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Our Favourite Feminine Chook Pictures From the 2022 Audubon Pictures Awards


    Our 2022 Audubon Pictures Awards marked the second 12 months of our new Feminine Chook Prize. Created to name consideration to a few of the most missed birds on this planet, the feminine chicken class challenges photographers to focus their cameras and a spotlight on the intercourse that’s too usually ignored. This neglect by chicken lovers and even scientists isn’t only a downside of philosophy or equality. Latest analysis has proven that lack of concentrate on the particular wants of feminine birds has profound penalties for species conservation. 

    When Audubon journal launched the Feminine Chook Prize, we weren’t certain what the response was going to be. We have been pleasantly stunned after we obtained a whole bunch of fantastic submissions the primary 12 months. However that didn’t put together us for the avalanche of unbelievable feminine chicken images that we’d obtain in 2022. Greater than a thousand images that includes a wide selection of species, from jaunty Hooded Mergansers to regal Northern Shovelers, left our particular panel of judges beaming. 

    If after having fun with the photos under you end up impressed to choose up a digital camera and pursue feminine avian topics on your individual, our images part has all the things it is advisable get began, together with ideas and how-to’s and Audubon’s moral tips for wildlife images. Then get on the market and begin recording your favourite species. And should you just like the outcomes, think about submitting your greatest images to this 12 months’s awards

    Hooded Merganser by John Lee Wong (above) 

    Location: Arcadia, CA
    Behind the Shot: I took this shot on my fourth journey of the season photographing Hooded Mergansers with crayfish. I had numerous good photographs already, however this time I needed to seize a spectacular high-action second, one thing distinctive and rarely seen. After a pair hours, a feminine merganser emerged from the water with a big crayfish and two males took off towards her to steal it. As she began leaning ahead and lifting her wings, I hit the shutter button to seize her kicking up a huge rooster tail of water whereas taking off together with her catch. To me, having a feminine merganser because the star as an alternative of one of many extra flamboyant males made this shot that rather more particular.

    Northern Flicker by Marti Phillips

    Location: Tiburon, CA
    Behind the Shot: Throughout COVID-19 pandemic closures, I made a challenge of photographing each species that landed within the treetops seen from my yard deck. I’ve images of greater than 30 completely different species on a single department, which reveals how essential only one tree may be to all kinds of birds. The highest of the tree featured on this shot is a favourite perch. I like how the patterns on the glint echo the patterns on the tree and pinecones. I hope that despite the fact that this tree has died as a result of drought, the house owners of the property don’t lower it down—it’s so essential to the wildlife within the neighborhood.

    Snail Kite by John Ruggeri

    Location: Lake Tohopekelagia, Osceola County, FL
    Behind the Shot: I’ve been watching this feminine Snail Kite since 2018. She returns to the south finish of Lake Tohopekelagia each November, and based on College of Florida biologists, she hatched on the lake again in 2016. I’ve nicknamed her Turtle Lady as a result of, opposite to her widespread identify, she appears to be drawn extra to turtles than snails, at the least on this location. She efficiently hunts anyplace from 5 to eight turtles per day. On the day I bought this shot after getting back from a tour, I offloaded my passengers, pushed off the dock, and let the boat drift to the opposite aspect of the basin. The boat got here to relaxation within the lily pads, and I checked the settings and began photographing her. To {photograph} Turtle Lady, I like to attend till the afternoon when the sunshine is extra fascinating. 

    Bushtit by Ken Meyer

    Location: Portland, OR
    Behind the Shot: Our yard is a Licensed Yard Habitat by means of our native chapter of Audubon, and as my spouse and I’ve discovered extra about this system, we volunteer to guage and certify different yards. One essential side of evaluating yards is taking note of the layers. Birds use completely different layers to method meals sources and to have an escape route from predators, in addition to for locating appropriate nest websites. A flock of Bushtits frequently go to our yard within the winter and spring, and like this one, they make use of the layers of vegetation that now we have, transferring from tree to shrub in quest of bugs. If you’ll be able to present the proper habitat for birds, you don’t should journey to take pleasure in them. 

    Northern Shoveler by Gloria Hong

    Location: Central Park, NY 
    Behind the Shot: I spent an hour at Central Park’s reservoir photographing overwintering geese earlier than strolling my approach north to an space known as “the pool” to sit down and relaxation. A feminine Northern Shoveler determined she was going to preen on a rock that was close to the place I used to be sitting, and the sunshine was fantastic. I like photographing geese on the pool as a result of it permits me to get low. Autumn leaves have been nonetheless on bushes, and because the solar filtered by means of them, it solid an excellent reddish-orange tint to the water that framed her so fantastically.

    Boat-tailed Grackle by Nancy Malecki

    Location: Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Seashore, FL
    Behind the Shot: I visited the Wakodahatchee Wetlands on a partly cloudy day, and by my third loop across the boardwalk, it was turning into tougher to maintain up with the fast-moving clouds and quickly altering mild situations. Forward, I noticed a big group of tourists, so I made a decision to decelerate and watch some Boat-tailed Grackles exhibiting courting conduct. With the males clearly outnumbering the females, they have been frantically making an attempt to out-display each other to impress the women. After a couple of minutes, this feminine landed close by. It appeared each of us have been taking a time-out from the exercise round us. I used to be glad to seize a number of images of her as she rested briefly earlier than flying off once more.

    Northern Harrier by Jason Gilbody

    Location: Salisbury Seashore State Reservation, Salisbury, MA
    Behind the Shot: This feminine Northern Harrier was fairly the star at this location in the course of the winter of 2021-2022. This seaside state park is sort of giant, however she had a sample of doing loops across the marsh. To our shock and disbelief, she got here out of nowhere and perched on this forked department. I moved barely and slowly to get one of the best angle, then stood as nonetheless as doable to not disturb her or spook her from her perch. She stayed perched for minutes, preening and calling to the opposite harriers within the space as I photographed away. This picture of her preening was certainly one of my favorites from the interplay. I beloved that she had remoted a single feather in her beak however remains to be trying fairly intently throughout the marsh in case she sees her subsequent meal.

    Indigo Bunting by Jane Gamble

    Location: McKee-Beshers Wildlife Administration Space, Poolesville, MD
    Behind the Shot: Yearly, the Maryland Division of Pure Sources vegetation the McKee-Beshers sunflower fields in Poolesville, MD. By early July, the sunflowers are at their peak, offering an excellent backdrop for photographers who come to seize the fleeting fantastic thing about the flowers and the creatures who worth the wealthy habitat. I used to be ready patiently, surrounded by sunflowers that towered over me however supplied good cowl, after I noticed this feminine Indigo Bunting land with a juicy caterpillar in her beak. There was no posing for her—only a fast look in my path earlier than flying again to the bushes together with her catch. It was sufficient time for me to snap the shot and seize the second. 

    Lengthy-tailed Duck by Vicki Jauron

    Location: Island Seashore State Park, NJ
    Behind the Shot: The golden dawn colours, the smooth waves, a single little feminine Lengthy-tailed Duck in profile as she crests the swell—this scene evokes a way of serenity and oneness with nature for me. The chicken is so small within the body that she can’t be the topic, but she provides a way of surprise, a way of vastness, and a deep sense of all being proper with the world. For me there isn’t a time higher than dawn to seize temper and emotion, and there is no place higher to do it than on the seashore. Throughout these occasions, I’m glad to cross paths with any chicken, shut or far, distinctive or widespread.    

    Crimson-winged Blackbird by Kenneth Haas

    Location: Upstate New York
    Behind the Shot: I took this shot on a chilly, overcast, and windy afternoon in early Could. Across the pond on my property, the air was crammed with the sound of a dozen Crimson-winged Blackbirds. When I seen cattail seeds flying within the wind throughout the body of my digital camera, I slowly and quietly moved my tripod across the tree obstructing my view to discover this feminine pulling seeds from final 12 months’s cattails and letting them fly. I took a collection of images and she or he by no means seen me. She had hassle retaining her stability within the sturdy wind as evidenced by the extension of her proper wing. Each spring the male Crimson-winged Blackbirds arrive first on my property with the females displaying up a few weeks later. This feminine had simply returned to the pond and was in search of one of the best of final 12 months’s cattails to construct her nest. These birds are all the time welcome and particular guests to my residence.

    American Kestrel by Robert Palmer

    Location: Farmington Bay Wildlife Administration Space, Farmington, UT
    Behind the Shot: I used to spend so much of time photographing wildlife, particularly birds on the waterfowl administration space on chilly winter mornings. This present day was no exception: cloudy, 20 levels, no wind. There are often a number of American Kestrels hanging round, and this morning there was one kestrel that was preening in a tree with frost on the branches about 20 toes away. She was very targeted on cleansing her feathers and never taking note of me. I used to be in my automotive alongside the street and took various images of her preening. I believe this picture illustrates the sweetness that may be present in a chicken performing a easy, day-after-day activity. 

    Golden-crowned Kinglet by Sharon Olson

    Daintily perched upon the tip of a green spruce bough, a Golden-crowned Kinglet curiously inspects two brown pinecones. With its head cocked to the side, the splendid female shows off her white eye line and the shock of yellow across her crown for which this species is named..
    Photograph: Sharon Olson/Audubon Pictures Awards

    Location: Clackamas County, OR
    Behind the Shot: Whereas out strolling sooner or later in a wooded space, digital camera in hand, I heard a high-pitched refrain excessive up within the towering conifer bushes. Upon taking a more in-depth look, I noticed a flurry of exercise with a flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets swiftly transferring amongst the plush inexperienced branches. My coronary heart skipped a beat realizing what a pleasant problem it could be to seize these small, nimble birds so excessive up within the treetops. I’m in fixed admiration observing birds and, so usually, the dedication of females who tirelessly commit themselves to picking mates, constructing nests, and defending their younger and territories—usually efficiently and on their very own. Photographing birds and nature is awe-inspiring for me; it transports me into the second, permitting me to be consumed by the marvel unfolding proper in entrance of me.