Calling all photographers - Bird Photographer of the Year

01 Aug 2015 | No. 2015-36

Introducing a brand new photography competition. A collaboration between the British Trust for Ornithology and Nature Photographers Ltd supporting conservation and celebrating the artistry of bird photography.  Launch event to be held at the Rutland Birdfair at 14.30, Saturday 22 August from the BTO Stand. Announcement by guest speaker and head competition judge - Chris Packham.

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The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and specialist natural history photo library Nature Photographers Ltd (NPL)  are pleased to announce the launch of 'Bird Photographer of the Year', a  new international photography competition that aims to celebrate the artistry of bird photography and aid  conservation by  supporting  the valuable work carried out by the BTO.

Open from midnight GMT on 21 August 2015, the competition invites entries before the closing date of 9 January 2016. The competition is open to professional and amateurs alike and to entrants of all ages in all regions of the world. There are eight competition categories and two special awards offering plenty of opportunities to win.

The categories are: -

  • Best Portrait
  • Bird in the Environment
  • Attention to Detail
  • Bird Behaviour
  • Birds in Flight
  • Garden Birds
  • Creative Imagery
  • Best digiscoped Image

The special awards are: -

  • Cameron Bespolka Young Bird Photographer of the Year
  • Best Portfolio

The overall winner will receive the top cash prize of £5,000 and the title 'Bird Photographer of the Year'. A further cash prize of £2,000 is offered to the photographer with the highest scoring portfolio of six images. There will be further prizes of equipment, clothing and portfolio reviews and special thanks go to our sponsors Swarovski Optik, Alamy and Country Innovation for providing these prizes for the Category winners and runners-up. The Cameron Bespolka Young BPOTY title will go to the best image by an entrant 17 or under, as judged by our panel of experts and will receive equipment from Swarovski Optik and a day birding with BTO staff member Paul Stancliffe.

A selection of the winning and short-listed images will feature in a lavish book celebrating the competition, to be published in conjunction with the BTO in time for the Birdfair 2016. BTO President and competition judge Chris Packham will be writing the foreword for the book. Negotiations are in hand for an exhibition of a selection of the competition entries at a national venue. Details are to be announced.

Through celebrating the bird life in photographic form and rewarding the most skilled bird photographers, Bird Photographer of the Year hopes to raise awareness of the importance of bird conservation and the effects of environmental change on bird life.

Andy Clements, Chief Executive  of the BTO comments "BTO is proud to work with Nature Photographers Limited to create this gold standard competition. Birds are important environmental indicators, and images that convey their artistry bring the BTO’s scientific knowledge to the public’s attention, helping us to look out for birds."

Chris Packham comments, "Photographing birds has always been a passion of mine and I strive to take the perfect photograph, something I have yet to achieve. As President of the BTO I am proud to support Bird Photographer of the Year, a competition that will push bird photographers to new limits. I am excited about seeing the entries and being involved in choosing the best of the best."

Competition website –

Notes for Editors

  1. The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation

Contact Details

Rob Read
(Nature Photographers Ltd)

Mobile: 07768 121780
Email:  rr [at]

Paul Stancliffe
(BTO Media Manager)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile: 07585 440910 (anytime)
Email: press [at]

Images are available for use alongside this News Release.
Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2015-36

The BTO has an ISDN line available for radio interviews.
Please contact us to book an interview
Office: 01842 750050

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