The National Audubon Society has recently announced the winning photos of the 2020 Audubon Photography Awards. The contest is in its eleventh year, and just like before, the jury has chosen six category winners along with four honorable mentions. All ten photos capture amazing moments in bird lives, so make sure to take a look, decompress, and relax with these gorgeous images.
The jury had a tough task of selecting only ten out of over 6,000 submissions from across all 50 U.S. states and seven Canadian provinces and territories. The submissions were sent to four different categories: Professional, Amateur, Youth, and Plants for Birds, and the winning photos will be featured in future issues of Audubon and Nature’s Best Photography magazines.
The overall winner is Joanna Lentini with her underwater image of a double-crested cormorant taken in Los Islotes, Mexico. “I’ve spent many hours underwater at this California sea lion rookery in the Bay of La Paz, but I had never before encountered diving cormorants there,” said Joanna as she told the story behind her magnificent photo.
“Shifting my focus from the playful sea lions, I watched in awe as the cormorants plunged beak-first into the sea to snap at the sardines swimming by. Although I spent a long time admiring these birds, I didn’t see a single one catch a fish. Adding insult to injury, curious sea lion pups would zip by the hunting birds and nip at them from behind.”
The 2020 contest also includes the second year of winning photos for the Plants for Birds Prize and the Fisher Prize. The Plants for Birds Prize highlights the essential role of native plants and the natural habitat and food sources they provide for birds. The Fisher Prize, named after the former creative director of Audubon Kevin Fisher, is awarded to the photo that exemplifies a blend of originality and technical expertise.
While the contest shows the beauty and diversity of birds, it also raises important questions of conservation. “As many enjoy the allure and beauty of birds, two-thirds of North American birds are threatened by extinction from climate change according to Audubon’s latest climate science report. They invite you to learn more about how climate change will affect the birds in your own backyard and communities. You can do it by visiting this page and entering your zip code.
This reminded me of the impressions from recent lockdowns and curfews. The traffic would go silent every day after 5 pm as the curfew began. All I could hear while sitting on the roof was clinking of spoons in the and chirping of birds. It’s been a while since I saw sparrows, nightingales, great tits, doves, and swallows in such large numbers and so close to me. And it made me realize just how much we affect their lives – and how much they enrich ours.
Make sure to take a look at more of the amazing bird photos below, and visit Audubon’s website for more information.