Presenting the exquisite award-winning photographs from the Audubon Photography Awards 2023. Celebrating its 14th year, this prestigious competition shines a spotlight on the talents of professionals, amateurs, and young photographers who capture the captivating world of birds. The 2023 winners, chosen from a pool of 2,200 entrants spanning all 50 U.S. states and eight Canadian provinces, have been unveiled.
In a triumphant victory, wildlife photographer Liron Gertsman emerged as the grand prize winner. Hailing from Canada, Gertsman, a biology graduate who leads photography tours across his homeland, secured this honor with his poignant portrayal of two rock pigeons. At just 23 years old, Gertsman has already established himself as a rising star in the field. Following his Professional category win in the 2022 competition, he ascended to claim the $5,000 cash prize.
Amateur photographer Karen Blackwood distinguished herself with her mesmerizing photograph of a chinstrap penguin. Her image, capturing the penguin’s daring plunge from an iceberg into the crisp waters of Cierva Cove in Antarctica, earned her top honors in the Amateur category.
Kieran Barlow, winner of the Youth category, found inspiration close to home for his award-winning photograph. The 18-year-old photographer, hailing from Massachusetts, captured the delightful scene of a sandpiper frolicking along the water’s edge on the New Jersey coastline.
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#1 Grand Prize Winner: Rock Pigeon By Liron Gertsman
“Two pigeons face left in profile, each with one orange eye in view against a black background. One bird is preening the other, its bill buried in gray, green, and purple iridescent feathers.”
#2 Professional Award Winner: Atlantic Puffin By Shane Kalyn
“An Atlantic Puffin sits on the edge of a craggy cliffside, its head turned to the left, its white breast in sharp contrast to the gray background. Lime green algae and small purple wildflowers drape the cliff, breaking up the otherwise dark image.”
#3 Female Bird Prize: Baltimore Oriole By Sandra M. Rothenberg
“A bright yellow female Baltimore Oriole with thin light strands of grass held in her bill perches at the end of a branch and faces to the right in the frame. The strands billow around her, slightly out of focus, in front of a blurred green background.”
#4 Amateur Award Winner: Chinstrap Penguin By Karen Blackwood
“A Chinstrap Penguin, wings outstretched, dives from an iceberg. Head down, its bill is nearly touching the water’s surface. In the background, a white and blue iceberg is capped with fresh white snow. Deeply etched lines on the iceberg’s sides appear like hashtags behind the black bird.”
#5 Plants for Birds Award Winner: Verdin By Linda Scher
“A gray Verdin with a yellow head and a small rust-colored patch on its wing stands in profile on a broken cacti branch that’s white, brown, and green. The bird carries a pale green caterpillar in its bill.”
#6 Youth Award Winner: Dunlin By Kieran Barlow
“A sandpiper in profile appears to have jumped from the rocks to avoid an incoming wave. The bird’s wings are behind its body, its feet just above the rock in front of a background of water droplets from the surf.”
#7 Fisher Prize: Brown Pelican By Sunil Gopalan
“A Brown Pelican at the top of the frame sits in the water, its wings pulled behind its body. In the dark water below is the crescent silhouette of a shark, its snout nearly touching the pelican.”
#8 Youth Honorable Mention: Green-winged Teals By James Fatemi
“A male Green-winged Teal sits on top of a female in the water, his bill appearing to push the female’s head down. His brown and green head stands out against an otherwise gray background with blurred snowflakes around the frame.”
#9 Professional Honorable Mention: Northern Hawk Owl By Liron Gertsman
“A Northern Hawk Owl looks directly into the camera as it perches at the tip of a frost-covered tree. Dark pine cones on the bare branches stand out against a white background, mirroring the pattern of the owl’s dark breast feathers.”
#10 Plants for Birds Honorable Mention: Tree Swallow By Vicki Santello
“Thousands of Tree Swallows sit on two cypress snags in a swamp, looking like leaves. One tree is larger in the foreground and the other is smaller in the background. More birds fly around the trees, their dark forms in contrast to the purple and blue sky.”
#11 Amateur Honorable Mention: Reddish Egret By Nathan Arnold
“A Reddish Egret stands in shallow water against a blurred yellow background, its body facing left and its wings open behind it. A small fish and water droplets are suspended in the air in front of the bird’s open bill.”