Story at a glance

  • Mexican photographer Alejandro Prieto earlier this month was named the grand prizewinner of the Bird Photographer of the Year competition.
  • “The image tells an important story of habitat fragmentation, and how structures such as the border wall can prevent wildlife from migrating and moving into other areas,” organizers said.
  • More than 400 miles of new barriers were built along the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration.

A photographer who snapped a picture of a road runner stopped in its tracks facing a towering section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall has earned a prestigious photo award. 

Mexican photographer Alejandro Prieto earlier this month was named the grand prizewinner of the Bird Photographer of the Year competition out of 22,000 entries. 

The photo titled “Blocked” shows the small roadrunner standing in the middle of a gravel road as it studies a new section of border wall covered in barbed wire that separates the two countries. 

“The image tells an important story of habitat fragmentation, and how structures such as the border wall can prevent wildlife from migrating and moving into other areas,” Bird Photography of The Year organizers said on their website


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“The wall dominates the image, with the roadrunner seemingly powerless and small in the frame,” organizers said. 

The photo also won a gold award in the Birds in the Environment category. 

Prieto’s photography work shows the effects the hundreds of miles of border wall has had on the diverse species that inhabit the region. Various photos on his website show bobcats, coyotes and other animals coming face-to-face with the barrier. 

More than 400 miles of new barriers were built along the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration. While the barrier was controversial for several reasons, many were opposed to the environmental consequences of cutting through ecosystems and disrupting animal migration patterns.


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Published on Sep 13, 2021