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Backyard Birding Photography Made Simple

web male grossbeak rob paine

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Many of the best bird photos I have taken did not involve super telephoto lenses or expensive trips to exotic locations. I did not have to sit in a freezing rain or endure hours or harsh sun to shoot all of the photos (including the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak shown above) on this post.

These images were all taken on a back porch on the same day at Deep Creek Lake. (please click here to read more and see many additional photos)

web hairy woodpecker rob paine

Hairy Woodpecker

Here are some of the tricks that I have been taught and picked up in the short few years since I started photographing birds in our backyard:

1. Birds like food. This is probably a no brainer but it is worth pointing out that having several feeders on a deck makes a big difference when you are trying to attract our fine feathered friends. If you want to attract woodpeckers you should hang a suet cake. Certain types of bird feed will attract different birds. Blue Jays for instance seem to like peanuts. Baltimore Orioles like oranges.

Keep in mind that it can take a couple of days after you put up your feeders for the birds start dropping in. It is sort of like starting a blog, you need a lot of content to attract readers and you need to post regularly. The word has to get out. When setting up your feeders for photography I would suggest placing them in a way so that your background will be clear of clutter and consistent. Be sure to refill the feeders regularly when they are empty.

web indigo bunting rob paine

Indigo Bunting

2. Squirrels like food too. As shown in an earlier post on this blog See Squirrels, the more bird feed you put up the more squirrels you will attract. Birds stores offer many feeders that will discourage SQs from pillaging your feeders. Some of them work some of them don’t. The further you can hang your feeders from your porch or from your house the less chance there will be of squirrel theft. Be warned though, these furry troublemakers can jump a long way and they are very persistent creatures.

web blue jay rob paine

Blue Jay

3. Props help. A great trick I picked up from a recent nature photography lecture was to place a log or branch on your deck railing. You can either smear suet on the back or drop bird seed on the log. As you can see from many of the photos here, the birds will perch on the log. This leads to a more natural looking photo and beats the bird on the porch railing look. My experience has been that the more bark there is the log the better.

web house wren rob paine

House Wren

4. Stay back and give the birds space. Sometimes I will set up a remote camera on the porch and activate the shutter from inside our home, but usually I will set up a chair right next to a sliding glass door and shoot with a 200MM lens thru the clean window. The birds seem to be comfortable with this. Some of the birds will come to the feeder even when I am out of the porch but
most will not.

web female grossbeak rob paine

Female Grosbeak

5. The higher the better. When you set up your feeders or are looking for a place to shoot from, the higher the spot is the better. Most, though not all birds, perch in trees and make nests in trees. I am very fortunate in that porch from where I shoot the majority of my bird photos in Deep Creek Lake is close to tree top level. If the feeders were set up on the ground level we probably would not see the same variety. The other side of the coin is ground feeders like Robins rarely if ever venture up to our feeders.

web american gold finch rob paine

American Goldfinch

These are just a few of the things I do to make my backyard birding photography more successful. Remember to always be patient and understand that there may be some days that you might see few if any birds at all. In coming posts I will talk more about best ways to compose and shoot photos when the birds are there (which will usually be the case when you follow the advice above.)

Thanks for dropping into my blog and happy birding!

web pileated woodpecker rob paine

Pileated Woodpecker

About the author iseebeautyallaroundbyrobpaine

I am a professional photographer trying to bring more beauty to the world one photo at a time through this blog and my studio Web site www.deepcreekimages.com

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13 Comments

  1. […] Please check the following  post if you would like some simple tips for back yard bird photography. […]

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  2. […] To read more about my approach  to photographing backyard birds, please check out this post on Backyard Bird Photography […]

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  3. […] To read more about my approach  to photographing backyard birds, please check out this post on Backyard Bird Photography […]

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  4. […] Backyard Birding Photography Made Simple (iseebeautyallaround.com) […]

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  5. Very informative and well-written post. I like the idea of using a natural log. Thanks for the great tips!

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  6. […] To read more about my approach  to photographing backyard birds, please check out this post on Backyard Bird Photography […]

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  7. […] Want to read some of my tips on how to photograph birds? Please check out my post titled backyard-birding-photography-made simple […]

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  8. […] Backyard Birding Photography Made Simple (iseebeautyallaround.com) […]

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  9. […] see another photo of pileated I shot recently, please to go Backyard Birding Made Simple. Thanks for checking out my blog today. I hope you enjoy the rest of your […]

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  10. […] Backyard Birding Photography Made Simple […]

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  11. […] Backyard Birding Photography Made Simple […]

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  12. Great!

    Lewis Paine lewiscpaine3@me.com

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Please feel free to leave a reply. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughtful feedback, Rob

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Literacy Live!

The mission of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia is to teach adults the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English in order to empower them to participate more fully and confidently in their communities.

David Bornstein

Solutions Journalism

Epic Shutter Blog

Outer Banks Photographer. Smile and Wave. One Epic Shutter at a time.

Chronicles of Wonder

Beauty Through Untrained Eyes

Sagittarius Viking

Mindful exploring, through the eyes of a viking daughter.

Southern By Design

Flip Flops, Beach Hair & Life Is Good

Arcane

Magazine WordPress Theme

Enjoying the Wilds

Sharing my Passion for the Outdoors and my Love of Photography

Whisht Lads

Travel, Cooking, Photography & Sound

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