Watching You Watching Them

Alex Badyaev's Image

These flycatchers built a nest just outside Alex’s remote research cabin. Luckily for him, they were the very species he wanted to study. So as not to disturb the birds or attract predators, the biologist hid his camera behind a large piece of bark on a nearby tree. He directed a flash towards the trunk, operating the set-up from inside.

The Cordilleran flycatcher chicks pictured were about 12 days old. Although this species is widespread across North America, numbers are declining. In arid western areas, rising temperatures are drying up rivers and other freshwater corridors along the bird’s migratory routes and in its wintering grounds in Mexico.

Behind the lens

Alex Badyaev

Alex Badyaev


Alex is a Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, USA, and is a regular contributor to several international natural history magazines. His scientific work, nature photography and popular science writing have all earned him major awards. His images tell stories about species, capturing their essence and revealing rarely seen behaviours.

Image details

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
  • 17mm f4 lens
  • 1/40 sec at f22  •   ISO 1600  •   Canon 430EX flash  •   remote release
  • Lewis and Clark County, Montana, USA
Copyright in WPY competition photographs remains the property of the respective photographers. You may not copy, share, reproduce or republish the photographs except as expressly permitted by copyright law. For media image usage enquiries, please contact us.

More images from Alex Badyaev

View all

Support our important work

Help us harness the power of photography to advance scientific knowledge, spread awareness of important issues and nurture a global love for nature.

Donate now

Discover more

Sign up to our newsletter

Receive email updates about Wildlife Photographer of the Year news, events, science, products, services and fundraising activities. We may occasionally include third-party content from our corporate partners and other museums. We will not share your personal details with these third parties. You must be over the age of 13. Privacy notice.