Bird Photographer of the Year revealed
A dramatic picture of a female peregrine falcon swooping on a brown pelican while protecting her young has won this year’s Bird Photographer of the Year award. The picture was taken by Jack Zhi , who had waited for four years to capture the rare moment in southern California . The incredible image ‘Grab the Bull by the Horns’ beat more than 23,000 entries to claim the prize. ‘For four years, I attempted to capture the rare sight of the female falcon attacking large brown pelicans with incredible speed and agility,’ he said in a press release.
‘The high-speed chase made it challenging to capture a closeup shot with a long lens. The falcon’s precision was amazing as it struck at the pelican’s head,’ the US photographer explained. ‘I love the eyes of the pelican in this image – surprised and scared. The action was fast, and over in the blink of an eye. But I’ll remember that moment forever,’ Zhi said. The annual competition is designed to highlight bird photography around the globe. and features pictures in different categories including Conservation Award, Portfolio Award, Video Award, and Comedy Bird Photo Award.
Zhi, a full-time computer engineer, looks for birds and other wildlife in his spare time. He also won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2021 and the grand prize of the Audubon Photography Awards in 2021. The photographer won the top prize of £5,000 ($6,280 USD) and the prestigious title. The image also won Gold Award in the Bird Behavior category. German photographer Anton Trexler, 17, won the Young Bird Photographer of the Year award for his picture of a blackbird’s silhouette set against the backdrop of the moon.
The gold award in the Comedy Bird category went to Italian photographer Antonio Aguti. That featured a wide-eyed bird with a massive fish in its mouth. ‘The purple heron is a migratory bird that nests in the lake basins of the Italian Peninsula and feeds mainly on fish. In this shot, the heron caught a large crucian carp and voraciously swallowed it after several attempts to turn the fish on to its side,’ Aguti said.
‘More Fish Please!’ taken by Levi Fitze in Saunders Island, Falkland Islands, won the Silver Award of Comedy Bird Photo, and features a baby penguin in the face of a King Penguin. ‘This juvenile constantly begged until the annoyed adult walked away. However, the fact that the juvenile was more massive than the adult suggests good parenting overall.’ Fitze noted.
The UK photographer Rachel Bigsby won the Best Portfolio Award this year for her ‘incredible ability to capture the beauty, resilience, and fragility of the lives of birds who are at home in the air, on land, and at sea.’ The Gold Award of Best Portrait went to Nicolas Reusens, who captured a rare glistening-green tanager in Ecuador. “After hours of waiting, I saw the vivid-green bird on a perfect heart-shaped leaf. Its shimmering feathers reflected a dazzling array of colors. I captured every detail, grateful for this magical moment amid the lush jungle backdrop,’ Reusens said.
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