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.


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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.

More info: Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Book: BTO

#1 The Battle By Jose Garcia, US. Bird Behaviour Category

The Battle By Jose Garcia, US. Bird Behaviour Category

Jose Garcia / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Varsha Chrislin 1 year ago

That's an epic pic!

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#2 Barn Owl Hovering By Roy Rimmer, UK. Bird Behaviour Category

Barn Owl Hovering By Roy Rimmer, UK. Bird Behaviour Category

Roy Rimmer / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Emily Ellis 1 year ago

Is that Jareth!?

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#3 Blue Tit On Berries By Markus Varesvuo, Helsinki, Finland. Winner Of Best Portfolio 2017 Category

Blue Tit On Berries By Markus Varesvuo, Helsinki, Finland. Winner Of Best Portfolio 2017 Category

Markus Varesvuo / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Varsha Chrislin 1 year ago

Hey you! Don't take my pic!!

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#4 2017 Bird Photographer Of The Year Cover

2017 Bird Photographer Of The Year Cover

2017 Bird Photographer Of The Year Cover Report

solvo 1 year ago

It resembles ukiyo-e

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#5 Full Speed By Faisal Alnomas, Kuwait. Bird Behaviour Category

Full Speed By Faisal Alnomas, Kuwait. Bird Behaviour Category

Faisal ALnomas / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Neeraj Jha 1 year ago

*Pink Panther theme music in the back ground*

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#6 Goosander And Brood By Jonathan Gaunt, UK. Bird Behaviour Category

Goosander And Brood By Jonathan Gaunt, UK. Bird Behaviour Category

Jonathan Gaunt / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Talia Johnson 1 year ago

The last duckling: "you lot never leave me any room. I'm off to find new transportation"

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#7 Catch Of The Day By Vince Burton, UK. Winner Of The Nature Photographers Ltd People’s Choice Award Category

Catch Of The Day By Vince Burton, UK. Winner Of The Nature Photographers Ltd People’s Choice Award Category

Vince Burton / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Virgil Blue 1 year ago

The rare pizza thrush in action.

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#8 Albatross Eye Close-up By Jessica Winter, Bronze In Attention To Detail Category

Albatross Eye Close-up By Jessica Winter, Bronze In Attention To Detail Category

Jessica Winter / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

CV 1 year ago

Maybelline eye liner, right?

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#9 Grey Heron, Ahmad Al-essa, Kuwait. Silver Award Winner In The Attention To Detail Category

Grey Heron, Ahmad Al-essa, Kuwait. Silver Award Winner In The Attention To Detail Category

Ahmad Al-essa/2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Jan Jurceka 1 year ago

Heron: No photos!

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#10 Bearded Sunset By Markus Varesvuo, Helsinki, Finland. Winner In Best Portfolio Category And Honourable Mention For Best Portrait Category

Bearded Sunset By Markus Varesvuo, Helsinki, Finland. Winner In Best Portfolio Category And Honourable Mention For Best Portrait Category

Markus Varesvuo / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Jennifer Horn 1 year ago

This bird is beautiful.

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