Photographing birds a lot tougher then it looks!!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Darkhunter139, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. Darkhunter139

    Darkhunter139 TPF Noob!

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    I am sitting in the woods right now waiting to see if the birds I scared off a few minutes ago will come back. Anyone that reguarly photographs birds what is your secret!! I cant seem to ever get close enough without scaring them off.
     
  2. Live_free

    Live_free TPF Noob!

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    Longer focal length lens, and ninja skills... js
     
  3. MrRamonG

    MrRamonG TPF Noob!

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    My father in law, an experienced birder, makes a screech owl call. I've been with him when he does it and its amazing how birds will just start appearing.
     
  4. Chriss

    Chriss TPF Noob!

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    Two words: Bird feeder.

    Works like a charm ;)
     
  5. Natalie

    Natalie No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you're trying to photograph sparrows, finches, chickadees, or other seed-eating birds, get a bird feeder! It draws tons of birds into the yard, and they soon become relatively tame when they realize you're responsible for the food. Getting a feeder with something like sunflower chips in it will attract a wide variety of birds - corvids, raptors (which feed on the smaller birds), doves, woodpeckers, quail, turkey, hell I even have Townsend's Warbler that comes to my seed feeder every day! I have all these birds right in my yard, but none of the skills/gear to photograph them properly.

    Also, as mentioned above, doing owl calls is also a way to get birds to come up to you (and they will be angry). This tends to stress the birds out though, since they think there is a predator nearby, so be sure to refrain from doing it during the nesting season when the birds are already stressed out enough from raising chicks and defending territory. I've heard that doing it near nests can cause the parents to abandon them.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. USM IS

    USM IS TPF Noob!

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    let me know!!!!!!!!!!!!:lol: ...Mike
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Darkhunter139

    Darkhunter139 TPF Noob!

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    I saw a really cool looking cardinal I wanted to shoot but I couldn't get anywhere near it! Ill have to try setting up a bird feeder.
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    A blind works wonders too and you in a car counts as a blind. They even make camera mounts for a car window: bogen car window mount

    Birds aren't the sharpest tacks in the box and are easily fooled.

    For most birds of prey, you'll need reach.
     
  9. grafxman

    grafxman TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I have several hundred bird photos on my site at flickr. That doesn't make me the world's best bird photographer but I have learned one or two things. I can open my front door and observe my suet feeders, bird bath with dripper and 2 different feeding platforms. When I open my front door I have a clear shot at whatever birds are there. I had to put a privacy fence around the area because of pedestrian traffic. I used to have a brush pile but code enforcement a**holes made me get rid of it. That brush pile saved many a bird's life when a Coopers hawk flew near.

    Flocks of birds feeding attract other birds. A dripper on a bird bath attracts birds more so than a bird bath without a dripper. A bird bath brings in birds that do not eat seeds. Bird houses in the general area but NOT close to the feeding area are a good thing. Nothing beats having a flock of mourning doves for attracting other birds. Mourning doves post a sentry plus they are usually very flighty. Other birds know this and feel very secure if the doves feel secure. Odd as this may sound, doves are by far the most interesting and entertaining birds to watch. Check my weird doves images. All of the above applies in general to "yard birds".

    Wild birds are a whole different kettle of fish so to speak. Most of my Huguenot Park and Merritt Island birds were shot from my car. They were approached in my car and generally remained undisturbed. Some were approached on foot at Huguenot Park. These were birds that had been fed by the fishermen and associated humans with food.

    I have some video that I haven't processed yet of a juvenile night heron approaching very closely to me. They would only do this when older "bully" herons and egrets were present. I would get to a certain site along a river at the end of my street before daybreak and stand very still. As the egrets and herons would begin to feed on the eels they would eyeball me and generally keep their distance. I was standing under a tree. A young heron, one of the night heron types, would show up and it would be pecked at and generally bullied by the other birds. Apparently it noticed that the adult birds were keeping about 20 feet or so from me so it sidled right up to me and fed just a few feet away in peace.

    I don't think you can actually hunt birds unless you're after quail, turkey or pheasant with a shotgun. Birds are just too alert to anything that might be after them. If they perceive that you are out to "get them" so to speak you can probably forget it. Many woodland birds may not have seen any people in the woods. If you go into the woods and just lean against a tree and wait you may get what you seek. Try to find a tree that forks just above the ground. Wild animals know there is something there because it looks different but they can't count so they investigate. NEVER EVER SNEAK THROUGH THE WOODS. Every wild animal knows that something is in their area. The question for them is this: hostile or non-hostile. If it sneaks, then it's hostile and will be avoided.

    When I finally learned how to hunt with a gun in Florida after wasting several years of frustration, here's what I would do. I would simply walk into the woods as if I was walking through my living room. I would keep my eyes open and my head on a swivel. I would find a tree that had two trunks (pretty common where I was hunting) and stand between or behind them. I would then remain absolutely still. If I moved my head at all, it would be very slowly. I've have foxes, snakes, deer (does), turkeys (yum, yum), squirrels and rabbits come over to me to investigate. The trick then is to move the gun or camera into position without alarming them.

    So in short, patience is a virtue and a long lens will be a definite asset. Hope this helps. Good luck.
     
  10. HikinMike

    HikinMike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  11. Darkhunter139

    Darkhunter139 TPF Noob!

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    Very nice, you got a cool looking setup there!
     
  12. HikinMike

    HikinMike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks...It's ugly, but it works! :mrgreen:
     

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