The Bird Photographer of the Year 2021 competition has announced its winners, with a roadrunner stopped in its tracks at the United States-Mexico border wall taking the grand prize.
The Bird Photographer of the Year is a global photographic competition designed to celebrate avian beauty and diversity. The entrants compete for a £5,000 (about $6,895) grand prize as well as other prizes including camera equipment from Olympus and binoculars from Swarovski Optik. The competition is open to residents of any territory and to entrants of all ages. There are eight categories to enter and the competition is open to people who wish to submit anything from a single image to an extensive portfolio.
This year, Mexican photographer Alejandro Prieto took first place in the competition for his image of a roadrunner at the USA-Mexico border. It was named the winner of both the “Birds in the Environment” category as well as named the grand prize winner.
The 3,000km-long US–Mexico border traverses and straddles some of the continent’s most biologically diverse regions. It is home to uniquely adapted mammals, reptiles, birds and plants, some of which are found nowhere else on the planet. Numerous species will be affected if the US government decides to build a wall along the border with Mexico. Border infrastructure not only physically blocks the movement of wildlife but it also destroys and fragments habitats. Many desert animals are, to a degree, nomadic wanderers and a wall would sever habitat connectivity and prevent them moving freely from one place to another. In this photograph, a Greater Roadrunner approaches the border wall at Naco, Arizona, with what almost looks like a sense of bewilderment.
“The border wall crosses deserts, mountains, and even mangroves. It is not just desert, and is in fact very biodiverse with more than 1,500 animal and plants species threatened by the wall,” Prieto says. “I have watched many different animals reach the wall before turning around and heading back.”
“The border wall poses a real threat to biodiversity in the area through habitat fragmentation,” the Bird Photographer of the Year competition says. “It physically blocks crucial migration routes for animals such as the long horn sheep, pronghorn, black bear, bison, and even jaguar.”
The photo was chosen as a winner because it is not a typical bird photo but because it tells a strong story.
“The roadrunner appears so vulnerable facing up to the huge border wall that dominates the frame,” the organization continues.
Below are the other winners as chosen by the judges of the competition
Birds in the Environment
Attention to Detail
Birds in Flight
Black and White
To see all these and other images that were recognized by the competition, visit birdpoty.com.