Plants and Animals

Winners of the Bird Photographer of the Year Award’s dueling grouse and turacos in love

Winners of the Bird Photographer of the Year Award’s dueling grouse and turacos in love

There are some magnificent specimens in all their plumed splendour among the 2022 Winners of Bird Photographer of the Year. As participants compete for the chance to win a £5,000 (about $5,800) grand prize, the competition attracts attention from around the world each year.

This year, the grand prize winner for 2022 was selected as Norwegian photographer Erlend Haarberg’s portrait of a rock ptarmigan. In it, we observe a Lagopus muta flying in Tysfjord, Norway, while the mountains behind it are covered in snow.

“Wind, snow, and cold up in the mountains keep winter in full force for long stretches of time. In this barren, snow-covered area, the Rock Ptarmigan flourish, according to Haarberg.

“I was traveling to a mountain peak on this specific winter day. When I observed several ptarmigan tracks in the snow, I was just a short distance from the summit. The stunning background soon revealed what a tough habitat this bird calls home when a bird took flight.

The winning image and many of the 2022 entrants are undoubtedly eye-pleasing. For your viewing enjoyment, here are a handful of our favorite feathered creatures:

Winners of the Bird Photographer of the Year Award's dueling grouse and turacos in love
Winners of the Bird Photographer of the Year Award’s dueling grouse and turacos in love

Performer Strut by Ly Dang
United States of America, Colorado.

Dang stated in an email to IFLScience that when Sage Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) congregate at their leks, “you know that spring has arrived on the plains of the Great Basin of the American West.” Males of this Near Threatened species put on their strutting displays on these customary breeding grounds in an effort to win the right to mate.

The ladies who evaluate the talent show and choose the greatest genes to pass on to the next generation will benefit from this behavior. To put up my hide without disturbing the birds, I got at the lek more than an hour before they did.

Lower Mpushini, near Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is where The Doting Couple by Richard Flack is set.

In a release sent via email to IFLScience, he stated, “I have observed Purple-crested Turacos [Gallirex porphyreolophus] on hundreds of occasions and have always tried to take distinctive shots of them. They are popular themes since they are iconic African birds.

The turaco pair’s apparent greater interest in one another than in me made for some wonderful photographic opportunities. Overall, it was a dream experience, and I felt honored to have them in my presence at such a private moment.

Mark Williams’s Starling At Night is from the United Kingdom.

Williams stated, “The camera was set to back curtain synch, and flash was used to capture this photograph. “I put sunflower seeds in a feeder to entice the Common Starling, and when it approached, I timed the shot to capture its descent.

In order to see the starling’s path as the flash “froze” it in flight, timing and balancing the flash with ambient light were essential. The colored gels on the flash heads enhance the photo and provide the impression that the bird is hiding in the darkness.

Male Sage Grouse congregate at established lekking sites during the spring breeding season, where they frequently get into brief but bloody fights, according to Ismert. They put on an elaborate show to win over and impress ladies and demonstrate their supremacy. Inevitably, this causes male rivalry and competition on the lek.

A few days prior to the picture session, I put up my ground to hide a safe distance from the lek. I went into my hide in the middle of the night, hoping to get as much sleep as I could before dawn. I was awakened on the first morning by the male grouse’s booming sounds and saw their peculiar display and this unique struggle.

More than £5,000 was given to the competition’s partner charity, Birds on the Brink, this year. On the Bird Photographer of the Year website, which also sells a hardcover coffee-table book with all the photos and a prologue by biologist and TV explorer Steve Backshall, you may view the names of other winners.

Will Nicholls, director of Bird Photographer of the Year, said, “Once again, our amazing photographers have shed light on the incredible diversity of bird life that we share our planet with. But it is also a sobering reminder of what we stand to lose if we don’t continue to safeguard the natural world from the numerous threats it faces in the modern day.