The Audubon Society's 2021 Audubon Photography Awards generated a huge number of utterly magnificent pictures of birds.
Almost 9,000 entries were received for the latest edition of the competition, whose judges included Sabine Meyer, photography director for the National Audubon Society. The restrictions on life in a pandemic meant one big change to the normal pattern of entries received: normally, the submitted images are sent in from expeditions across the globe. This time around, the vast majority of pictures were taken almost on the doorstep of each photographer — and the quality of the images serves as a reminder that sometimes Nature’s most beautiful sights can be right beneath our noses.
The grand prize winner wasn’t a professional, but amateur photographer Carolina Fraser, whose image of a Greater Roadrunner (taken at Los Novios Ranch in Cotulla, Texas) was awarded the top accolade. You can see it at the top of this page.
‘One of my favourite places to take photographs is among the oil pumps and open space at Los Novios Ranch in South Texas, where wildlife weaves through cacti and birds perch on fence posts,’ says Carolina.
‘On a blazing hot summer day just before sunset, I found myself lying facedown at an uncomfortable angle, my elbows digging into a gravel path as I photographed this roadrunner. I manually adjusted the white balance until I captured the bird bathed in golden sunlight as it took a dust bath.’
We’ve picked out a few more of our favourites from among the winners and highly commended images — but we’d heartily recommend spending a few minutes enjoying all of the images at the Audubon website and reading the stories behind the shots themselves.,