#4. »Lucky Break » By Jason Bantle, Canada, Urban Wildlife, Highly Commended 2019
A raccoon poked her head out of an abandoned car and paused to assess her surroundings, allowing Jason just enough time to use a long exposure in the twilight. The back seat was an ideal den for the raccoon and her five cubs as the only entrance – through a blunt-edged hole in the glass – was large enough for her but too small for predators such as coyotes.
Raccoons tend to make their dens in hollow trees or rock crevices but they are extremely adaptable. Emerging at dusk, this mother will spend the night foraging for food for herself and her young. Raccoons are opportunistic and will eat anything from fruit and nuts to the contents of rubbish bins.
#5. »Cool Drink » By Diana Rebman, USA, Behaviour: Birds, Highly Commended 2019
Despite the bitterly cold temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius, Diana spent hours mesmerised by what she described as the ‘well-choreographed dance’ of a group of long-tailed tits taking turns to peck at an icicle. With the fast movement of the birds and her fingers feeling like blocks of ice, capturing their behaviour was no easy task.
Long-tailed tits live across Europe and Asia. Those living in Hokkaido, Japan, are referred to locally as Shima-Enaga. Winters there are cold and snowy and the birds must nibble on snow and ice for water. They spend their days foraging for insects and spiders and their nights huddled together in small groups for warmth.
#6. »Portrait Of A Mother » By Ingo Arndt, Germany, Animal Portraits, Highly Commended 2019
When you are eye to eye with a wild puma,’ says Ingo, ‘excitement is guaranteed.’ Tracking these elusive cats on foot meant lugging heavy gear long distances, often in freezing temperatures and unrelenting winds. Mutual respect gradually earned him the trust of a female and her cubs, allowing him to capture this intimate family portrait.
Pumas remain playful throughout their lives. Play-fighting teaches cubs vital survival skills including how to hunt, fight and escape. The cubs will stay with their mother for up to two years before gaining independence. They will live a solitary existence as adults until it is their turn to breed.
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