Michael Milicia was eager to check out the southern rockhopper penguins during his trip to the Falkland Islands. Lucky for him, they were equally as curious when he showed up on their seaside digs.
Milicia was exploring the "Neck" on Saunders Island, a cliff-lined isthmus that hosts many species of penguins and breeding birds, when he came upon this colony of rockhoppers. The birds weren't shy; the lack of predators on the island allows them to live a very tranquil lifestyle. To get this cozy shot, all Milicia had to do was keep still.
When taking photos of birds, Milicia always focuses on capturing a dynamic pose. He also aims for a backdrop that will convey a sense of habitat without being overly distracting. Ultimately, he wants all the elements of his photograph to come together and spin a story about the bird's natural history. Sometimes that natural history translates to science. Other times it tells the story of what could be the nosiest species on earth.
This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2013 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here.