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Audubon Photography Award winners show birds at their best

CNN logo CNN 7/11/2020 By AJ Willingham, CNN
a bird swimming in water © Joanna Lentini/Audubon Photography Awards/2020 Grand Prize Winner

Look closely at the Grand Prize winner of this year's Audubon Photography Awards, presented by the National Audubon Society. No, that's not a scuba diver or a computer rendering of an underwater world. It's a double-crested cormorant, diving deep below the blue waters of Los Islotes, Mexico.

a bird sitting on a table © Bibek Ghosh/Audubon Photography Awards/2020 Amateur Honorable Mention

The annual photography contest showcases "images that evoke the ingenuity, resilience, and beauty of birds small and large, terrestrial and aquatic," and provides a bird's eye view into some uncommon scenes and species from the avian world. This year's winners were chosen from more than 6,000 entries from all over the United States and Canada. In one honorable mention, a hummingbird seems to spear a drop of water. In another, a greater roadrunner posts proudly with its catch -- a very unfortunate lizard.

a close up of a flower © Travis Bonovsky/Audubon Photography Awards/2020 Plants For Birds Winner

The contest also has a "Plants for Birds" category, in which photographers capture birds living in harmony alongside native plants that play a role in their shared environment. In one image honored this year, an American goldfinch goes tail-up into a cup plant in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

However, there's a greater purpose to the contest than just publishing pretty pictures of birds.

An Audubon Society press release reads, "As many enjoy the allure and beauty of birds, two-thirds of North American birds are threatened by extinction from climate change."

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