An image of a peregrine falcon tackling a brown pelican that ventured too close to its nest has taken the grand prize in the 2023 Bird Photographer of the Year Award, the world’s largest bird photography competition. Photographers from all over the world entered more than 20,000 images into the competition, each with their eyes on the £5,000 grand prize.
The arresting image was taken by American photographer Jack Zhi, who captured the birds 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.”
Here are the rest of the category winners:
GRAB THE BULL BY THE HORNS
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus and Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis. Southern California, United States.
Jack Zhi, United States. Category: Bird Behaviour.
GOLD AWARD WINNER and Bird Photographer of the Year 2023.
Glistening-green Tanager Chlorochrysa phoenicotis. Mashpi Amagusa Reserve, Ecuador.
Nicolas Reusens, Spain. Category: Best Portrait. GOLD AWARD WINNER.
Birds in Flight
Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera. Bogotá, Colombia.
Rafael Armada, Spain. Category: Birds in Flight. GOLD AWARD WINNER.
A MOMENT OF PRAYER
Great Grey Owl Strix nebulosa. Helsinki, Finland.
Arto Leppänen, Finland. Category: Urban Birds. GOLD AWARD WINNER.
Comedy Bird Award
NO WAY OUT
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea. Lake Chiusi, Italy.
Antonio Aguti, Italy. Category: Comedy Bird Photo. GOLD AWARD WINNER.
Conservation (single image)
DON’T MAKE WAR
European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur. Southern Malta.
Ewan Heath-Flynn, United Kingdom. Category: Conservation (Single Image). GOLD AWARD WINNER.
Birds in the Environment
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla. Lower Silesia, Poland.
Mateusz Piesiak, Poland. Category: Birds in the Environment. GOLD AWARD WINNER.
Black and White
Musk Duck Biziura lobata. Perth, Australia.
Jason Moore, Australia. Category: Black and White. GOLD AWARD WINNER.
BLUE HOUR AND RED MOON
Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula. Mainz, Germany.
Anton Trexler, Germany. Category: 15–17 years. GOLD AWARD WINNER AND YOUNG BIRD PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2023.
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea and Common Tern Sterna hirundo. Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.
Harry Sedin, Sweden. Category: 12–14 years. GOLD AWARD WINNER.
11 and Under
Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassinus. Pelling, Sikkim, India.
Arko Saha, India. Category: 11 and Under. GOLD AWARD WINNER.
You can see all of the winning images on the Bird Photographer of the Year Award website. All awarded images are published by William Collins in a hard-back coffee-table book, which is now available online.
The 2024 competition is now open for entries and invites photographers of all experience levels to submit their best bird photos.