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2020 Bird Portrait contest finalists

In late 2020, BirdWatching received more than 700 photos entered into our Bird Portrait contest from hundreds of photographers. Thanks to everyone who entered! The selection of images was stellar, as all of our previous contests have been. The judges had a challenging task! Today we are proud to present the 12 finalist photos, featured in the following slideshow. 

We’ll announce the three winning images here on our website tomorrow, and they’ll be featured in our May/June issue.

California Condor by Jim Shane

California Condor by Jim Shane

Jim Shane of Meridian, Idaho, photographed this California Condor in December 2019. Here's his story about the image:

"As the primary photographic volunteer for The Peregrine Fund, I get opportunities to work alongside the wildlife biologists working to rescue raptor species in decline or already Critically Endangered. In December 2019 I spent three days working with the field biologists in northern Arizona who monitor and care for California Condors that have been released into the wild from the Vermillion Cliffs facility. This bird (#16) had been trapped, tested, and subsequently quarantined for lead poisoning — the most common cause of death for these birds. In quarantine, the birds receive two chelation shots per day to fight the lead poisoning and, upon recovery, are released back into the wild on a cliff over the northeast end of the Grand Canyon. I accompanied wildlife biologist Josh Young when he released #16 and one other bird. After a short period of enjoying free flight, #16 settled on some rocks at the edge of the cliff and posed for this image. One of the bird’s two tracking monitors is partially visible in the image."

Equipment and settings: Nikon D850 and Nikkor 80-400mm zoom lens at 400mm, hand-held. Settings were f8 at 1/640th with an ISO of 1600.

Many thanks to our panel of guest judges: our Founding Editor and “Amazing Birds” columnist Eldon Greij; author, radio host, and Contributing Editor Laura Erickson; and Outdoor Photographer Editor Wes Pitts. 

View the 12 honorable mentions from our 2020 Bird Portrait contest

View the finalists from our 2019 Bird Portrait contest

UPDATE, MARCH 12: We have announced the winners!

First place: Cedar Waxwing

Second place: Elegant Trogon

Third place: Wood Duck

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