Perch Power

Alberto Fantoni's Image

The sandy banks of the river attracted hundreds of bee-eaters to nest. Protruding twigs made valuable ‘stages’ for the birds to pose on as they presented gifts of bees and other insects to their partners. There was stiff competition for the perches and these two males fought over one on camera. To Alberto, they looked like ‘two wrestlers portrayed by the sculptors of ancient Greece’.

In May and June, European bee-eaters return from their wintering grounds in Africa to breed in southern Europe. They congregate in large numbers for safety, with the best nesting sites enticing the most birds. These brightly coloured animals feed on insects, including – as their name suggests – different types of bee.

Behind the lens

Alberto Fantoni

Animals and local landscapes have always fascinated Alberto. Thanks to his father Luca and his grandfather Alberto, he has been passionate about nature photography from a young age. The animals of the Alps and northern Italy are his favourite subjects. Winner of prestigious international competitions, he has been awarded several times at Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Image details

  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • 500mm f4.5 lens
  • 1/1250 sec at f5.6 (+1 e/v)  •   ISO 400
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