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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.


Northern Gannet

Northern Gannet

Photographer: Rajesh Mohan

Location and date: Bonaventure National Park, Quebec, Canada, July 26, 2017

Description: This photograph of a Northern Gannet is special for me. I wanted an intimate photograph that showed the sharp features of this bird that enable it to perform extraordinary tactics. It can dive into water at 60mph, brace the impact, quickly adapt the eyes from the glittering surface above water to underwater to chase down a fish. In all this, the beak and the eyes play a big role I used a 600mm +1.4x and scanned the birds for this frame. Finally, on the second day, late in the day, the light changed to something magical and everything came together. And one bird turned to give this perfect frame of the beak, the lines, and both the eyes. It looks more mechanical like a high performance rocket ready to take off. Shortly after I took the shot, the ranger nudged me to leave to catch the last ferry out.

Gear and settings: Canon 600mm+1.4x on Mark IV on tripod. 1/1250 sec, ISO 640.

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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