The winners of the world’s largest bird photography competition have been revealed with a spectacular array of avian views, from a hummingbird catching a drop of water to a stunning shot of a rock ptarmigan launching from the top of a Mountain.
This year’s competition attracted over 20,000 entries, with an adult competition covering eight categories: best portraiture, birds in the environment, attention to detail, bird behavior, birds in flight, black and white, urban birds and creative imagery. Three youth categories also focus on the age groups of eight and under, nine to 13 and 14 to 17.
Norwegian photographer Erlend Haarberg won the top prize this year for a beautifully composed photo taken atop the snow-capped mountains of Tysfjord. Haarberg caught the rare sight of a rock ptarmigan while hiking up the mountain for some landscape photos.
“I had almost reached the top when I spotted ptarmigan tracks weaving between the rocks, where the wind had uncovered sparse vegetation,” Haarberg said. “From behind a rock, a small head appeared, and a few seconds later it took off with the mountains and fjord landscape in the background, setting the scene perfectly.”
Another highlight of this year’s selection came from American photographer Peter Ismert. It took days for Ismert to capture the rarely photographed sight of two male sage-grouse fighting to impress female viewers.
“I went into my hideout in the middle of the night, trying to sleep as best I could before the early hours of the morning,” Ismert explained. “At the first light of day, I woke up to the resounding sound of male grouse, seeing their unusual courtship and this peculiar battle.”
The competition has a strong focus on conservation, donating a portion of its profits to Birds on the Brink, a charity focused on protecting bird habitats around the world. All images entered in the competition must be taken in the wild, without the intervention of bait or domestic birds.
Take a look in our gallery for more highlights from this year’s competition.