The Bird Photographer of the Year 2023 winners have been unveiled. An image of a peregrine falcon tackling a brown pelican that ventured too close to its nest has taken the grand prize in the world’slargest bird photography competition.Photographers from all over the world entered more than20,000 images into the competition, each with their eyes on the £5,000 grand prize. Photographer Jack Zhi, from the USA, was declared this year’s grand prize winner for his dramatic image taken in Southern California.“For four years, I attempted to capture the rare sight of the female falcon attacking large brown pelicans with incredible speed and agility,” says Zhi. “I love the eyes of the pelican in this image-surprised and scared. The action was fast, and over in the blink of an eye. But I’ll remember that moment forever.” www.birdpoty.com
1. Bird Photographer of the Year 2023 BIRD BEHAVIOUR GRAB THE BULL BY THE HORNS
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus and Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis. Southern California, United States.
Category: Bird Behaviour.
GOLD AWARD WINNER and Bird Photographer of the Year 2023.
During the breeding season, a female Peregrine Falcon fiercely protects her young, attacking anything that comes near the nest. For four years, I attempted to capture these rare moments of her attacking large Brown Pelicans with incredible speed and agility. The high-speed chase made it challenging to capture a close-up shot with a long lens. The falcon’s precision was amazing as it struck at the pelican’s head.
Sony A9 II with Sony 600mm f/4 G lens. 600mm; 1/4,000s; f/6.3; ISO 1,000. Photo: Jack Zhi / Bird Photographer of the Year
2. Bird Photographer of the Year 2023
Emperor Penguin Aptenodytes forsteri. Antarctica. Thomas Vijayan, Canada. Category: Best Portrait. SILVER AWARD WINNER.
Before capturing this image, I spent two days observing these penguins, lying flat on the ice to avoid scaring them. Waiting for the chick to appear, I finally got this touching shot of parental love. I trekked eight hours a day on soft snow to reach this colony and even made friends with some penguins.
Canon EOS R3 with Canon 100–500mm f/4.5–7.1 lens. 472mm; 1/1,600s; f/7.1; ISO 125 Photo: Thomas Vijayan / Bird Photographer of the Year
3. Bird Photographer of the Year 2023
BIRDS IN THE ENVIRONMENT
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla. Lower Silesia, Poland. Mateusz Piesiak, Poland. Category: Birds in the Environment. GOLD AWARD WINNER.
Flooding meant that a field of sunflowers could not be harvested, and thousands of birds, including Greenfinches (Chloris chloris), Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis) and Bramblings, flocked to it in winter. Despite their colourful plumage making them easy targets, when foraging their colours blend with the surroundings, making them hard for predators to spot. Using a wide- angle lens masked with snow and dried sunflowers, I photographed a flock of Bramblings from their perspective, with one perched in front of my camera.
Fujifilm X-T2 with Fujifilm 10–24mm f/4 lens. 10mm; 1/680s; f/11; ISO 1,600. Photo: Mateusz Piesiak / Bird Photographer of the Year
4. Bird Photographer of the Year 2023
11 AND UNDER
Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassinus. Pelling, Sikkim, India. Arko Saha, India. Category: 11 and Under. GOLD AWARD WINNER.
Pelling is one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. I observed so many birds when I visited the area. I snapped this very colourful bird in a garden near our hotel. The extremely vibrant blue colour makes this bird so beautiful.
Canon EOS 80D with Canon 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6 II lens. 400mm; 1/400s; f/5.6; ISO 500. Photo: Arko Saha / Bird Photographer of the Year