Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, contests and more!
Start Your Free Trial

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.


Western Screech-Owl

Western Screech-Owl

Photographer: Anita Rama

Location and date: Reno, Nevada, March 20, 2016

Description: I heard about an owl residing in a tree along a walking trail in my neighborhood. I was delighted to find the owl one morning nestled and sleeping in an oak tree cavity. The trouble for me was that the owl continued to sleep for felt like an eternity. My patience was rewarded when the bird finally woke up briefly and looked at me. Not only did it open its eyes, but it also moved its leg when I quickly fired the shutter. To me, it felt like the owl was saying hello.

Gear and settings: Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 100-400mm lens, at f/5, 1/400 sec.

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

Read our newsletter!

Sign up for our free e-newsletter to receive news, photos of birds, attracting and ID tips, and more delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up for Free
Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall

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

Matt Mendenhall on social media