Birds are a secretive and mysterious species, which makes them one of the hardest to photograph. The British Trust for Ornithology, however, is taking time to appreciate photographers around the world who have mastered the art of capturing the quiet, gentle beauty of birds, and they've just announced their winners for 2017.
The Bird Photographer of the Year competition was initiated in 2015, and reportedly received a flood of entries right away. According to BTO Chief Executive Andy Clements, its aim is "to celebrate the artistry of bird photography and aid conservation by supporting the valuable work carried out by the BTO.” A cash prize of £5,000 (~$6,500 USD) is awarded to the top entry, with smaller amounts of cash, equipment, and merchandise being doled out to the others. This year's victor? Alejandro Prieto Rojas from Mexico, who submitted a stunning portrait of flamingo feeding their young.
A selection of the winning and short-listed entries are also chosen by the BTO to feature in a special large-format photobook. The 2017 edition is available now, and partial profits from its sales will directly support the BTO's bird conservation efforts. Scroll down to see some of the most incredible bird photos you might ever lay eyes on, and share this post with the bird-lover in your life.