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The 2022 Audubon Pictures Awards: Winners and Honorable Mentions


    With their beautiful appears and fascinating behaviors, birds typically enthrall us once they cross our path. Many individuals spend hours or years searching for them out. However simply as typically, we come upon distinctive moments in a stroke of luck. Typically all it takes is merely stopping to understand an on a regular basis scene with recent eyes.

    Whatever the effort and time invested, all significant experiences with birds require a typical ingredient: our consideration.

    Nearly 2,500 photographers and videographers submitted almost 10,000 entries to this 12 months’s contest—sharing the fruits of their boundless consideration with us. In a world full of infinite distractions, that’s a present. Discover what is obtainable by the photographs and movies honored right here, chosen by three knowledgeable panels who judged nameless picture and video information. From the daring motion of a raptor to the subtlest element within the feather patterns of ptarmigan, take a second to revel in what you may in any other case miss.

    The 2022 APA Judges

    Novice, Skilled, Youth, Crops for Birds, Grand, and Fisher Prizes:

    • Sabine Meyer, pictures director, Nationwide Audubon Society
    • Melissa Hafting, conservation photographer and youth nature educator
    • Allen Murabayashi, chairman and co-founder, PhotoShelter
    • John Rowden, senior director for bird-friendly communities, Nationwide Audubon Society
    • Tara Tanaka, wildlife photographer and videographer

    Video Prize:

    • Mike Fernandez, video producer, Nationwide Audubon Society
    • Sean Graesser, biologist and conservation photographer and videographer
    • Tara Tanaka, wildlife photographer and videographer

    Feminine Chook Prize:

    Founders of the Galbatross Challenge: Brooke Bateman, Stephanie Beilke, Martha Harbison, Purbita Saha, Joanna Wu

    Judging standards: technical high quality, originality, creative benefit

    Grand Prize: Jack Zhi 

    Class: Novice
    Species: White-tailed Kite
    Location: Costa Mesa, California
    Digicam: Sony a9ii with Sony 600mm f/4.0 lens with a Sony FE 2x Teleconverter; 1/3200 second at f/8; ISO 800

    Story Behind the Shot: I studied White-tailed Kite habits for 3 years earlier than I obtained this close-up. It was a problem to get the motion, distance, lighting, and angles of the people all proper on the similar time. The daddy, who teaches his fledglings to hunt, held a vole in his talons. The fledgling flew in and, in a blink, grabbed the rodent as the daddy let go. Wildlife does spectacular issues—individuals stroll by with out even figuring out. My ardour is to seize that magnificence and habits and share it with individuals who don’t have the time to see it in nature.

    Chook Lore: Sleek grassland fliers of North and South America, White-tailed Kites feed primarily on mice, voles, and different small mammals. Another raptors search such prey by watching from a perch or hovering slowly throughout the panorama, however this fowl does virtually all its looking by hovering in a single spot, intently scanning the bottom under, after which quickly pouncing. This system requires nice dexterity in flight, and grownup White-tailed Kites could dedicate a number of weeks to coaching younger who’ve left the nest.

    Novice Award Winner: Peter Shen

    Species: Western Grebe 
    Location: Calero Reservoir, San Jose, California
    Digicam: Sony A1 with a Sony FE 600mm f/4 lens with a Sony 1.4x Teleconverter; 1/1000 second at f/7.1; ISO 500

    Story Behind the Shot: I used to be mountaineering on a slim, rocky path once I noticed a Western Grebe with two chicks on her again. I unpacked my gear and knelt on the shore’s edge. A male arrived with a fish and handed it to the mother, who turned to face me and made eye contact. I rapidly laid flat on the gravel, fowl droppings throughout, however I didn’t care. My coronary heart pounded. One chick obtained maintain of the fish, however the second bit onto the opposite finish. They tugged, backwards and forwards, till the second chick received. The rivalry introduced again completely happy reminiscences of my siblings, our mother within the center.

    Chook Lore: Western Grebes hatch out of eggs in nests that float on the water’s floor. Inside minutes of rising, the newborn grebes scramble up onto the again of their attending father or mother; the grownup grebe quickly swims away carrying them, changing into in impact a brand new dwelling, floating nest. For as much as 4 weeks the female and male adults take turns at parental duties, one toting the younger whereas the opposite hunts for meals to carry again for them.

    Skilled Award Winner: Liron Gertsman

    Species: White-tailed Ptarmigan 
    Location: Jasper Nationwide Park, Alberta, Canada
    Digicam: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens; 1/800 second at f/6.3; ISO 100

    Story Behind the Shot: I’ve spent numerous hikes looking for the elusive “mountain rooster,” also called the White-tailed Ptarmigan, to no avail. On at the present time, after a few hours, I stumbled proper onto some. The small group was so effectively camouflaged I didn’t discover it till motion caught my eye. Desirous to seize these outstanding birds within the context of their area, I placed on a wider lens and sat down. They continued to forage at shut vary, and I captured this picture of a person posing in entrance of the beautiful mountains.

    Chook LoreSuperbly tailored to the chilly, ptarmigan thrive year-round in harsh situations of the Arctic and excessive mountains the place few birds might survive. They feed on buds, leaves, and twigs of willows and different shrubby tundra crops, searching for out windswept spots the place stems prolong above the snow. Their thick plumage supplies very good insulation, in addition to camouflage, altering with the seasons. They even develop snowshoes: Thick feathers develop on their toes in winter, serving to them stroll throughout the snow’s floor.

    Video Award Winner: Liron Gertsman

    Video Transcript

    A brown and white feathered Sharp-tailed Grouse chirps within the early morning gentle; its wings outstretched and physique parallel to the bottom. A number of extra grouse are out of focus behind it. On the similar time, they bend over as they stomp their toes so quick that they blur and make a buzzing sound. After a pause and extra chirping, they achieve this once more.

    Class: Skilled 
    Species: Sharp-tailed Grouse
    Location: Thompson-Nicola, British Columbia, Canada
    Digicam: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM @400mm lens and Canon EF to RF mount adapter; 1/60 second at f 5.6; ISO 5000

    Story Behind the Shot: This clip from the pre-sunrise hours captures Sharp-tailed Grouse males dancing and chirping at a lek. Cautious to not hassle them, I filmed as they bent over, stretched their wings, and stomped their toes. It appeared like fast drumming. Their tails standing straight up, they displayed repeatedly. As a lot as I like the ability of pictures to inform a narrative, some scenes want greater than a body to seize the larger image.

    Chook Lore: All of North America’s prairie grouse have spectacular courtship dances which were inspiring people for millennia. Many Native American peoples of the Nice Plains and the Inside West have stirring, elaborate ceremonial dances based mostly on these of the grouse. The Sharp-tailed Grouse is an in depth relative of the 2 species of prairie-chickens, nevertheless it’s much less depending on open grasslands, favoring habitats with extra brushy cowl, and infrequently shifting into wooded areas in winter

    Crops for Birds Award Winner: Shirley Donald

    A little Nashville Warbler, yellow with a gray head, clings to the stalk of a scarlet bee balm plant. Its profile faces a pink seedhead where a few bright red flower segments remain and stand out against a green background. In the bird’s beak is a tiny snail.
    Nashville Warbler and scarlet bee balm. Photograph: Shirley Donald/Audubon Pictures Awards

    Class: Novice
    Species: Nashville Warbler
    Location: Blue Sea, Quebec, Canada
    Digicam: Canon EOS 5DS R with a Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO II USM lens and a Canon 1.4x Teleconverter III; 1/640 second at f/5.6; ISO 1000

    Story Behind the Shot: I planted a scarlet bee balm beneath my workplace window. Over a number of years it unfold, the mass of flowers blooming midsummer in time to feed juvenile hummingbirds. As soon as the flowers are spent, the seedheads shelter bugs and appeal to snails. Birds examine them and feast off their finds. With my digicam on a tripod, lens poking by way of a gap within the mesh I exploit to display my open window, I’m prepared for any alternative—similar to this warbler snatching a tiny snail.

    Chook LoreThe Nashville Warbler’s identify displays an period when fowl migration was poorly beneath­stood. In 1810, ornithologist Alexander Wilson journeyed west. He found three warbler species new to science and named them for locations the place he noticed them. The Kentucky Warbler does nest in Kentucky, however the Tennessee and Nashville Warblers have been solely touring to forests of the far north.

    Fisher Prize: Steve Jessmore

    Class: Skilled
    Species: Northern Shoveler
    Location: Muskegon County Wastewater Administration System, Muskegon County, Michigan
    Digicam: Sony Alpha 1 mirrorless digicam with a Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens and a ProMaster carbon monopod; 1/1000 second at f/11; ISO 2000

    Story Behind the Shot: The whipping wind and bitter chilly on a dreary winter Michigan morning made it onerous to face and preserve my lens regular. Huddled behind my Subaru, I observed teams of Northern Shovelers feeding and was drawn to the swirling movement as they circled, the teams rising and shrinking. I attempted to fill my body with geese, their our bodies masking the water’s floor and heads down in water. Nearly two hours into capturing, a drake rose from the middle and unfold his wings. Along with his inexperienced head, shovel-shaped invoice, yellow eyes, and putting sky-blue panels, he regarded statuesque for a second or two earlier than dropping again to feed.

    Chook LoreSome birds keep far aside when foraging, however the Northern Shoveler typically feeds in tightly packed teams. Tremendous comb-like constructions inside its outsized invoice enable it to pressure tiny gadgets from the water, so it swims with its invoice submerged, sifting out crustaceans, bugs, seeds, and different edibles. Paddling with its toes, stirring up the muddy backside, it brings extra meals up inside attain. When many shovelers do that collectively, they supply a wealthy provide of meals for all.

    Video Honorable Point out: Xiao Hu

    Video Transcript

    A Nice Blue Heron carrying a big department enters the body from the distant tree traces. The video is in sluggish movement, displaying the grey feathers on the fowl brighten towards the nice and cozy brown winter foliage. The lengthy plume feathers beneath the neck flutter within the wind because it flies nearer and lands.

    Class: Novice
    Species: Nice Blue Heron
    Location: Paynes Prairie Protect State Park, Micanopy, Florida
    Digicam: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens and a Canon 1.4x Teleconverter and Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R; 1/1000 second at f/5.6.; ISO 951

    Story Behind the Shot: Seeing Nice Blue Herons with full breeding plumage up shut just isn’t an on a regular basis enterprise. The La Chua Path is a go-to place to observe alligators and birds, however since Hurricane Irma, it has been largely beneath water. For a short whereas, the path was walkable, and I witnessed these birds construct a nest with no need binoculars. The couple selected a notable floor: a photo voltaic panel. Crews needed to take away the nest, however not earlier than I shot a slow-motion clip of 1 heron flying towards it with a department, feathers blowing within the wind.

    Chook LoreAt a look, Nice Blue Herons may not seem like they’d nest in excessive locations. However they’re such swish and highly effective fliers that they will collect giant sticks and carry them as much as 100 toes above the bottom, forming a cradle for his or her eggs in treetops or at different raised websites. Nest constructing is a shared job for mated pairs: Males usually collect sticks and different gadgets however females do many of the discerning work of putting supplies within the nest.

    Youth Honorable Point out: Amiel Hopkins

    Species: Larger Prairie-Hen
    Location: Fort Pierre Nationwide Grassland, Fort Pierre, South Dakota
    Digicam: Nikon D3500 with a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED lens; 1/800 second at f/7.1; ISO 320

    Story Behind the Shot: I spent the evening in a freezing, cramped blind so I may very well be in place by daybreak to {photograph} Larger Prairie-Hen spring courtship shows. Males inflate vocal sacs, make deep, booming calls, dance about like wind-up toys, and combat different males to defend their territories. That morning one fowl flew onto my blind and started to bounce, its toes making loud, clacking noises on the tin roof. When one other got here inside arm’s attain, I captured its intricate and exquisite feather sample because it emitted a loud cackling cry.  At that distance, the fowl would choose up any motion and flush, so I remained nonetheless. Fortunately, it by no means observed me.

    Chook LoreOn spring mornings a couple of centuries in the past, prairies of the North American inside echoed with a deep, low, moaning sound that pulsed throughout the panorama. This was the “booming” of male Larger Prairie-Chickens coming collectively at their ancestral show grounds to posture and dance in a bid to draw females. The sound from a big booming floor might carry greater than two miles throughout the grasslands. Prairie-chickens nonetheless collect at remoted websites throughout a number of states, however their numbers immediately barely trace at their former abundance.

    Novice Honorable Point out: Ankur Khurana

    Species: Frequent Raven
    Location: Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
    Digicam: Canon 7D Mark II with a Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Modern lens; 1/250 second at f/5.6; ISO 4000

    Story Behind the Shot: My companion and I stumbled on this couple on the final day of 2021 as we plowed by way of heavy snow in chilly that settled into our bones. The bigger raven groomed its mate’s head feathers because it clicked, gurgled, cawed, and shrieked. Whereas ravens are widespread right here, I couldn’t miss photographing this intimate interplay. My arms numb, I pulled my digicam out and clicked a number of pictures. As we walked away, the ravens continued to bask in playful shows on the bottom and in flight. We’d seen ravens, and proof of their apparent intelligence, a whole bunch of occasions, however this raven encounter is one which shall be onerous to beat.

    Chook LoreBelonging to the identical household as jays and crows, the Frequent Raven is assessed as a songbird—the biggest one on this planet. It’s additionally among the many smartest of birds. Adults kind long-term monogamous pairs, and pairs keep collectively year-round, seeming to speak with one another through the use of all kinds of calls and nonvocal alerts. Members of a pair typically perch shut collectively and take turns preening one another’s feathers with what appears for all of the world like a show of sheer affection.

    Feminine Chook Prize: Alan Krakauer

    Class: Novice 
    Species: Larger Sage-Grouse
    Location: Fremont County, Wyoming
    Digicam: Canon EOS 6D with a Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD A011 lens and a UV filter; 1/1600 second at f/8; ISO 800

    Story Behind the Shot: It had been a number of frigid hours since I had climbed right into a blind in a distant valley, arriving earlier than first gentle to keep away from disturbing a Larger Sage-Grouse lek. Whereas I used to be often pointing my digicam at combating and strutting males, this {photograph} of a hen pausing between snow-draped shrubs grew to become my favourite. Along with her calm eyes and intricately patterned plumage, the feminine virtually took my frosty breath away. Whereas I huddled in my cumbersome coat and two pairs of lengthy underwear, the grouse appeared unbothered by the temperature. I’m amazed at how these hardy birds reside year-round on this harsh setting, and but a species this robust is imperiled by so many threats to its existence.

    Chook LoreFew birds are so tightly linked to a selected plant because the Larger Sage-Grouse is to sagebrush. This massive fowl, our largest native grouse, is discovered virtually totally in habitats dominated by numerous species of sagebrush. It builds its nest beneath these crops, rests of their shade on sizzling days, and consumes their buds, leaves, flowers, and stems, with sage leaves making up the vast majority of its winter weight loss program. It’s not only a matter of preferring their style: The digestive system of this grouse is uniquely tailored for consuming sagebrush.

    Youth Award Winner: Jayden Preussner

    Species: Black­-bellied Whistling-­Duck
    Location: Farm 13/Stick Marsh, Indian River County, Florida
    Digicam: Nikon D850 with a Nikon AF­S NIKKOR 200-­500mm f/5.6E ED lens; 1/640 second at f/6.3; ISO 2800

    Story Behind the Shot:set out alongside a dike and levee system that places you at eye stage with timber and noticed a pair of Black­ bellied Whistling­-Geese sitting on a hollowed ­out palm. Earlier than I knew it, one regarded as if it had merely fallen in. The opposite peered down the trunk, seemingly assume­ing, “What an fool.” My good friend and I burst out laughing. The scene was foolish, however now I look again and assume: That was a pleasant shot of the birds interacting with their setting. Showcasing these relationships is vital to me.

    Chook LoreWhistling­ geese make up a extremely distinctive group of lanky, lengthy­ legged, lengthy­necked waterfowl. Not like typical geese, women and men look the identical, and each sexes incubate eggs and have a tendency to younger. Up to now they have been typically known as tree geese, and this species earns the title, often nesting in holes in timber—or nest bins supplied by human admirers.

    Crops for Birds Honorable Point out: Warren Johnson

    A Hawai‘i ‘Amakihi drinks nectar upside down from the pink, clustered flowers of the sandalwood tree. Below the blooms, a black and orange bee approaches, its beating wings blurred. The bird’s small green body is in soft sunlight as its slightly curved black beak disappears into a flower.
    Hawai‘i ‘Amakihi and ‘iliahi. Photograph: Warren Johnson/Audubon Pictures Awards

    Class: Novice 
    Species: Hawai‘i ‘Amakihi
    Location: Haleakalā Nationwide Park, Maui, Hawai‘i
    Digicam: Nikon D500 with a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/1000 second at f/6.3; ISO 720

    Story Behind the Shot: After heavy December rains, native timber flowered and Hawaiian honeycreepers, in flip, started breeding. This Hawai‘i ‘Amakihi was a daily customer to an ‘iliahi, also called sandalwood. Their interplay illustrates an interdependent relationship that coevolved over millennia. To me, the scene alludes to how a lot Hawaiian avifauna and flora have been misplaced—a second that was as soon as widespread has grow to be comparatively uncommon. I used to be so targeted on the fowl that I didn’t see the bee under it once I snapped the shot.

    Chook LoreHawai‘i as soon as had almost 40 species of honeycreepers, a definite group of finches distinctive to those islands. Nearly half are actually extinct, and most remaining species are endangered. The Hawai‘i ‘Amakihi is among the few that has a wholesome inhabitants, maybe as a result of it’s considerably much less specialised than others. Nonetheless, like all honeycreepers, it’s closely reliant on native crops, and safety of native forest might be key to its long-term survival.

    Skilled Honorable Point out: Liron Gertsman

    Species: Sharp-tailed Grouse 
    Location: Thompson-Nicola, British Columbia, Canada
    Digicam: Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and Canon EF to RF mount adapter; 1/6400 at f/5.6; ISO 800

    Story Behind the Shot: One of the vital unbelievable issues I’ve ever skilled in nature is a Sharp-tailed Grouse lek, the place males collect to carry out courtship shows for females. The birds arrive in darkness and dance and show by way of the morning. These birds are notoriously flighty and delicate to disturbance, so to look at them respectfully, I scouted a location the afternoon prior. Waking up at 3 a.m., I hiked for 45 minutes to succeed in my disguise outdoors the lek’s perimeter. At first gentle, the present started. Every male on the lek defended his small territory and fights repeatedly broke out. This shot was considered one of hundreds I took that morning.

    Chook LoreOn a lek, male Sharp-tailed Grouse collect in spectacular numbers—typically 50 or extra—and dance to draw the eye of females. Mating success doesn’t simply go to these with probably the most alluring strikes; place on the lek is vital, too, with most females gravitating to males holding the prime spots on the middle. Consequently, competitors for these central places is intense, and the dancing is usually interrupted by violent fights as males spar for higher place.

    These successful pictures initially ran within the Summer time 2022 subject. To obtain our print journal, grow to be a member by .