yellow flowers, Desert Bladderpod flowers, a drought resistant “weed”. which grows in the Sonoran Desert after rainy winters.
It was impossible not to consider this gift to his companion in an anthropomorphic way. On the way home, I stopped at a store and bought flowers to take to my wife.
Equipment: Canon 5D M4 with a Canon 100-400mm lens.
Many thanks to our panel of guest judges: our founding editor and “Amazing Birds” columnist Eldon Greij; author, radio host and editor Laura Erickson; Outdoor photographer Editor Wes Pitts; and William Brawley, Imagery Resources Editor.
See the 2021 BirdWatching Photography Awards finalists