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.

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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#11 The Speculum By Georgina Steytler. Australia. Gold Award Winner In The Creative Imagery Category

The Speculum By Georgina Steytler. Australia. Gold Award Winner In The Creative Imagery Category

Georgina Steytler / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Marilyn Beisel 1 year ago

Wow! My absolute favourite, just stunning. Thank you for sharing, Georgina.

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#12 Twilight By Markus Varesvuo, Kuusamo, Finland. Best Portfolio Winner In The Creative Imagery Category

Twilight By Markus Varesvuo, Kuusamo, Finland. Best Portfolio Winner In The Creative Imagery Category

Markus Varesvuo / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Neeraj Jha 1 year ago

Majestic!

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#13 Daily Basket By Ionel Onofras, Romania. Best Portrait Category

Daily Basket By Ionel Onofras, Romania. Best Portrait Category

Ionel Onofras / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Emma Perkins 1 year ago

That bird is terrifying!

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#14 Snuggling Cygnet By Ben Andrew. Honourable Mention In Attention To Detail Category

Snuggling Cygnet By Ben Andrew. Honourable Mention In Attention To Detail Category

Ben Andrew / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Dean Robertson 1 year ago

Epitome of nurture.

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#15 I Lost My Mom, Common Kingfisher By Fahad Al-enezi, Spain. Bird Behaviour Category

I Lost My Mom, Common Kingfisher By Fahad Al-enezi, Spain. Bird Behaviour Category

Fahad Al-enezi / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Varsha Chrislin 1 year ago

Incredible!

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#16 Snowy Owl By Markus Varesvuo, Helsinki, Finland. Winner Of Best Portfolio 2017 Category

Snowy Owl By Markus Varesvuo, Helsinki, Finland. Winner Of Best Portfolio 2017 Category

Markus Varesvuo / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Virgil Blue 1 year ago

"Stealth systems engaged. 90% complete."

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#17 Woodpecker In Car Mirror By Kelvin Dao. Honourable Mention In Birds In The Garden Category

Woodpecker In Car Mirror By Kelvin Dao. Honourable Mention In Birds In The Garden Category

Kelvin Dao / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Varsha Chrislin 1 year ago

How do I look now!!

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#18 Pink Flamingo Feeding Their Young By Alejandro Prieto Rojas, Mexico. Gold Award And Bird Photographer Of The Year 2017 Winner In The Best Portrait Category

Pink Flamingo Feeding Their Young By Alejandro Prieto Rojas, Mexico. Gold Award And Bird Photographer Of The Year 2017 Winner In The Best Portrait Category

Alejandro Prieto Rojas / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

GG 1 year ago

Flamingos are pink because of their diet (shrimp, red algae, etc.) which contains a lot of carotenoids. Without carotenoids they would be all white. In order to keep zoo flamingos in the pink, zookeepers mix carotenoids into their food.

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#19 Great Snipe Silhouette By Torsten Green-Petersen. Honourable Mention In Bird Behaviour Category

Great Snipe Silhouette By Torsten Green-Petersen. Honourable Mention In Bird Behaviour Category

Torsten Green-Petersen / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

#20 Wide-angle Kite, Red Kite By Jamie Hall, United Kingdom. Birds In Flight Category

Wide-angle Kite, Red Kite By Jamie Hall, United Kingdom. Birds In Flight Category

Jamie Hall / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

mocochang 1 year ago

The lght reflection on the feathers is beautiful

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#21 A Perfect Landing, Australian Pelican By Bret Charman, Australia. Gold Award Winner In Birds In Flight Category

A Perfect Landing, Australian Pelican By Bret Charman, Australia. Gold Award Winner In Birds In Flight Category

Bret Charman / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Asia 1 year ago

I'll bet the ladies love him for his style :D

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#22 Blackbird Taking Berries By Roy Rimmer. Honourable Mention In Birds In The Garden Category

Blackbird Taking Berries By Roy Rimmer. Honourable Mention In Birds In The Garden Category

Roy Rimmer / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Sue Bright 1 year ago

Such grace.

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#23 Breakfast, Great Egret By Cheryl Schneider, Usa. Attention To Detail Category

Breakfast, Great Egret By Cheryl Schneider, Usa. Attention To Detail Category

Cheryl Schneider / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Neeraj Jha 1 year ago

At first, it looked like Human teeth

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#24 Seagulls And Fox By Gabor Kapus. Honourable Mention In Birds In Flight Category

Seagulls And Fox By Gabor Kapus. Honourable Mention In Birds In Flight Category

Gabor Kapus / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Daria B 1 year ago

The Birds by Hitchcock.

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#25 Swimming Eider By Pål Hermansen. Bronze In Best Portrait Category

Swimming Eider By Pål Hermansen. Bronze In Best Portrait Category

Pål Hermansen / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Corinne Wiedemann 1 year ago

When you realize that duck have fluffy cheeks <3

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#26 Guillemot Stretching Wing By Marc Weber. Silver In Best Portrait Category

Guillemot Stretching Wing By Marc Weber. Silver In Best Portrait Category

Marc Weber / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

The Cappy 1 year ago

Over yonder.

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#27 All In Yellow, Blue-headed Wagtail By Robert Szafranek, Poland. Birds In The Environment Category

All In Yellow, Blue-headed Wagtail By Robert Szafranek, Poland. Birds In The Environment Category

Robert Szafranek / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Varsha Chrislin 1 year ago

All draped in Yellow :)

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#28 Camouflage By Daniel Stenberg, Sweden. Honourable Mention In Birds In The Environment Category

Camouflage By Daniel Stenberg, Sweden. Honourable Mention In Birds In The Environment Category

Daniel Stenberg / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Snow Cat 1 year ago

If you stare at it long enough a picture will appear

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#29 Swallow Chicks In Nest By Joseph Anthony. Honourable Mention In Creative Imagery Category

Swallow Chicks In Nest By Joseph Anthony. Honourable Mention In Creative Imagery Category

Joseph Anthony / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Neeraj Jha 1 year ago

they are singing Opera

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#30 Pelican Portrait By Anna-mart Kruger, Namibia. Best Portrait Category

Pelican Portrait By Anna-mart Kruger, Namibia. Best Portrait Category

Anna-mart Kruger / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

stella 1 year ago

it's sporting the Platinum hair trend I see😮😮😮😮

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#31 Male King Eider By Staffan Widstrand. Honourable Mention In Best Portrait Category

Male King Eider By Staffan Widstrand. Honourable Mention In Best Portrait Category

Staffan Widstrand / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Virgil Blue 1 year ago

*snirf* "I gots a cold"

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#32 Bravery, Pied Crow And White-backed Vulture By Bence Máté, Hungary. Bird Behaviour Category

Bravery, Pied Crow And White-backed Vulture By Bence Máté, Hungary. Bird Behaviour Category

Bence Máté / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Jan Jurceka 1 year ago

Hey! You got shinies!?

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#33 Starling In Bird Bath Underexposed By Mohammad Murad. Silver In Birds In The Garden Category

Starling In Bird Bath Underexposed By Mohammad Murad. Silver In Birds In The Garden Category

Mohammad Murad / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Full Name 1 year ago

Love it. Outside the box. Bravo.

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#34 Crane Flock Misty Lake By Piotr Chara. Silver In Birds In The Environment Category

Crane Flock Misty Lake By Piotr Chara. Silver In Birds In The Environment Category

Piotr Chara / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Audiva Walsh 1 year ago

That is beautiful.

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#35 Andean Condor In Flight Over Mountain Peaks By Ben Hall, Uk. Gold Award Winner In The Birds In The Environment Category

Andean Condor In Flight Over Mountain Peaks By Ben Hall, Uk. Gold Award Winner In The Birds In The Environment Category

Ben Hall / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Neeraj Jha 1 year ago

Those mountains look like GoT Wall

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#36 Wing Formation By Tom Hines, Uk. Gold Award Winner In The Attention To Detail Category

Wing Formation By Tom Hines, Uk. Gold Award Winner In The Attention To Detail Category

Tom Hines / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Rhea King 1 year ago

Such beautiful detail!

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#37 Little Grebe Taking Off By Faisal Alnomas. Honourable Mention In Bird Behaviour Category

Little Grebe Taking Off By Faisal Alnomas. Honourable Mention In Bird Behaviour Category

Faisal Alnomas / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Full Name 1 year ago

Jesus bird?

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#38 Diving Kingfisher By Malek Alhazzaa. Silver In Bird Behaviour Category

Diving Kingfisher By Malek Alhazzaa. Silver In Bird Behaviour Category

Malek Alhazzaa / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Blind Oracle 1 year ago

Nice of the fish to cooperate and all

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#39 Condor Light Rays By John Sherman. Bhonourable Mention In The Environment Category

Condor Light Rays By John Sherman. Bhonourable Mention In The Environment Category

John Sherman / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

stella 1 year ago

It looks as if the group kicked of their mate from the top...?😕

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#40 David Versus Goliath By Bruno De Lorenzo, Hungary. Bird Behaviour Category

David Versus Goliath By Bruno De Lorenzo, Hungary. Bird Behaviour Category

Bruno de Lorenzo / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Pat Simpson 1 year ago

Hello there.

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#41 Whooper Swans In Snow By Wim Van Den Heever. Bronze In Creative Imagery Category

Whooper Swans In Snow By Wim Van Den Heever. Bronze In Creative Imagery Category

Wim van den Heever / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Virgil Blue 1 year ago

"It's full of swans!"

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#42 Stork Feet By Magdaléna Straková. Honourable Mention In Attention To Detail Category

Stork Feet By Magdaléna Straková. Honourable Mention In Attention To Detail Category

Magdaléna Straková / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Jan Jurceka 1 year ago

Why does this looks like a horror movies poster? Where the main protagonists are frogs.

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#43 Orhard Nuthatch By Charles Tyler, United Kingdom. Birds In The Garden Category

Orhard Nuthatch By Charles Tyler, United Kingdom. Birds In The Garden Category

Charles Tyler / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Arlene engel 1 year ago

I like the colors here also

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#44 Barn Owl Hunting By House By Jamie Hall, Suffolk, England. Gold Award Winner In The Birds In The Garden Category

Barn Owl Hunting By House By Jamie Hall, Suffolk, England. Gold Award Winner In The Birds In The Garden Category

Jamie Hall / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Emily Ellis 1 year ago

so cool

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#45 Blurred Bird Flock By Marc Weber. Bronze In Birds In The Environment Category

Blurred Bird Flock By Marc Weber. Bronze In Birds In The Environment Category

Marc Weber / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Kevin Perry 1 year ago

Flying birds blurred yet the perched birds are in focus.

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#46 Swan's Head Underwater By Ian Wade. Bronze In Bird Behaviour Category

Swan's Head Underwater By Ian Wade. Bronze In Bird Behaviour Category

Ian Wade / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Full Name 1 year ago

"Hey Larry, you're supposed to use your feet to move around, not your face, dummy."

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#47 Ptarmigan By Markus Varesvuo. Bronze In Birds In Flight Category

Ptarmigan By Markus Varesvuo. Bronze In Birds In Flight Category

Markus Varesvuo / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Corinne Wiedemann 1 year ago

Beautiful bird!

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#48 Coots Fighting By Andrew Parkinson, Derbyshire, Uk. Gold Award Winner In The Bird Behaviour Category

Coots Fighting By Andrew Parkinson, Derbyshire, Uk. Gold Award Winner In The Bird Behaviour Category

Andrew Parkinson / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Blind Oracle 1 year ago

WHO IS SHE?!?

#49 Willow Grouse By Markus Varesvuo, Helsinki, Finland. Winner Of Best Portfolio 2017 Category

Willow Grouse By Markus Varesvuo, Helsinki, Finland. Winner Of Best Portfolio 2017 Category

Markus Varesvuo / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Wyndmere 1 year ago

It looks like a comfy patchwork quilt.

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#50 Willow Grouse In The Garden By Markus Varesvuo. Honourable Mention In Birds In The Garden Category

Willow Grouse In The Garden By Markus Varesvuo. Honourable Mention In Birds In The Garden Category

Markus Varesvuo / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

#51 Gannet Underwater By Markus Varesvuo, Helsinki, Finland. Winner Of Best Portfolio 2017 Category

Gannet Underwater By Markus Varesvuo, Helsinki, Finland. Winner Of Best Portfolio 2017 Category

Markus Varesvuo / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Barbara 1 year ago

awesome that he got this photo of the bird under water!!

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#52 Leaping Heron By Georgina Steytler. Honourable Mention In Birds In Flight Category

Leaping Heron By Georgina Steytler. Honourable Mention In Birds In Flight Category

Georgina Steytler / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Wyndmere 1 year ago

The vegetation is so stark.

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#53 Calling For The Sun By Ondrej Pelanek, Czech Republic. Gold Award Winner In Young Bird Photographer Of The Year Category

Calling For The Sun By Ondrej Pelanek, Czech Republic. Gold Award Winner In Young Bird Photographer Of The Year Category

Ondrej Pelanek / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Blind Oracle 1 year ago

great pic. wonder how old the photog is?

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#54 Male And Female Mallard By Francesco De Giuseppe. Silver In Creative Imagery Category

Male And Female Mallard By Francesco De Giuseppe. Silver In Creative Imagery Category

Francesco De Giuseppe / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Wendy J Shores 1 year ago

"I've always been a leg man... er duck..."

#55 Willow Grouse In Storm By Markus Varesvuo, Helsinki, Finland. Winner Of Best Portfolio 2017 Category

Willow Grouse In Storm By Markus Varesvuo, Helsinki, Finland. Winner Of Best Portfolio 2017 Category

Markus Varesvuo / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards Report

Kay Haas 1 year ago

STUNING

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