Backyard bird photography

backyard-birdingMany of us put out bird feeders in the winter months to feed the birds, and of course we want to photograph them, too. But photographing birds at a feeder most often means including the bird feeder in the image. When I photograph birds I like to make them look as if they are out in nature, free of the man-made objects.

Here’s how I feed the birds and get those hand-of-man-free images; the trick is to create a bird feeder constructed completely of natural materials. Find an old log that is hollow or can be easily hollowed out. Use this as your feeder, filling the recesses with bird seed. Now find some other small branches and arrange them around your feeder to resemble places a bird would land in nature. Set this up near a window or on a deck where you can view and photograph the birds that land at your feeder. Because your feeder is constructed of all natural materials, the birds will quickly become accustomed to it and give you many opportunities to photograph them. Change out your branches periodically to change the scene. You can add some evergreen to your area to give color to your shots.

Oh, yeah. If you plan to get close enough to get shots like the one above, you will need to sit still so you don’t frighten the birds. Don’t wear bright colors, and try to blend in as much as possible. In this shot, I love the way the lines in the branch accent the lines in the feathers of the nuthatch.

So, feed the birds and take some beautifully natural photos of them this winter.


About Bruce Wunderlich

Bruce Wunderlich is a photographer from Marietta, Ohio. He became interested in photography as a teenager in the 1970s, and has been a passionate student of the art ever since. Bruce recently won Photographer’s Choice award and Grand Prize at the 2015 Shoot the Hills Photography Competition in the Hocking Hills near Logan, Ohio. He has also instructed local classes in basic digital photography. Check out Bruce’s photos at Flickr
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