Meet The Winners: BirdLife Australia Photography Awards Has Announced The Best Shots Of Australian Birds (71 Pics)

BirdLife Australia Photography Awards announced the winning and shortlisted photos of its 2022 contest! With more than 5,600 images submitted by photographers from all over the world, the competition celebrated the life of birds and raised funds to support bird conservation programs.

Scroll down to see the best shots of 2022 in the categories “Bird Portrait”, “Special Theme (Australasian Robins)”, “Bird Behaviour”, “Birds in the Landscape”, “Birds in flight”, “Birds in backyards”, “Human Impact” and “Youth”. 

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“I was lucky to capture this special moment. This Red Wattlebird was drinking and splashing water. It was the optical illusion that the brightest and largest bokeh superimposed the bird’s open mouth. I positioned myself about 15 meters away facing a darker background. This helped the camera to focus and track the bird. Although wattlebirds are very commonly found in the city parks, I have tried to capture a beautiful moment from a different perspective.”

Red Wattlebird, Newport, Vic

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The competition is open to people of any nationality. However, photographers may only submit photos of Australian bird species and they must have been taken in Australia or its offshore territories.

Bird Behaviour: "Hanging For Breakfast" By Joel Evans (Shortlist)

“Sometimes you come across a subject that is so focused on what they are doing, they don’t really care if you are close to them. This was the case with this little Double-barred Finch which was on a mission to get to as many seeds as it could. As I lay a few meters away, it started to pull down a large grass seed head, which I captured here, then it held it down with its little foot and started eating the seeds. It was a moment I was happy to witness and showed how many characters these little birds possess.”

Double-Barred Finch, Manly, Brisbane, Qld

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Birds In Flight: "White-Faced Storm Petrel" By John Harrison (Winner)

“Storm petrels regularly exhibit this water-skiing behavior whilst searching for food on the water’s surface, but I have never seen such a perfectly timed photo of the moment of impact.”
 
White-faced Storm Petrel, Near Eaglehawk Neck, Tas

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Among the winners are “Leaning In” by Rebecca Harrison, “Feed Me Please” by Cheng Kang, “Hokey Pokey” by Danny Lee, “White-faced Storm Petrel” by John Harrison, “The sentinel” by Maria Coleman, “Over the Rainbow” by Nathan Watson, “Yellow” by Glenn Faithfull and “Morning Serenity” by Desmond Wang.

Birds In The Landscape: "Emu Mist" By Christian Spencer (Shortlist)

“While walking through the spectacular sand dunes in the Eyre Peninsula a thick mist descended turning the light into a sepia color. A small group of Emus emerged. I waited for them to pass behind the twisted and half-buried trees and managed to capture this unique photograph.”

Emu, Coffin Bay, SA

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Birds In Flight: "Wedge-Tailed Eagle" By Michelle Gardner (Shortlist)

“I drive my husband nuts when traveling as he is forced to stop at EVERY Wedge-tailed Eagle spied on, usually for no reward. This one was on the roadside feasting on some roadkill. As we approached, I could see the bird was preparing to take off. I quickly got out of the car and got down low just in time to capture him taking flight. I cropped the photo closely to focus on the wings as I love the way their fingers curl up in flight.”

Wedge-tailed Eagle, Hawker, SA

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Birds In Flight: "Morning Dance" By Lawrence Chan (Shortlist)

“Grey Fantails are common birds in our city parks. Through the light, actions, and back-lit wingspan, I have tried to express the beauty of this common bird. I was able to choose a darker background to highlight the wings and the beautiful dance. It was a great challenge for me to capture the fast movement.”

Grey Fantail, Port Melbourne, Vic

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Birds In Flight: "Nankeen Kestrel Golden Hour Flight" By Martin Anderson (Shortlist)

“I got up extra early and left for the coast at 4:30 am to ensure I arrived before sunrise, as I was hoping to get some interesting shots in the golden hour. On arrival, I checked a few known perching spots in hope that one of the local raptors was utilizing one. This beautiful Nankeen Kestrel was perched on the jagged cliffs. As the sun came up it illuminated the bird and its perch but didn’t carry through to the cliffs behind the bird, creating a golden glow on the subject against the dark background. I watched and photographed the bird as it warmed in the first light, paying close attention to the bird’s behavior. When it showed signs it was about to take off I held down the shutter and captured the Kestrel dropping into a dive from its perch. Thankfully the bird was still illuminated by the golden light through the entire sequence.”

Nankeen Kestrel, Long Reef Headlands, NSW

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Special Theme: Australasian Robins: "Pink Robin" By Ravi Arora (Shortlist)

“I had this image in mind way before I actually took it, I always imagined how this pretty bird would look on a flower and what would catch the eye: the flower or this bird, and hands down it is always the bird. I knew this bird’s spot, and I knew that if I waited patiently nearby it would eventually come down. This took almost around 6 months for this to happen and I was lucky I had almost the perfect flower in place when God smiled upon me.”

Pink Robin, Otways, Vic

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Bird Portrait: "Hokey Pokey" By Danny Lee (Winner)

“Shy Albatross are regular visitors to boats in Tasmania. They are often intrigued when I slip into the water with them, and they can get quite confident in approaching to see if my camera gear is edible or not. The conditions were perfect this day, and usually just having an Albatross so close is usually enough, but the ominous sky certainly added more drama to the shot. I never take for granted the opportunities I get to photograph these amazing sea birds, especially knowing how vulnerable Albatrosses are to some of today’s fishing practices. I love to try and show off as many of these Birds as possible by using the split shot technique. I choose to shoot with a small Canon compact camera. After a lot of years of practice and a lot of patience, I find its small size is often perfect for me, especially when the sea is calm.”

Shy Albatross, Port Sorell, Bass Strait, Tas

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Youth: "Pair Of Bee-Eaters With Prey" By Finn Cupper (Shortlist)

“In November 2021, west of Mildura, this pair of Rainbow Bee-eaters both landed on their favorite perch with insects they had caught.”

Rainbow Bee-eater, West of Mildura, Vic

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Bird Portrait: "Superb Soloist" By Ian Wilson (Shortlist)

“When this fellow began to display on his mound, I slithered closer to a ‘window’ in the vegetation for a close encounter. I opened up the aperture to f/2.8 to create an intimate, eye-level view much like a visiting female would experience. He is shown giving a virtuoso performance less than 2 m from the camera.”

Superb Lyrebird, Dandenong Ranges National Park, Vic

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Backyard Birds: "Rainy Day Blues" By Jane Mcmenamin (Shortlist)

“It was raining heavily and this Brush Turkey stood on our back fence with the rain dripping off it, looking miserable! Every now and then it would give a vigorous shake with feathers and water droplets going in all directions. The light was low and to keep the shutter speed up I had to work with a high ISO, causing noise which I reduced in post.”

Australian Brush-turkey, Brisbane, Qld

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Backyard Birds: "Daylight Robbery" By Warren Wilson (Shortlist)

“Each afternoon this Bowerbird watches in anticipation as I feed my dog in the backyard. It skulks around until it sees an opportunity to rush in and steals a kibble or two from the bowl before my elderly dog can respond to this classic case of daylight robbery.”

Satin Bowerbird, Woollamia, NSW

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Backyard Birds: "Good To Be Alive!" By Patrick Kavanagh (Shortlist)

“Our backyard birdbath attracts many species of woodland birds, but Thornbills rule the roost. And they seem to get so much more soaked than other birds. Their voluble chatter as they splash around may well have other meanings, but it sounds to me like a true expression of delight. No matter how many times I see them or how many photos I have of them when I hear their calls I just have to go and watch them.”

Buff-rumped Thornbill, Strangways, Vic

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Youth: "Romeo & Juliet" By Ellis Cummins (Shortlist)

“I was able to take this shot when a flock of Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos decided to tear apart my neighbor’s sunflower garden. They would grab large chunks of the sunflower and then perch on the electric wire which luckily was level with the balcony I was watching them from. It was here I was able to catch a close-up shot of these 2 cockatoos seemingly sharing a piece of the flower.”

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Shellharbour, NSW

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Birds In The Landscape: "The Sentinel" By Maria Coleman (Winner)

“The birds were hunting in the water and moving through the fog and dead trees which created a very moody scene. It was a very cold and foggy morning and I lay down on the edge of the lake watching the birds move effortlessly through the water. I noticed this lonely Pelican high up in the tree keeping an eye on those that drifted past and it reminded me of a sentinel patrolling the wetland.”

Australian Pelican and Pacific Black Ducks, Riverian, NSW

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Backyard Birds: "Leaning In" By Rebecca Harrison (Winner)

“The Aussie in me calls Galahs ‘Pinks’; they are always a wonderful sight to see ambling along median strips nibbling on flowers, or screeching at each other over the best position on tree branches. This clever female Galah had worked out how to get to the tasty grass seeds by climbing up the side fence and leaning out as far as she could to grab them swaying in the breeze.”

Galah, Coogee, WA

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Bird Portrait: "Kookaburra" By Gd Smith (Shortlist)

“While setting up camp late afternoon on North Stradbroke Island, this Kookaburra emerged out of the darkness and landed on my car. As it seemed to be quite comfortable with being around people, it allowed me to get fairly close to take this portrait.”

Laughing Kookaburra, North Stradbroke Island, Qld

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Bird Portrait: "Spinifex Pigeon" By Josh Watson (Shortlist)

“Ormiston Gorge is situated in the ancient landscape of Tjoritja / West Macdonnell Ranges, which boasts spectacular rock formations, native fauna and flora. On the 8.5km walk around Ormiston Pound which meanders through the scenic gorge and large flat expanses I came across a few Spinifex Pigeons. Most were unwilling to hang around for a photo, but this one gave me enough time to crouch down and fire off a few shots. The distinctive plumage of the Spinifex Pigeon and the stunning crest makes it a perfect match for these arid landscapes. It easily blends in amongst the rocks and spinifex of central Australia. This particular shot appeals to me because the background colors perfectly reflect the colors of the Spinifex Pigeon.”

Spinifex Pigeon, Alice Springs, NT

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Human Impact: "Last Supper" By Devon Bull (Shortlist)

“Here we see a Wedge-tailed Eagle cleaning up a kangaroo carcass which is one of around 10 million animals hit on our roads each year, according to the University of Melbourne researchers. A Wedge-tailed Eagle can eat up to 400g of meat per day and this one was determined that nothing was going to prevent it from the “last supper” that this unlucky kangaroo had provided. For me, this image not only displays the sheer power and determination of the Wedge-tailed Eagle but also their important role in assisting in the breakdown and removal of roadkill which can potentially lead to the spread of diseases.”

Wedge-tailed Eagle, Between Birdsville & Mt Isa, Qld

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Human Impact: "Take Offence" By Simon Cherriman (Shortlist)

“Wire fences gridlock the Australian landscape and impact wildlife species on a scale I believe has not yet been properly documented or publicized. They constrain the natural movements of terrestrial species, or, when these animals try to hop or jump over them, often see creatures caught, hung up with their limbs broken and a slow, painful death. Barbed varieties of such fences present an extra hazard to those species that might have the ability to fly over them, but not to see the dangerous mesh in a rural jungle of trees and shrubs. I fought back tears as I wrapped this poor owl in my shirt and cut the mesh. It gazed at me with stricken eyes, unaware that the damage to its patagium was too severe for successful rehabilitation and that is the fate of humane euthanasia was sealed the moment it hit the wire. In the 21st century, there is no excuse for such senseless (and useless) structures in our landscape.”

Southern Boobook, Perth Hills, Noongar Country, WA

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Special Theme: Australasian Robins: "Female Flame" By Reeni Martinez (Shortlist)

“I hope the viewer of this image enjoys the muted winter colors and the textures of the ominous spikes and prickles that this delicate, beautiful little bird finds safety in. The subtle bokeh and glistening morning dew add a contrast of softness to the image which brings a nice balance.”

Flame Robin, Bicentenial Trail to Red Rock Gorge, Canberra, ACT

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Special Theme: Australasian Robins: "Pale Yellow" By Danny Mccreadie (Shortlist)

“I had spent some time in the rainforest at Crater Lakes National Park, North Queensland, trying to photograph this Pale Yellow Robin. The poor light inside the forest and the tendency of this small Robin to keep moving from tree to tree made it a challenging task. Eventually, I was rewarded with this image. The lichens on the branch add to the interest of the photograph and give a clue to its rainforest setting.”

Pale-yellow Robin, Crater Lakes, Qld

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Youth: "Morning Serenity" By Desmond Wang (Winner)

“On an early autumn morning, just before sunrise, I lay down on mud at a local park, trying to photograph coots and grebes that were feeding. After a while, a group of Australian Wood Ducks decided to join them. The fog caused the camera to miss focus a couple of times, and after many attempts, I finally captured this duck landing.”

Australian Wood Duck, Glen Waverley, Vic

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Bird Behavior: "Feed Me Please" By Cheng Kang (Winner)

“I was so surprised to see a Eurasian Coot asking for food from a Little Pied Cormorant. When I first saw them getting closer with mouths gaping, I couldn’t help but think – are they going to fight? In fact, the Little Pied Cormorant ended up spitting out some food for its counterpart. I was so amazed and touched to see this act of charity among birds of different species and made me think about my expectations of how nature interacts. It turns out birds not of a feather also flock together!” Eurasian Coot and Little Pied Cormorant, Melbourne, Vic

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Bird Behaviour: "Rehearsal" By Ian Wilson (Shortlist)

“Males sometimes spontaneously display away from the mound with their attention focused on an inanimate object like a stick in the ground, a small piece of vegetation, or in this image, the upturned end of the perch. The display is loud and energetic with the full range of vocalization and dance moves including the bird bouncing around the object of his attention while beating his wings in time with the ‘tuggerah-tuggerah’ call.”

Superb Lyrebird, Dandenong Ranges National Park, Vic

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Bird Behaviour: "What's Mine Is Yours" By Rebecca Harrison (Shortlist)

“When summer arrives, so does the unmistakable sound of the Fairy Terns. It’s amazing to watch these tiny birds dive into the water repeatedly and emerge with fish of all different kinds. I was lying on the beach watching this diving action when one suddenly flew in and paused long enough to pass a fish to its mate on the shoreline; will this sardine be the deal breaker in their courtship?”

Fairy Tern, Woodman Point, WA

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Bird Behaviour: "Hanging Around" By Shelley Pearson (Shortlist)

“Galahs are very playful birds and first thing in the mornings they fly around making lots of noise and generally being a little crazy. I captured this Galah messing about as it suspended from a small tree branch feeding. It was very low light and difficult to photograph, but the behavior was so funny and it was worth attempting an image. It happened very quickly, so I didn’t get ideal settings but managed this shot.”

Galah, Coodanup Foreshore, Mandurah, WA

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Backyard Birds: "Double-Barred Finches In The Backyard" By Janet Poczwa (Shortlist)

“Living on the edge of a rural Queensland town ensures I regularly see several bird species visit the back garden, including a flock of Double-barred Finches. They visit a bird feeder in one of the large backyard trees, every morning. It is wonderful to see so many wild finches all at once, sometimes up to 30 individuals every morning! I created this image of two of the finches sharing a moment together when they found themselves separated from the rest of the flock.”

Double-barred Finch, Laidley, Qld

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Human Impact: "You Had Me At Hello" By Suzanne Bray (Shortlist)

“This unplanned photo was taken while visiting a friend who volunteers with wildlife rescue. Four tiny babies were rescued after Mumma was attacked by a feral cat …. all four babies were found wet and shaking in nearby grass beside the road at Hay Point. “Spike” was the smallest of the four and needed assistance with feeding. Sadly, little Spike being already frail was attacked by his larger bossier brothers and did not survive to be released into the wild.”

Radjah Shelduck, Mackay, Qld

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Youth: "At Rest" By Mckinley Moens (Shortlist)

“Camouflaged and laying prone on the sand for the afternoon meant that the shorebirds were not threatened by my presence and they continued their activities around me. As the clock ticked on into Golden Hour, the birds came closer and closer. This Red-capped Plover eventually chose to rest right in front of me, taking advantage of the protection provided by a small mound of sand on this cold and windy winter afternoon. I liked this particular photo because it shows the harsh, desolate landscape blurring into the horizon, with the small sticks and dried seaweed giving scale to the size of this tiny bird.”

Red-capped Plover, The Shoalhaven, NSW

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Special Theme: Australasian Robins: "Yellow" By Glenn Faithfull (Winner)

“I actually took this photo mostly by chance. At the time I was hoping to photograph a catbird which had been waking me early each morning. As I waited for the catbird to fly down into the tree I was watching, this little robin just popped up onto a nearby branch. The resulting photo is a little under-exposed, and if given the chance I would have exchanged the teleconverter for a wider aperture. In the short moment the robin was on the branch I got in a few handheld shots, one of which is this entry here. I love this photo because the robin is showing off their stunning yellow while looking wistfully into the distance, seemingly not bothered by my camera clicks. I never got that catbird shot in case you were wondering.”

Eastern Yellow Robin, Possum Creek, NSW

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Bird Behaviour: "Tucking A Cupid's Arrow" By Elmar Akhmetov (Shortlist)

“This is Pretender, one of the most famous birds in all the Sherbrooke forest and one of the most friendly ones. I have spent over a hundred hours this winter with him observing and documenting his behavior while getting enamored with lyrebirds in general and with him in particular. In this scene, he is drying up his filamented feathers on a rainy day. As his lyrate feathers in this scene look very much like a bow, so the bird looks as if it is tucking an arrow and taking into account the importance of the visual display in the mating ritual I could not go past the reference to Cupid tucking one of his arrows.”

Superb Lyrebird, Sherbrooke, Vic

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Bird Behaviour: "Serenade From Under The 'Veil'" By Ian Wilson (Shortlist)

“When this fellow began to display on his mound, I slithered closer to a ‘window’ in the vegetation and was able to see his head under the veil of tail plumage. I opened up the aperture to f/2.8 to create an intimate, eye-level view much like a visiting female would experience.”

Superb Lyrebird, Dandenong Ranges National Park, Vic

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Bird Behaviour: "Stars And Stripes" By Jason Moore (Shortlist)

“The bright, gaudy combination of red, blue and white conjures up images of Uncle Sam’s top hat or “The Stars and Stripes”. I am really attracted to this photo – I love the interaction between the two birds, but I think my favorite feature is the flared tail feathers. We have so many beautiful parrots in Australia, but it’s hard to look past this species when it comes to beauty.”

Crimson Rosella, Lamington National Park, Qld

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Bird Behaviour: "Berries For Lunch" By Cheng Kang (Shortlist)

“In early Winter, the ripe berries attract flocks of Silvereyes. I managed to find this gymnast gracefully hanging from an outstretched branch while snacking food-in-mouth. What a beautiful combination of colours! Silvereyes are among my favourite birds, I was so glad to capture this scene showcasing the agility and liveliness of this marvellous bird.”

Silvereye, Bendigo, Vic

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Bird Portrait: "Red-Necked Stint" By Shelley Pearson (Shortlist)

“The migratory birds begin to arrive in Mandurah, Western Australia from August, including the Red-necked Stints. This Red-necked Stint was slowly wandering around feeding, showing some remnants of breeding color and looking beautiful in first light with the pink sky reflecting back in the water. I was laying on the sand, waiting and patience is the key to getting a shot.”

Red-necked Stint, Mandurah, WA

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Birds In The Landscape: "Morning Sauna" By Lawrence Chan (Shortlist)

“I was fortunate to capture this foggy scene just after the sunrise, as the fog started to rise up. It was a peaceful morning, there were very few birds around the lake and very calm without wind. The photo was taken shortly after sunrise. I liked the steamy effect, the warm sunlight and the cormorant resting among the layers of dry tree branches. I tried to share the real scene, color and tranquil atmosphere.”

Cormorant, near Bendigo, Vic

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Birds In Flight: "In The Limelight" By Cheng Kang (Shortlist)

“I was so surprised at the utter beauty of a Rainbow Bee-eater’s wings as it gracefully soars against the fading light, showcasing its amazing flight and plumage, like a star performing on center stage.”

Rainbow Bee-eater, Hume region, Vic

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Backyard Birds: "Reflection" By Patricia Sweet (Shortlist)

“This “predator in training” landed on my balcony one summer evening in an attempt to make a meal of my pet Budgie (who was inside). Hearing the kerfuffle, I grabbed my nearby camera and was able to take a few photos before we were able to guide it to an easy escape and back to its scolding parent in a nearby tree. No birds were injured – only the dented pride of the young Juvenile Brown Goshawk.”

Brown Goshawk (juv), Koolewong, Darkinjung Country, NSW

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Backyard Birds: "Crested Pigeon On Farming Implement" By Stuart Cox (Shortlist)

“We were on a family holiday and I had hired a telephoto lens for the week so I was out using it as much as possible. There were many birds around the farm and plenty of interesting props and backgrounds to capture them. I love rusty farming implements as it reminds me of one of my favorite painter’s works which also incorporate birds. This is one of my favorite photos from that trip and needless to say I didn’t want to return the hired lens and was searching to buy my own.”

Crested Pigeon, Boonah, Qld

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Special Theme: Australasian Robins: "Alight" By Alex France (Shortlist)

“This Eastern Yellow Robin watched me curiously for a brief second while I took this shot. It was perched on a delicate tongue of curled and flaking Angophora bark, seeming to defy gravity, its toes curled around one thin sheet and an out-stretched claw connecting it to the next, with just enough tension to provide magisterial posture control on this flimsiest of platforms.”

Eastern Yellow Robin, One Mile, NSW

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Special Theme: Australasian Robins: "Flame Robin Landing" By Terry Walker (Shortlist)

“One of the sites where I monitor water quality in southern Tasmania contains areas of remnant eucalypt vegetation which supports a rich birdlife community. To document this, and out of personal interest, several bird surveys were undertaken. The current photo was taken during one of these surveys. The robin attracted our attention initially from its calls and then the red coloration flitting through the scrub, albeit often in the shade. I was tracking it with the camera and was fortunate to get several shots as it finally landed on the end of a branch in bright sunlight, relatively close by. Luckily, this one caught the wings fully unfolded.”

Flame Robin, Copping, Tas

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Youth: "Salute To The Sun" By Finnian Bissell (Shortlist)

“I was almost late leaving for the airport because of this bird. I waited in the same spot for close to 40 minutes, watching for the sunbirds to land on this particularly tasty-looking Red Powderpuff Flower. Considering this was my last time leaving my grandma’s home of 50 years in Cairns, I was more than happy to wait. The Olive-Backed Sunbird has been one of my Grandma’s favorite birds, one that she will miss dearly when she moves to the Gold Coast. I felt the need to take these photos as a salute to Grandma’s home, as It felt like 50 years of memories were all disappearing so fast. Her home has been host to some crazy and wonderful flora and fauna over the years. From massive diamond pythons slithering through the roof to green tree frogs on the toilet, this place was like my own David Attenborough documentary. So many amazing things to see and hear about. That’s why this photo means a lot. Never once did I not see something that amazed me at my grandma’s house, even up until the last minute.”

Olive-backed Sunbird, Edge Hill, Cairns, Qld

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Human Impact: "Over The Rainbow" By Nathan Watson (Winner)

“The wheels of a car speed past the lifeless body of a beautiful Western Rosella, a victim of a car strike. For all the impact we humans have on birds, road mortality is perhaps the most overlooked. In Australia, it is estimated around 10 million animals are killed on our roads every year and it is threatening whole species. A large number of those deaths are birds like parrots, which are often lured into danger by spilled grain along the roadsides.”

Western Rosella, Albany, WA

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Bird Portrait: "Buller's Albatross" By John Harrison (Shortlist)

“I wanted to try something different to the usual front-lit whole-bird flight shot. So I tried for backlighting and a portrait instead. The bird was very close to me at a focal length of 300mm!”

Buller’s Albatross, Near Eaglehawk Neck, Tas

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Bird Portrait: "Fearsome" By Jason Moore (Shortlist)

“This image was captured during the height of the territorial fighting that occurs every spring at a lake close to where I reside. This bird adopted this aggressive pose and swum around purposefully challenging any would-be rivals. His posture must have been very scary to other Grebes because I didn’t see any of his challengers accept his invitation for a fight.”

Great Crested Grebe, Perth, WA

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Bird Portrait: "The Eyes Have" It By Michelle Gardner (Shortlist)

“I love it when the bird looks directly at you. The eyes of the female Black-necked Stork are in a class of their own! Spectacular eyes on a spectacular bird. The colors of the feathers on their head and neck are pretty cool too!”

Black-necked Stork, Howard Springs, NT

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Birds In The Landscape: "Laugh, Kookaburra, Laugh" By Thomas Mcmahon (Shortlist)

“We watched the sun rise over the vast Blue Mountains National park with some unexpected company. We were the only ones watching from the cliff lines. I’ve always loved Kookaburras, but having one pose so gracefully amongst the backdrop of the Three Sisters and Mount Solitary has been my favorite photographic experience. I spent 45 minutes trying to get the best angle, and once this image was captured the bird looked at me for a few seconds before flying into the valley below… as if it knew the job had been done.”

Laughing Kookaburra, Leura, Blue Mountains, NSW

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Birds In The Landscape: "What Are You Looking At?" By Bec Johnson (Shortlist)

“I was hiking through to the Grand Canyon in the Grampians when I came to a section that was closed for maintenance. Disappointed, I turned around about to head back the way I came when this little White-browed Scrubwren flew right below the closed section and placed itself perfectly on the rock popping out of the middle of the little pool. The glass-like water and rust colors of the pool already drew my eye and then I just got a perfect moment. With the balance of earthy colors, it really felt like it was a great representation of the region. The title of this shot came to me while I was zoomed in editing, as I thought the black and white bit on the wing looked like it has arms and hands resting on its “waist”, looking all grumpy and it gave me a bit of a laugh.”

White-browed Scrubwren, Grampians, Vic

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Birds In The Landscape: "Cassowary Creek" By Patrick Tomkins (Shortlist)

“This beautiful female cassowary visits our property. She spends a lot of time in this creek, either bathing or feeding on fallen fruit, or simply using it as a thoroughfare to move through the rainforest.”

Southern Cassowary, Kuranda, Qld

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Birds In Flight: "Tranquil Touchdown" By Nathan Watson (Shortlist)

“It was a cool April morning. The harbor was still with not a breath of breeze. A light mist added some atmosphere. As a majestic Great Egret flew in and gently touched down in the still shallows, it barely caused a ripple, the motion of its wings only faintly breaking the silence for a moment.”

Great Egret, Albany, WA

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Special Theme: Australasian Robins: "Flame Robin" By Deepak Kumar (Shortlist)

“Flame Robin on a torch lily. The Robin would take off, pounce on insects and returns to this flower. I loved the colors of the bird and the flower. It looked like the Flame Robin was part of the flower.”

Flame Robin, Beech Forest, Vic

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Special Theme: Australasian Robins: "Jewel Beetles For Dinner" By Kevin Huang (Shortlist)

“I spotted this Flame Robin near the cliffs of Cape Bruny. This is one of the most southerly places where this species can be found. I came across the bird whilst trying to photograph an echidna that had wandered across an open patch of grass into a thick patch of bush. I heard the robin’s trill behind from behind me and couldn’t resist photographing my favorite bird species. I knew that this bird would dive down amongst the bushes to catch insects and return to perch on high branches not far from where it started. In order not to scare the robin, I resolved to stay low and crouched behind some nearby vegetation, popping up from time to time to capture some photographs. It was overcast and late afternoon, providing pleasant, diffused light. Over the next half hour, I observed the robin and waited for it to come close with something interesting in its mouth. This mouth full of jewel beetles was its best catch!”

Flame Robin, Cape Bruny, Tas

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Special Theme: Australasian Robins: "Re-Capped Robin" By Steve Barnes (Shortlist)

“A Red-capped Robin showing off his red cap to best advantage. Taken in Walyunga National Park in the Perth Hills on a cloudy winter morning. He popped up on a branch in front of me and I had to be quick.”

Red-capped Robin, Walyunga National Park, Perth Hills, WA

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Youth: "Darkness" By Jacob Dedman (Shortlist)

“The humble Crested Pigeon is actually quite a nice-looking bird! It was an overcast day when I took this shot of the pigeon sitting on an old Sunshine gate at Pental Island near Swan Hill in Northern Victoria… meaning a slow shutter speed. But luckily, the bird cooperated with me! I like the lighting in the shot, with the shadows in the background allowing me to use my brush tool in Lightroom Classic to darken those areas using the blacks, highlights & exposure sliders.”

Crested Pigeon, Swan Hill, Vic

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Bird Portrait: "Leaping Curlew" By Maria Coleman (Shortlist)

“Always an honor to spend time with the critically endangered Far Eastern Curlew. They had gathered together to form a large flock just prior to the low-pressure system which they use to their advantage when ready to migrate north to their breeding grounds. Most of the time they wade through the water but occasionally I will see them hop along to conserve energy for their long trip, and this was one of those moments that I had the pleasure of capturing.”

Far Eastern Curlew, Shoalhaven, NSW

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Birds In The Landscape: "Once Bittern" By Warren Chad (Shortlist)

“With ever-increasing threats from humans via habitat destruction, birds have to be adaptable. Australasian Bitterns are a threatened species that have adapted to their new human landscape and now live and nest in rice crops. In the Riverina area of NSW, there are now agreements with farmers and local Landcare groups which allow these birds to successfully breed in this environment. A great success story for one of our most threatened waterbirds. Ironically these very elusive birds can now be seen and make a great contrast to the bright green of a rice crop.”

Australasian Bittern, Griffith, NSW

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Birds In Flight: "Cormorant Takes Flight" By Emma Parker (Shortlist)

“I had been visiting the cormorants for several years in Centennial Park, even before I picked up a camera. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I learnt about the breeding colours, where they nest and what time of year. I knew there was a colony in the park, with a perfect opportunity to photograph at dusk when activity peaks with cormorants coming to and from nest sites with food and repair items. This cormorant was about to swoop into the water to collect reeds when I captured this shot, lined up against a darkened bank. I underexposed a couple of stops so the breeding colours really stood out. It was worth the wait.”

Great Pied Cormorant, Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW

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Backyard Birds: "On The Fence" By Christina Mcilroy (Shortlist)

“After mowing I sat out on the patio with a coffee and to my surprise, an old mate dropped in to grab a snack. I jumped out of my chair to get my camera from inside the house, hoping he would stay on the fence. As I got through the door he was still there but only for a few moments. I managed to set up my camera and got some shots of this magnificent guy perched on the Fence. I love to watch bird life in my backyard.”

Laughing Kookaburra, Cooloola Cove, Qld

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Human Impact: "Flightless" By Jake Wilton (Shortlist)

“Upon entering one of Western Australia’s premier wildlife locations in the hope of photographing some of its rare and endangered species, I discovered my first bird species – a sub-adult Emu lay dead after becoming one of Australia’s countless road kill victims. This unfortunate bird, lying headless on the road, was a stark reminder that even in our nature reserves, where they should be safe, human impact is still widely felt by our wildlife.”

Emu, Perup Nature Reserve, WA

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Human Impact: "Industrial Tranquility" By Diana Andersen (Shortlist)

“It was just before dawn, and the light was beautiful. There were Great Egrets fishing in the estuary, and I was annoyed that the smoke rising from the industrial area behind was spoiling an otherwise beautiful scene, but that represents what is happening to many habitats. Seeing these beautiful birds in tranquil surroundings with plumes of smoke from industry rising behind them seems such a conflict.”

Great Egrets, Coodanup Foreshore, Mandurah, WA

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Human Impact: "The Tightening Braid" By Janette Rodgers (Shortlist)

“This Striated Heron had become entangled in a fisherman’s braided line. Each time he lifted his legs to try and get away from the line, it tightened. Eventually, this would have caused either infection and/or severe tightening of the braid causing amputation of the feet. Luckily, in this case, the local wildlife rescue team – Wild Bird Rescues Gold Coast – were contacted and were able to catch the little heron and remove the braid before any lasting damage was done.”

Striated Heron, Gold Coast, Qld

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Human Impact: "Walking On Eggshells" By Sue Joy (Shortlist)

“I was enjoying breakfast on the verandah in the sun when I noticed the little Superb Fairy-wrens jumping about the bushes near the edge of the verandah. They quite often build their nest in these bushes, and it is a joy to watch. I went inside to get my camera, with the hope that I will be able to photograph some of them posing on the tops of the bushes like they quite often do. When I came back outside with my gear, I noticed they were jumping on the table and around the remains of my breakfast. I was lucky enough to get a few images to choose from, but this was the only one where he decided to jump on the eggshell for a split second.”

Superb Fairy-wren, Glendon Brook, NSW

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Youth: "Superb Fairy Wren On A Canvas Of Brown" By Jacob Dedman (Shortlist)

“The Superb Fairy Wren… such a nice bird. The females of this species seem to get forgotten by most photographers when there’s a colorful male around, so this photo shows the beauty of the dull ones. I like how the warm tones in the shot make the bird pop. The side lighting really makes it look nice too to me.”

Superb Fairy-wren, Shepparton, Vic

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Youth: "Backlight Soaring" By Pablo Ducarme (Shortlist)

“Standing upon the high cliffs of Wybung Head, the sun slowly falling behind the surrounding headland, this Nankeen Kestrel came out of nowhere and began diving into the surrounding low-lying shrubs that cascaded over the coastline. A strong easterly breeze meant the Kestrel effortlessly soared above me, looking down at the shrubs for large insects to feed upon. Every few minutes it would dive at astonishing speeds, its fast and agile actions proved hard to photograph but I remained patient, sitting behind the shrubs and timing the shot as it flew toward me once more. Back button focus and a burst of shots for a sunset, back-lit shot of my first encounter with this magnificent bird.”

Nankeen Kestrel, Wybung Head, Lake Munmorah Conservation Area, NSW

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Youth: "Choking On Food" By Desmond Wang (Shortlist)

“While at the beach in the early morning, I noticed a Buff-banded Rail feeding near me. I lay down and photographed it feeding, as it was slowly moving closer and closer toward me. This bird was fearless, and it was definitely my best encounter with this species. In this photo, the rail had just caught a tiny crab, but moments later decided to spit it out.”

Buff-banded Rail, Point Wilson, Vic

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Youth: "Contemplating..." By Jacob Dedman (Shortlist)

“The Australian Pelican is such an elegant bird… maybe not so much when landing and taking off, but still it’s a good-looking bird really. I took this shot at Lake Victoria in Shepparton, about 20 km from where I live in Tatura. The birdlife is quite plentiful there and makes for some great bird photography. I like the lighting in the shot, with the dark background making the bird stand out nicely, as well as some subtle highlights around the head.”

Australian Pelican, Shepparton, Vic

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Human Impact: "Water Rising" By Chris Whitton (Shortlist)

“Australian Pied Oystercatcher settling down for the night on Corio Bay, backed by the oil refinery. Wildlife is already struggling to cope with the immediate effects of human activity such as noise, light pollution and habitat destruction, but the greater threat of fossil fuel-induced climate change looms ominously over this beautiful creature as it makes the best of its circumstances.”

Australian Pied Oystercatcher, Geelong, Vic

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Youth: "Grebe, Baby!" By Mckinley Moens (Shortlist)

“We stopped at Lake Wallace for dinner on our way back from the Capertee. As we ate, we enjoyed watching the antics of this young Great Crested Grebe. I took this image in one of its brief quiet moments before it continued to harass its parent for food.”

Great Crested Grebe, Lake Wallace, NSW

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