Our Top 10 Favorite Bird Photos from Shutterbug Readers

Pretty in Pink: Leona Benson captured this unique pose by a flamingo at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington, with a Canon EOS Rebel T1i and a Tamron 18-270mm lens at f/5.6, 1/500 second. © Leona Benson

Here’s a photo assignment that was for the birds. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Yes, we were looking for images of birds and we wanted your best shots.

From our daily perusals of our Galleries on Shutterbug.com, there are clearly a lot of bird photographers out there, so we expected this assignment to be highly competitive. And it was.

We received more submissions for this Picture This! assignment than for any assignment before. We were not merely looking for the perfect shot of a bird in flight with its eyes captured at the requisite level of tack sharpness. Those images are nice but we’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands, of them in Shutterbug’s Galleries.

We wanted your best bird shots to have an artistry and intimacy that showed our fine feathered friends in their own unique light. While we had a tougher than usual time deciding on our favorites because there were so many great entries, the following 10 images really took flight!

The Dance: “My concept is threefold: visualization; the camera; and post to reach the visualization,” Sheldon Buckman explains about his approach. “Post may be a little or a lot, depending. It is art. Whether it is fine or not is up to the viewer.” The image is of two young Tricolored Herons. Buckman captured it with a Canon EOS 40D at f/5.6, ISO 640, 1/3200 second. © Sheldon Buckman

Strength in Numbers: Jola Charlton shot this adorable photo of a flock of ducklings with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III at 560mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/500 second. © Jola Charlton

Snowy Egret on a Dangerous Ride: Look closely and you’ll see that this Snowy Egret photographed by Linda Sarmento is actually on the back of an alligator. She shot it hand-held in Central Florida with 
a Canon EOS 70D and a Sigma 50-500mm lens at 200mm, 1/640 second, ISO 100. © Linda L. Sarmento

Red-Breasted Nuthatch: “A Red-breasted Nuthatch pokes its head into the sunlight,” Tim Nicol says about this exquisite bird image. He shot it with a Nikon D7100 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens at 600mm, ISO 250, f/8, 1/500 second. © Tim Nicol

Arches Raptor: “This is a photo of a beautiful Rough-legged Hawk composited on a red sandstone background with a motion blur added,” Scott Hamilton notes. “The hawk was photographed on January 29, 2018, at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Brigham City, Utah. The red sandstone background was photographed last year at Arches National Park, Utah. Photoshop CC was used for the compositing and motion blur. A Nikon D850 camera fitted with a Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 lens was used to capture the image of the hawk. The camera was set for continuous shutter and focus. Settings were 1/1000 second, f/11, 500mm, ISO 180.” © Scott Hamilton

Beginning Meal Search: “Against the glow of a striking early sunrise, an Anhinga begins its flight pattern for a dive into the water seeking a morning meal,” Linn Smith writes. Smith captured it with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon 300mm lens at f/2.8, 1/1600 second, ISO 800. © Linn Smith

Premier Predator: Luke Dedic shot this photo of a soaring eagle in Junction City, Oregon. “I was driving down the highway and saw the eagle on top of a phone pole,” Dedic recalls. “I pulled over and got this shot as he took off to circle over a field filled with sheep.” Dedic captured the handheld shot with a Canon EOS-1D X and a Sigma 500mm f/4 lens. Camera settings were 1/3200 second, f/4, + 2 exposure compensation, ISO 500. © Luke Dedic

Bald Eagle Landing: “This image was taken as part of a photo excursion to a raptor conservatory in Southern Ontario, Canada, on a day when it was snowing lightly and the temperature never exceeded 10 degrees Fahrenheit,” Charles Bartolotta writes. “The bird was allowed to perch at a distance of about 50 yards away. The bird’s handler placed some raw meat on the nearer post and the bird, upon seeing the meat, came flying in for it. I followed the bird with the camera on continuous focus and captured this image as he was about to land. I felt the snow in the air gave the image a cold mood and I felt that mood was enhanced by the monochrome conversion.” He shot it with a Nikon D700 and a Sigma 150-500mm lens at 190mm, f/5.3, 1/2500 second, ISO 400. © Charles Bartolotta

Hornbill at Dusk: “This Yellow-billed Hornbill 
seems to be peering into the encroaching dusk,” Lawrence Berke says. “The South African sky had a pink tinge to it, which I purposefully oversaturated.” He used a Fujifilm X-T2 and a 100-400mm lens at 204mm, 1/2000 second, f/5.6, ISO 500, + 0.3 exposure compensation. © Lawrence N. Berke