The 2021 Audubon Photography Awards: Top 100

Scroll through these superb images that feature birds in all their varied glory, and find out the backstory behind each shot.

This year more than 2,000 photographers from across the United States and Canada submitted images to Audubon magazine's 12th annual Audubon Photography Awards, and our panel of expert judges whittled down the entries to eight stunning winners and five honorable mentions. With more than 9,000 photographs entered in the contest, there was an abundance of exceptional avian images from which we selected 100 additional shots to share.

Displayed in no particular order, these photos feature birdlife at its most vivid, vulnerable, formidable, and playful. There are intimate portraits that reveal exquisite details, action shots that capture powerful raptors on the hunt, and arresting images that celebrate a wide array of bird behavior. So settle in and prepare to be enchanted with the beauty and variety of birdlife and impressed by the resourcefulness of bird photographers.

And if you’re inspired to pick up a camera and pursue avian subjects of your own, our photography section has everything you need to get started, including tips and how-to'sAudubon's ethical guidelines for wildlife photography, and gear recommendations. Next year, it could be your shot that makes the cut. 

1. Black-necked Stilts by Jack Zhi

2. Baltimore Oriole by Sharon Dobben

3. Red-headed Woodpecker by Vance Solseth

4. Green Heron by Ilai Porat

5. American Woodcock by Alexander Eisengart

6. Allen's Hummingbird by Eric J. Smith

7. Northern Mockingbird by Katrina Baker

8. Brown Booby by Lawrence Worcester

9. Harlequin Ducks by Matthew Reitinger

10. Sandhill Crane by Xianwei Zeng

11. Great Egrets by Xianwei Zeng

12. White Ibis by Kelley Luikey

13. Trumpeter Swans by Lisa Sproat

14. Lappet-faced Vulture by Staci Winston

15. Western Sandpiper by Rick Evans

16. Red-winged Blackbird by Walter Potrebka

17. White-breasted Nuthatch by Ashrith Kandula

18. Golden-fronted Woodpecker by Danny Hancock

19. Sharp-tailed Grouse by David Slikkers

20. Sanderlings by Nadia Haq

21. Rhinoceros Auklets by Rhys Logan

22. California Quail by Ti Yung Hwa

23. Buff-breasted Sandpiper by Evan Reister

24. Virginia Rail by Joshua Galicki

25. Sandhill Crane by Megan Bonham

26. Great Blue Heron by Chris Schlaf

27. Atlantic Puffin by Sunil Gopalan

28. Wilson’s Snipe by Shirley Donald

29. Hairy Woodpecker by David Leonard

30. Belted Kingfisher by Josiah Launstein

31. Giant Hummingbird by Jessica Suarez

32. Mountain Bluebird by Eric Peterson

33. Roseate Spoonbill by Scott Suriano

34. Steller’s Sea-Eagle by Isabel Guerra Clark

35. Great Egret by Tim Timmis

36. Wood Duck by Steve Hinch

37. Common Loon by Sue Dougherty

38. Great Gray Owl by Scott Suriano

39. Red-headed Woodpecker by Leonard Kendall

40. Snow Geese and Ross's Geese by Linda Muth

41. Wood Storks by Cheryl Black

42. Black-browed Albatross by Nadia Haq

43. Rock Pigeon by Andrew Garn

44. Ring-billed Gull by Aranya Karighattam

45. Red-winged Blackbirds and a Yellow-headed Blackbird by Marti Phillips

46. Song Sparrow by Lauren Pretorius

47. Barred Owls by Bogdan Alexandrescu

48. Bald Eagles by Jerry amEnde

49. Sandhill Cranes by Megan Bonham

50. Adélie Penguins by Benjamin Salesse

51. Ring-necked Pheasants by Maria Khvan

52. Wild Turkey by Zachary Gleiter

53. Great Horned Owl by Carl Walsh

54. Red-winged Blackbird by Michael Schulte

55. Great Blue Herons by Rhys Logan

56. Violet-green Swallow by Steve Hinch

57. Magnolia Warbler by Mark Paul

58. Great Blue Heron by Vicki Jauron

59. Great Egrets and Roseate Spoonbills by Lorraine Minns

60. Wood Ducks by Kevin Sim

61. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron by Ashrith Kandula

62. Double-crested Cormorants by Blake Bryant

63. Carib Grackle by Lawrence Worcester

64. Double-crested Cormorant by Ronan Nicholson

65. Black Skimmers by Douglas DeFelice

66. Reddish Egret by Tim Timmis

67. Surf Scoters by Eric Schertler

68. Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Lauren Pretorius

69. Red-bellied Woodpecker by Tom Warren

70. Lesser Yellowlegs by Tim Timmis

71. Ring-billed Gulls by Siu Lau

72. Snowy Owl by Ryan Leimbach

73. Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese by Marti Phillips

74. Pine Siskin by Christopher Baker

75. Snow Buntings by Kazuto Shibata

76. Great Horned Owl by Mark Schocken

77. Black-crowned Night-Heron by Gary Robinette

78. Rough-legged Hawk by Gordon Hatusupy

79. Western Gull by Gail Jackson

80. Anhinga by Eric Schertler

81. Purple Gallinule by Corey Raffel

82. American Avocets by Tim Timmis

83. Great Blue Heron by Howard Arndt

84. Great Horned Owls by Kelley Luikey

85. American Goldfinch by Jules Jacobs

86. Snow Geese by Adit Nehra

87. Northern Mockingbird by Ashrith Kandula

88. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher by Alex Becker

89. Southern Giant Petrel by Marissa Goerke

90. Downy Woodpecker by Adrienne Elliot

91. California Quail by Carol Dula

92. Kori Bustard by Aaron Baggenstos

93. American Coot by Ronan Nicholson

94. Mallards by Marti Phillips

95. Barn Owl by Kai Kaplinksky

96. Sandhill Crane by William Farnsworth

97. House Finches by Stevan Hubbard

98. Belted Kingfisher by Harry Collins

99. Resplendent Quetzal by Aaron Baggenstos

100. Greater Sage-Grouse by Grey Barbier