The story behind the photo of a lone roadrunner staring at the U.S.-Mexico border wall

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Monday, October 4, 2021 - 12:55pm
Updated: Monday, October 4, 2021 - 1:35pm

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roadrunner at border wall
Alejandro Prieto
Alejandro Prieto's photo of a lone roadrunner staring down the southern border wall won him the top prize in the 2021 Bird Photographer of the Year awards.

You may have seen an image floating around social media in the last few months — it shows the towering border wall covered in rings of barbed wire on one side. And facing it on the other, seemingly staring up at it, perplexed, is a single roadrunner.

The image won the top prize in the 2021 Bird Photographer of the Year awards. It was taken by Guadalajara-based wildlife photographer Alejandro Prieto, and it was actually part of a larger project he did exploring the impact of the wall on wildlife in the borderlands.

During the year and a half he spent on the border, he documented bobcats, jackrabbits, coyotes, raccoons, javelinas and even the elusive jaguar near the border wall. But the hauntingly spare image of the tiny roadrunner facing the fence captured the nation’s attention.

The Show spoke with Prieto to learn about the image and his goal with his project.

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