Thank you to all the photographers that participated in the Open Wings Photo Contest, sharing their best photos showing birds in flight. Congratulations to the winners and finalists, and a special round of applause for the Grand Jury Winner who wins an EOS 60D Camera.

A special thanks to our friend and professional photographer Nathaniel Smalley for his collaboration as a guest judge. Nathaniel Smalley is a professional nature photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. Though he calls the American Southwest his home, he leads photography workshops, tours and expeditions to various international destinations as well. More than just another nature photographer, Nathaniel is a passionate conservationist. For him the natural world is a sanctuary where he captures images of the living world and shares them with those who love and appreciate nature as he does.

Grand Jury Winner

"European Starlings are by far one of the most common species worldwide and as such they are often overlooked due to their vast numbers and perceived drab colors. However in just the right light the iridescent colors in their feathers reveal a myriad of colors. One of the greatest challenges in nature photography is to take a common subject and make it exceptional, yet that is exactly what this image has accomplished. The Starling's open wings perfectly balance the frame and pin-point focus has ensure that all the necessary elements in the composition are sharp. Additionally, the texture in the branch creates some nice leading lines to the subject, which is simply a bonus with this image. Great work!" - Nathaniel Smalley

Runner Up

"Emotion and tenderness are wonderful elements to include in our wildlife photography, though they are often a challenge to capture in action. This behavioral shot illustrates the connection between the two subjects as the male arrives to feed his mate with a fish. The ' V ' formation of the birds open wings draws the viewer's eye into the action of the scene and the excellent exposure and focus holds our attention there. Detail in the bird's white feathers has been maintained despite the harsh light. A beautifully executed photograph." - Nathaniel Smalley

Runner Up

"At a time when so many owl shots are easily obtained with the practice of baiting, it is refreshing to see a wonderfully captured shot of a wild owl in its natural habitat. This is a dream shot of a Snowy Owl with wings and tail fully fanned out and sharp details across the frame. The image is perfectly exposed, maintaining details in the bright snow. The blue sky really makes the owl pop out from the background and the yellow eyes are the perfect finishing touch to grab and hold the viewers attention. A stunning photograph." - Nathaniel Smalley

Amateur Winner

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