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2021 BirdWatching Photography Awards honorable mentions

This past spring, we conducted our latest photo contest, the 2021 BirdWatching Photography Awards, here on our website. We received more than 770 entries — images of owls, eagles, hummingbirds, cranes, and passerines, among others — 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 honorable mention photos, featured in the following slideshow. 

Each caption tells the story behind the photo, from the photographers themselves, and it lists the camera gear they used. 

We’ll announce the three winning images here on our website on Tuesday, August 10, and they’ll be featured in our September/October 2021 issue. Enjoy!

Greater Roadrunner by Jim Burns

Greater Roadrunner by Jim Burns

I had been observing a mated pair of Greater Roadrunners, off and on from a respectful distance, for several weeks during spring nesting season, photographing pair bonding, copulation, hunting together in the desert, and eventually nest building. The nest was six feet up in the tangled crotch of an Acacia. He was bringing nesting materials for her to work into the woven stick frame of the nest.

He would leave, pull up desert weeds and greenery by the roots, then carry beak loads of the soft material back to her to line the nest. This went on for an hour or so one morning and, just as I was about to leave, I was blown away to see him come trotting back with his beak full of these beautiful yellow flowers, blossoms of Desert Bladderpod, a drought resistant “weed” that grows in the Sonoran Desert after rainy winters.

It was impossible not to consider this gift to his mate anthropomorphically. On the way home, I stopped in a store and bought some flowers to take to my wife.

Gear: Canon 5D M4 with a Canon 100-400mm lens.

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

View the 2021 BirdWatching Photography Awards finalists

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