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2019 Bird Portrait Contest finalists

In the last few months of 2019, BirdWatching received more than 1,000 submissions to our Bird Portrait Contest from hundreds of photographers. The contest drew an exceptional selection of photos, making the judges’ job quite difficult, and now we’re happy to present the 12 finalist images in this slideshow.


Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Photographer: Monica Plummer

Location and date: Indian Shores, Florida, November 24, 2018

Description: One of my go-to stops when I'm visiting family in Florida is Seaside Seabird Sanctuary on Indian Rocks Beach. It's a regular stop for numerous birds of all types, too. They like to come and "visit" their feathered friends who are in rehab or long-term sanctuary residency. Some call these visitors "free-loaders." I like to think of them as a bit of both.

I spotted this handsome visiting dude strolling on the shelled path near the aviaries. As he neared a dark-colored fence, I swiftly got into position to capture this chocolatey warm-hued portrait before he continued on his way back down to the beach.

Gear and settings: Nikon D750; ISO Speed: 400; Shutter Speed: 1/200

UPDATE: View the first-place, second-place, and third-place winners!

View the Bird Portrait Contest honorable mention images

View the winners of our 2019 BirdWatching Photography Awards

Enter the 2020 BirdWatching Photography Awards

Enter Outdoor Photographer’s 2020 The American Landscape Photo Contest

Originally Published

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Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall is the editor of BirdWatching magazine and You can reach him at

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