The Phenomenal Photos from the Audubon Photography Awards 2023

National Audubon Society Photography Awards 2023
Two pigeons face left in profile, each with one orange eye in view against a black background. One bird is preening the other, its bill buried in gray, green, and purple iridescent feathers. | Photo by Liron Gertsman

The National Audubon Society has announced the winners of its annual Audubon Photography Awards. This year’s competition marks the 14th edition and garnered entries from professional, amateur and youth photographers that capture the beauty of birds.

There were 2,200 entrants from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, and eight Canadian provinces and territories. From the massive prize collection of submissions, a panel of judges selected eight across five divisions, plus honorable mentions.

Photos are judged on technical quality, originality, and artistic merit and must follow Audubon’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography and Videography.

The National Audubon Society also notes that its climate report, “Survival by Degrees,” reveals that two-thirds of North American birds are threatened by extinction as a result of climate change, including species featured in this year’s winning photos, including the Dunlin, Short-eared Owl, and Baltimore Oriole.

The Grand Prize-winning photograph seen above earned Canadian photographer Liron Gertsman a $5,000 payday. Gertsman’s photo of a pair of rock pigeons was captured in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada. The pigeon on the right is preening the other, showing a serene moment between a pair of colorful birds.

This isn’t Gertsman’s first success in the Audubon Photography Awards, as the photographer took home the Professional Award in last year’s contest.

Additional winning images below offer prizes ranging from $1,000 to $2,500. Youth prizes don’t pay a cash prize but instead include six days at Audubon’s Hog Island Audubon Camp during the 2024 season.

Further, all winners and honorable mentions will be featured in the Summer 2023 issue of Audubon magazines.

Professional Award Winner

National Audubon Society Photography Awards 2023
An Atlantic Puffin sits on the edge of a craggy cliffside, its head turned to the left, its white breast in sharp contrast to the gray background. Lime green algae and small purple wildflowers drape over the cliff, breaking up the otherwise dark image. | Photo by Shane Kalyn

Amateur Award Winner

National Audubon Society Photography Awards 2023
A Chinstrap Penguin, wings outstretched, dives from an iceberg. Head down, its bill is nearly touching the water’s surface. In the background, a white and blue iceberg is capped with fresh white snow. Deeply etched lines on the iceberg’s sides appear like hashtags behind the black bird. | Photo by Karen Blackwood

Plants for Birds Winner

National Audubon Society Photography Awards 2023
A gray Verdin with a yellow head and a small rust-colored patch on its wings stands in profile on a broken cacti branch that’s white, brown, and green. The bird carries a pale green caterpillar in its bill. | Photo by Linda Scher

Youth Winner

National Audubon Society Photography Awards 2023
sandpiper in profile appears to have jumped from the rocks to avoid an incoming wave. The bird’s wings are behind its body, its feet just above the rock in front of a background of water droplets from the surf. | Photo by Kieran Barlow

Fisher Prize Winner

National Audubon Society Photography Awards 2023
A Brown Pelican at the top of the frame sits in the water, its wings pulled behind its body. In the dark water below is the crescent silhouette of a shark, its snout nearly touching the pelican. | Photo by Sunil Gapolan

Female Bird Prize Winner

National Audubon Society Photography Awards 2023
A bright yellow female Baltimore Oriole with thin light strands of grass held in her bill perches at the end of a branch and faces to the right in the frame. The billow strands around her, slightly out of focus, in front of a blurred green background. | Photo by Sandra M. Rothenberg

Professional Honorable Mention

National Audubon Society Photography Awards 2023
A Northern Hawk Owl looks directly into the camera as it perches at the tip of a frost-covered tree. Dark pine cones on the bare branches stand out against a white background, mirroring the pattern of the owl’s dark breast feathers. | Photo by Liron Gertsman

Amateur Honorable Mention

National Audubon Society Photography Awards 2023
A Reddish Egret stands in shallow water against a blurred yellow background, its body facing left and its wings open behind it. A small fish and water droplets are suspended in the water in front of the bird’s open bill. | Photo by Nathan Arnold

Plants for Birds Honorable Mention

National Audubon Society Photography Awards 2023
Thousands of Tree Swallows sit on two cypress snags in a swamp, looking like leaves. One tree is larger in the foreground and the other is smaller in the background. More birds fly around the trees, their dark forms in contrast to the purple and blue sky. | Photo by Vicki Santello

Youth Honorable Mention

National Audubon Society Photography Awards 2023
A male Green-winged Teal sits on top of a female in the water, his bill appearing to push the female’s head down. His brown and green head stands out against an otherwise gray background with blurred snowflakes around the frame. | Photo by James Fatemi

More Winning Images

The video award winner and honorable mentions can be seen on the National Audubon Society competition website, which also reveals more details about how each photo was taken.


Image credits: All photos are individually credited and provided courtesy of the Audubon Photography Awards.

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