Image of falcon striking pelican captivates judges to win Bird Photographer of the Year competition

More than 23,000 images of birds were submitted, but only one photo was selected as the shot worthy of the Bird Photographer of the Year title for 2023.

The stunning image taken in California of a female peregrine falcon attacking a brown pelican titled “Grab the Bull by the Horns” by photographer Jack Zhi was named the overall winner in the annual competition. It also won the gold award in the bird behaviour category.

“For four years, I attempted to capture the rare sight of the female falcon attacking large brown pelicans with incredible speed and agility,” the United States-based photographer in a statement when the awards were announced this month. “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.”

Falcon versus pelican was the winner of the Bird Photographer of the Year competition. Photo: Jack Zhi

A 17-year-old photographer from Germany won the Young Bird Photographer of the Year competition.

Anton Trexler’s frame of black bird against an illuminated moon shows a powerful silhouette.

It was titled “Blue Hour and Red Moon.”

Young Bird Photographer of the Year winner strikes a memorable profile. Photo: Anton Trexler

Rachel Bigsby from the United Kingdom won the Best Portfolio award.

“Bigsby’s’ photographs demonstrate an incredible ability to capture the beauty, resilience, and fragility of the lives of birds who are at home in the air, on land, and at sea!” judges said.

The global competition is open to photographers of all ages and ends with the publishing of a hardcover book featuring nearly 300 of the best images.

“Celebrating bird life from around the world, these images comprise some of the most incredible bird photos in the world taken by talented photographers, whilst also raising vital funds for our partner charity Birds on the Brink,” organizers explained.

Click here to see all the winners from the 2023 Bird Photographer of the Year awards.

The 2024 competition is now open.

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