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

#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

#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

#4 2017 Bird Photographer Of The Year Cover

2017 Bird Photographer Of The Year Cover

2017 Bird Photographer Of The Year Cover

#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

#6 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

#7 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

#8 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

#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

#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

#11 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


Markus Varesvuo / 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year Awards

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