The Year in Photos 2020: Animals

This was my first visit to the Iowa Raptor Project. I was there to photograph the new director of the center, Ryan Anthony, and his wife. Both are master falconers and taught me so much about hunting and working with birds of prey in the couple of hours I spent with them. A barn owl stands on its perch at the Iowa Raptor Project at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area near Solon on Friday, July 10, 2020. The IRP remains closed following damage sustained during the August 10 derecho. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
While spending a couple of weeks in home quarantine, bird-watching at our backyard feeders because a regular source of entertainment. A new squirrel to the yard quickly succeeded where the others had failed, and managed to scale the pole for a treat from the bird feeder. A larger squirrel had a brief skirmish before falling to the ground and settling for seed dropped by birds. Photographed in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Ramona (left) leads Winston during the monthly gathering of the Corridor Corgis Facebook group at Hunters Run Park, 924 Duck Creek Dr., in Iowa City Iowa, on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Dash, one of the younger llamas of the herd, leans his head on Kahle Boutte’s arm as she shows guests on a Zoom meeting the rest of the llamas in the barn at Prairie Patch Farm in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, April 29, 2020.
Hikers cross a stream during a llama hike at Prairie Patch Farm near Shueyville on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Andy and Kahle Boutte offer llama experiences and farm stays through Airbnb. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
A horse is silhouetted by the sky as it frolics in a pen north of Walford, Iowa, on Monday, April 20, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Chickens scurry down from the front porch, where they are not allowed to roam, at the home of Kelli Kennon-Lane in rural Solon on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. Kennon-Lane leads classes on keeping backyard chickens as part of her work with Indian Creek Nature Center. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Juno peers in the gate at new rescues Odin and Freya as Danny Stone leaves the stall at Hercules’ Haven in Springville on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. Juno is a playful sheep who likes to run around with the family’s dogs, and will serve as a guide to the two sheep recently rescued after an escape from Cricket Hollow, Odin and Freya. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
A calf drinks fresh milk from a bucket during feeding time at J Schanbacher’s dairy farm in rural Atkins, Iowa on Thursday, April 16, 2020. J Schanbacher is a third-generation dairy farmer whose grandfather purchased the farm with the help of a loan from a family member. J’s mom and dad still farm and his mother regularly helps out in the milking parlour. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Bees are seen in a hive in Joe Klingelhutz’s apiary in rural Solon, Iowa on Thursday, April 30, 2020. This is Joe’s first year with his own hives after spending several learning about how to care for them. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
A male cardinal visits a bird feeder at a home in Walford, Iowa, on Monday, April 13, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Goslings follow a goose across Fifth Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
An injured pelican swims away from an armada of volunteers in kayaks on Cedar Lake in northwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The pelican, whose injuries are not repairable, will be transferred to Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Wildlife rehabilitator Tracy Belle of Wildthunder (cq) Wildlife & Animal Rehabilitation & Sanctuary in Independence, Iowa, netted the injured bird with the help of the volunteers. The (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
A sandhill crane jumps into the air after throwing a dirt clod into the air during the dancing ritual in a farm field near Gibbon, Neb., on Thursday, March 19, 2020. On March 21, the Crane Trust estimated 524,266+/-110,222 sandhill cranes in the Central Platte River Valley. The annual migration normally draws thousands of bird-watchers to see and hear the spectacle. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
A young prairie dog peeks out from it’s burrow as an adult prairie dog stands watch in a prairie dog town in the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge near in Valentine, Neb., on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. The refuge is home to a herd of bison, a herd of elk. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
A squirrel climbs a tree along the 10th fairway during the CRANDIC meet at Gardner Golf Course in Marion on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
A deer walks amid downed trees and debris in Bever Park in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. One month after the derecho, trees have been removed from roadways and paths through the park, and much of the old growth was damaged in the storm. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Christopher Strums encourages his dog Blue to cross the street in Cedar Rapids after a powerful storm with straight-line winds moved through Iowa on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
7-week-old Simba walks toward the camera as his owner Kwynton DeLarm chats with Jennifer Rowray, both involved with Cedar Rapids PFLAG, while catching up at Rowray’s home in Newhall on Saturday, July 11, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
Everyone is looking for moments of levity right now. I found mine after a morning photographing tree cleanup along the trails at Indian Creek Nature Center. It was and is a daunting task, requiring park managers to clear and sometimes reroute trails altogether because of the extensive tree damage they sustained in the derecho. As we emerged from the wind-whipped forest, there was Kai standing patiently on top of his owner’s car and kept safely out of the Otis Road traffic. Kai, a dog belonging to Nova (right), stands on top of their car on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. The two were returning from a walk along the Sac and Fox Trail at Indian Creek Nature Center. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
The newest addition to the family: Hopper. I wanted to do some figure study photos of what defines a cat. What better than it’s whiskers. I used an extension tube on my 24-70mm zoom lens. The tube reduces the already short minimum focusing distance of the lens to where I can get just a few inches away from my subject. Photographed in Walford, Iowa, on Saturday, April 11, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Max, a 7-year-old golden retriever, walks with his owner, Pat Novak of North Liberty despite heavy wind gusts in the afternoon at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area in Iowa City on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
Drake leans out to greet Adam Todd alongside Elena Rasmussen of Ely during a parade in celebration of his 21st birthday at the Todd’s home in southeast Cedar Rapids on Friday, May 8, 2020. Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Hershey is available for adoption at the Animal Care and Control Center on the Kirkwood Community College campus in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Before adopting any animals, shelter workers encourage people to have a clear idea of what they’re looking for in a housepet: from color to size and energy level. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Marti Payseur and Ash Bruxvoort and their dog, Thistle, are photographed at their home and B’n’B, “Thistle’s Summit” in Mount Vernon on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. The couple last weekend offered free elopements to members of the LGBTQ+ community and had visitors take part from as far away as Chicago. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Coopr [cq], a nine-month-old King Charles Spaniel, watches from the driver’s seat as Brecken Moneypenny gets out of the car for his first day of second grade at Viola Gibson Elementary School in Cedar Rapids on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Jennifer Rowray, left, and Kwynton DeLarm, both with Cedar Rapids PFLAG, play with their dogs Lumen, a 7-year-old whippet and 7-week-old Simba, while catching up at Rowray’s home in Newhall on Saturday, July 11, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

For many people their pets and even wildlife helped us cope during this challenging year. Gazette photojournalists share their favorite animal photos of the year here, to bring a smile and end the year on a high note.