|Winner’s name:||Michael Knoechel|
|Home town:||Columbus, OH|
|Type of camera/lens used:||Camera: Nikon D500; Exposure: 1/3200 sec
Aperture: 4.97 EV (f/5.6)
Focal Length: 500 mm
|Story behind the picture:||This photo was taken while on the National Audubon Christmas Bird Count this winter in the O’Shaughnessy reservoir area. Our team had been searching for this owl that had been sighted previously in a particular area of woods. After an hour we had no luck and were annoyed with the frigid weather.
As we made our way out of the woods we passed a familiar American Beech that we had searched a dozen times before. This time a ruffle of feathers caught the eye of our guide and about forty feet up we finally laid our eyes on a Great Horned Owl tucked into the autumn foliage.