The winners of the Bird Photographer of the Year 2021 awards have been announced. Over 22,000 images were submitted by photographers around the world, in hopes of winning the £5,000 grand prize.
The annual competition for bird photography lovers was split into eight different categories. They included: Best Portrait Birds in the Environment, Attention to Detail, Bird Behaviour, Birds in Flight, Black and White, Urban Birds and Creative Imagery.
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There was also a prize for The Young Bird Photographer of the Year as well as a Conservation Award and Portrait Awards for a series of images submitted by a single photographer.
This year, the grand prize was awarded to Mexican photographer Alejandro Prieto. His poignant image of a bird facing the USA-Mexico border wall has a somber story behind it, showing that it’s not just humans affected by its presence. Alejandro Prieto explains, “the border wall crosses deserts, mountains and even mangroves. It is not just a desert and is in fact very biodiverse with more than 1,500 animals and plant species threatened by the wall.”
Animals such as black bears, bison, longhorn sheep and pronghorns have been affected by it as it physically stops their migration routes. Will Nicholls, Director of Bird Photographer of the year said “Prieto’s image immediately caught the attention of the judges. It is not your typical bird photo and the story behind the image is so strong.’
Meanwhile, Levi Fitze is a 17 year old who won the Young Bird Photographer of the Year 2021 for his image of a black grouse. In the photo, the male grouse is lekking at sunrise - in other words, it’s engaging in competitive displays and courtships rituals to entice visiting females to mate.
As well as providing a platform for wildlife photographers to show off their work, Bird Photographer of the year has conservation at its heart. In 2021, the competition donated more than £8,000 to its partner charity Birds on the Brink which helps grass-roots bird conservation projects worldwide.
Next year's competition will open on 30th September 2021 and is open to photographers of all ages and experience levels. To register your interest, head to the Bird Photographers of the Year website for a chance of winning the £5,000 grand prize.
See a selection of the winning entries below. For the full gallery head to www.birdpoty.com