The 2009 National Wildlife Photo Contest

We’re back to share with you some of the winners from this year’s National Wildlife Federation photography contest winners. Not only are the photos great, each has something to teach us about the natural world.

As we noted last time, Rob Palmer of Colorado won the Grand Prize in this contest as well as the London Museum of Natural History’s prize.  In that photo, a Bald Eagle was about to dine on a Red-winged Blackbird.  In this one, a Bald Eagle is about to eat a Starling.

Rob Palmer

The lesson about nature from this photo is easily summarized: Starlings lack rear-view mirrors.

Next we have this photo, of another Starling, made by Karen Bloodworth. From it we learn that Starlings not only lack rear view mirrors: When young, they are easily confused about who is supposed to feed them.

Karen Bloodworth

Next is a photo made by Patricia Kline.  The Halloween message is clear:  Protect your pumpkins from Barn Owls wearing masks. That is a Barn Owl, right?

Patricia Kline

We leave you with this one, shot by Marcia Olinger.

Marcia Olinger

Two possibilites exist about nature’s lesson in this photo.  One hypothesis is that squirrels can’t read.  Or perhaps they can read, but are scofflaws.  Either way, signs warning them to keep away from the bird food won’t work.

You can see all the winners here and we recommend spending a few minutes with them. All of them remind us that we are not separate from nature, but a part of it.  Here is an article about the contest with larger photos but be patient, sometimes it takes a long time to load.

If the squirrels are eating the bird food you put out, here is a squirrel-proof feeder that doesn’t care if they can read.

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3 Responses to “The 2009 National Wildlife Photo Contest”

  1. Jen Says:

    Those aren’t squirrels, those are chipmunks.

    • fatfinch Says:

      Actually, they are squirrels. Although the mistake is easy to make and we did not identify them as baby squirrels so the size is misleading. But chipmunks are browner, have 5 racing stripes down the back and their tails are less bushy. Finally, the tails are up. In our experience chipmunks tend to eat with their tails down and flat, unlike squirrels. Here is the full caption from the NWF page:
      Marcia M. Olinger
      Caledonia, Michigan
      First Place, Backyard Habitats, Amateur
      Perhaps these squirrels are too young to read. Olinger and her husband built this bird feeder for their backyard and wood-burned different phrases on each side (another side reads “Free Food”). “There were three baby squirrels trying to get into the feeder,” says Olinger, who used a digital camera to photograph the scene. “But the third one was too scared to make the leap.”

  2. Gate Latch · Says:

    well, i always join photo contests but i have not yet won a photo contest ::

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