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Editor's Note

“The best bird photographers have a gift for truly seeing birds, for understanding how they move and how they fit into their surroundings, and for finding those ideal moments that show the birds at their finest,” writes Audubon field editor Kenn Kaufman in his introduction to our second annual photography awards (“Photo Finish”). “The winners on these pages have captured that crystallized vision of birdlife, reminding us that these are creatures worth admiring and preserving for future generations.”

Presumably, if you’re reading this magazine, you love and care deeply about birds. The memorable images in this issue do indeed reinforce that bond and lift our hopes for their futures. Kenn is right: Seeing is preserving.

What’s your favorite? I lean toward the thick-billed pyrrhuloxia gracing our cover, which looks decked out for Christmas caroling. I’m also gaga about the geisha girl–like snowy owl captured in a hunting maneuver. And the portrait of emperor penguins in the Antarctic would warm anyone’s heart. Please write us at to let us know which you like best and why. We’ll publish your response in Audubon’s next issue or post it on

Each of our judges—design director Kevin Fisher; photo editor Kim Hubbard (who recently departed Audubon after 11 years for National Geographic); designer Todd Standley; and Steve Freligh, Nature’s Best Photography publisher and editor-in-chief—looked at every one of this year’s 8,000 or so submissions. Credit also goes to managing editor Jerry Goodbody, the awards’ field general, who worked with our legal, technology, and membership departments to make the contest as open and easy as possible. Assistant editor Michele Wilson helped the photographers—from Grand Prize winner Dennis Goulet (green-breasted mango) to high school junior Ryan Watkins (white-breasted nuthatch)—tell the stories behind their winning shots.

It’s not too early to parlay your passion for birds into photos for next year’s awards. Once again we’ll be offering terrific prizes, including top-flight camera equipment and once-in-a-lifetime trips. If you would like periodic reminders about next year’s contest, go to and enter your email address. Meanwhile, go to to check out a gallery of 100 photos from this year’s contest and to sign up for a free photo awards screensaver.

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