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Sometimes nature is simply surprising.
Look at this bird blowing smoke rings as it cried out to defend its territory at the wetlands of Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia.
Like humans, birds breathe. And on a cold day, the moisture from their breath condenses into steam that emanates from their beaks. Photographer Kathrin Swoboda knew this, and was hoping to capture it on film at the park near her house.
On Saint Patrick’s Day this year, she went to the Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia. She was able to catch the male bird singing in the morning sunlight, which lit up the vapor that formed little rings from his beak.
The photo netted Swoboda the Grand Prize for this year’s 2019 Audubon Photography Awards, which showcase the best bird photography from amateurs and professionals.
Just as a reminder, some volcanoes also puff smoke rings.