Lately, my inbox has been filling up with a repeating question and I thought it was post worthy for an answer. With all the downtime that photographers have, and not just photographers, but people in general, the question has been rolling in “How do I get started in backyard bird photography?”. Great question and I could not be happier to see people taking an interest in wildlife photography, especially the wildlife in your own backyard.
This topic is entire book on its own, but the short of of it is that you need the basics. What do I mean by that? Well all critters need food, water and shelter. That is where you start. Birdhouses for cavity nesters and nesting material for birds that build there own homes. Bird baths are really inexpensive and only really need to be kept clean and free of debris. Bubbling baths are even better as the water movement seems to attract birds really well.
Next comes the food. Do you use seed, fruits, nuts, or meal-worms. Answer could be all of the above or only one. Start by taking an inventory of what birds you see in the yard and then do some basic biology research. I recommend David Sibley’s book which is excellently illustrated and thought out for information such as this. Once you know who is visiting, it is easy to put out the right choice of food.
So we have covered some of the basics, but have yet to talk about a photographers favorite thing about bird photography and that is the gear. What do you need to be successful for backyard birding. Well, a dedicated focal length like a 300mm is great start, but not an absolute. You can go wit a zoom lens like a 70-300mm and knock out some great images as well. One key thing to consider though is the background. Try if you can to not have distracting things in the background to make the subject pop. One key thing to remember is that this will not happen overnight. It will take some time for the birds to get used to you and for them to find the source of food. Give it some time and you will find this is very fun an rewarding and soon you will have backyard bird boom.
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