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Dramatic shot of a falcon striking a pelican wins Bird Photographer of the Year top prize

Photographer Jack Zhi’s dramatic image of a female peregrine falcon striking a brown pelican mid-flight beat over 23,000 other entries to win the Bird Photographer of the Year 2023 gold award.

“For four years, I attempted to capture the rare sight of the female falcon attacking large brown pelicans with incredible speed and agility,” Zhi said in a statement Tuesday. “I love the eyes of the pelican in this image, surprised and scared. The action was fast, and over in the blink of an eye. But I’ll remember that moment forever.”

Photographers competed in a number of different categories in the prestigious Bird Photographer of the Year awards — a global competition described as a celebration of avian beauty and diversity.

German teenager Anton Trexler picked up the Young Bird Photographer of the Year award for his image entitled “Blue Hour and Red Moon,” which shows the silhouette of a black bird against an illuminated moon.

Below is a selection of other images that won gold, silver or bronze in various categories from the contest:

The above image of a blue-footed booby rising with a sardine in its mouth was taken by photographer Henley Spiers. It won silver in the “behavior” catetory.

“In early autumn, a sardine shoal at Los Islotes attracted seabird predators,” Spurs said. “Amid the shoal, I waited patiently for the elusive shot of a blue-footed booby rising with a sardine in its beak. Finally, a crash came down close to me, and I instinctively captured the moment.”

Nicolas Reusens won gold in the “portrait” category with his image of a rare green tanager, which he captured while wandering in a tropical forest.

“After hours of waiting, I saw the vivid-green bird on a perfect heart-shaped leaf. Its shimmering feathers reflected a dazzling array of colors,” Reusens said, describing his photograph.

This image of a sword-billed hummingbird, taken in Bogota, Colombia, was captured by photographer Rafael Armada.

The bird has the world’s longest beak proportionate to its size and Armada described the image as capturing the bird “approaching a feeder, with natural backgrounds and lighting.”

Three emperor penguins stand on a frozen mountain in Adélie Land, Antarctica in Clément Cornec’s photograph which won silver in the the “birds in their environment” category of the Bird Photographer of the Year 2023 awards.

Emperor Penguins endure temperatures as low as -40 degrees during the long polar nights, when blizzards can whip up winds to 155mph.

You can click here to see all the award winners from this year’s Bird Photographer of the Year awards.

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