A Northern Flicker bird carries an egg in its beak as it vacates a nest in a roadside signpost in Yellowstone Park. The birds had been chased out of their home by a European Starling couple. Photographer Chuck Courson says: The very moment I was set up and hit the focus button on my camera, a bird appeared in the hole. Much to my surprise and amazement, it was holding what appeared to be a ball in its mouth.

by Chuck Courson / Rex Features


Everyone’s doing their top 5 photos of 2014 – so I figured, why not go through the year’s work and find my best bird shots?

1. Black-throated blue warbler
2. Blue-headed vireo
3. Magnolia warbler
4. Northern flicker
5. Yellow-rumped warbler

It was hard, though. Some of my favorite bird photos were mainly because of the moment – the common yellowthroats and ovenbirds who’d come so close in Bryant Park, or this first photo – my first sighting of a black-throated blue warbler, who was very cooperative (not a great photo, actually, but I couldn’t help myself).