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Wild Birds Photographs and Videos

Updated on February 22, 2016
Lee Hansen profile image

Graphic designer, digital artist and paper crafter. See 1000s of unique designs on her web sites (see Profile page) or Zazzle (imagefactory)

Bird Lover's Album - My Wild Bird Photography

I've been a bird watcher all my life; I feed the birds and enjoy watching birds in the garden, in the wild and at the feeders in winter. I love all types of birds and I enjoy taking nature photographs of birds in the wild. It's a thrill for me whenever I snap a great bird photograph.

I spend many hours patiently waiting with my camera ready hoping birds will land in nearby on my deck, in my garden or around my bird feeders. Sometimes I'm able to capture a great photo of a bird while just out for a walk or ride in the country. I often spot hawks, geese and turkeys on my bimonthly drives to Vermont from Pennsylvania.

This article features my own backyard bird photographs plus video of my feathered friends and links to my favorite birding pages and gear.

Hungry Hummingbird Visits a Feeder in Vermont - A hummingbird feeder will attract these tiny birds close to your camera

Hummingbird photo at hummingbird feeder
Hummingbird photo at hummingbird feeder

While sitting on the deck at my daughter's home in Vermont, it's not unusual to see several hummingbirds to visit the feeders just a few feet away. They love sipping nectar from the bee balm and phlox plants in my gardens as well. For the past two years the hummers have arrived on the very same day, May 15. I'll be ready for them again next year and hang the hummingbird feeders from my porch roof to welcome them back for the summer.

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker | Source

Bird Watching Guides

Learn about the birds in your area; teach children about how to observe nature and watch birds.

The Bird Watching Answer Book: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Birds in Your Backyard and Beyond (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
The Bird Watching Answer Book: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Birds in Your Backyard and Beyond (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Find out the answers to your every question about birds (or the questions your children or grandchildren may ask about birds).

 

Winter Birds at a Squirrel-Proof Feeder - Cheery chickadees brave snow and cold to visit a bird feeder

Chickadee birds at feeder in Vermont snow stormo
Chickadee birds at feeder in Vermont snow stormo

Heritage Farms Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder - It Really Works!

A squirrel-proof feeder helps keep sunflower seeds abundant for the birds who depend on the nutrition in this feeder during cold, wintry weather. We distract the squirrels with peanuts and dried corn to keep them from going berserk trying to break into this feeder.

All metal construction and an adjustable perch control will keep squirrels out of this feeder.

Woodlink Absolute II Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder Model 7536
Woodlink Absolute II Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder Model 7536

My daughter has this model and it keeps out both red and grey squirrels without excluding finches, chickadees, nuthatches and other small birds. Holds a lot of seeds - she likes to serve black oil sunflower, the winter feeder favorite.

 
Backyard Birds (Field Guides for Young Naturalists)
Backyard Birds (Field Guides for Young Naturalists)

Gift a budding birder with a field guide developed for children.

 

These Pages are For the Birds

Have you ever participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count? It's fun to count and report the many species you discover in your own neighborhood while contributing to the migration and habitat research that uses the data you report. In Vermont we also count wild turkeys during the entire month of August so the state has a good idea of how well the flocks are doing before hunting season opens.

Blue Herons Fishing Creek Side in Pennsylvania

Heron fishing in shallow creek, Berks County Pennsylvania
Heron fishing in shallow creek, Berks County Pennsylvania | Source

I photographed this blue heron wading and fishing for lunch along the Tulpehocken Creek at the Berks County (Pennsylvania) Heritage Festival. Although there were dozens of people along the creek bank and in the shallow water on the side where I was sitting, the heron seemed oblivious to their presence as he hunted for frogs and fish. Either that, or he knew he was safe from predators over on the other side of the waterway.

Seagull on our beach umbrella
Seagull on our beach umbrella

Simple Bird Photography Tips

A few tricks to help you take good bird photos

I'm not an expert bird photographer, just an enthusiastic bird watcher who loves to take snapshots. My best tips for capturing good bird photos are simple enough for anyone to use.

  • Always carry your camera. You never know when you'll have an opportunity to photograph a rare bird or situation.
  • Choose a spot with good lighting and shoot with the brightest area behind you or to one side. Be careful not to cast a shadow on your photo area.
  • Try shooting early in the day, or in the afternoon when the sun is low. Lighting is best at these times, and colors are deeper and richer.
  • Use a fast film speed and don't use a flash. If your camera has automatic settings, try the "sports" setting.
  • Use a zoom or telephoto lens to get close up bird photos.
  • Take bird photos all year long. In Spring when birds are mating and raising families and Autumn, when birds are migrating, you'll see species that will move to other areas in summer or winter.
  • Be patient. If you know birds you want to photograph are in your area, find a quiet spot in range of your photo area, then wait until birds arrive or land where you can snap your pictures.
  • Use a remote trigger and tripod if you have a feeder or plant that attracts birds. If you can snap a photo without being at the camera you won't move and cause birds to fly away and you won't jiggle the camera.

Feeding The Birds - Do You Feed Wild Birds?

I enjoy feeding wild birds in our garden from fall through early spring. At the end of March we stop filling our bird feeders to prevent problems with starlings and unwanted wildlife (for example, bears). We put out hummingbird feeders in late spring and we also provide fresh water in birdbaths and garden ponds.

Do you feed wild birds in your yard?

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Squirrel Proof Feeder - I Love This Bird Feeder - and so do the birds

I have this model squirrel proof feeder and can say that it definitely works very well. The squirrels are sometimes able to climb up the pole from which it's mounted and actually sit on top of the feeder but they can't get to the seeds no matter how cleverly they try. Their weight closes the seed door covers, and they slip off their perch. Our cats enjoy watching the birds eating and the squirrels trying to raid the feeders all winter long.

Audubon Vista Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder  Model 75160
Audubon Vista Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder Model 75160

We recently purchased a second home in Vermont, so we needed to get another squirrel proof bird feeder. I chose this Heritage Farms feeder because it got great reviews, larger birds like it, it's metal with a large seed container and it's got great style. I filled the feeder and the birds found it within 1 minute. So far this new squirrel proof bird feeder is working out very well - the squirrels can't get the seeds but the finches, chickadees, titmice and cardinals are enjoying the new "restaurant" in the neighborhood.

 

Hawk at Bird Feeder - Waiting for lunch to arrive

Hawk photo, bird photographs by Lee Hansen
Hawk photo, bird photographs by Lee Hansen

This hawk figured he'd simply wait for small birds and rodents to visit my garden and bird feeder, then he'd have a fast wings snack in our yard. As it turned out, the small birds spotted him sitting on the top of the rod so they kept away and out of sight, but an unlucky grey squirrel who failed to look up became this guy's dinner.

Thistle Seed Sock Feeder Keeps Gold Finches Happy

Gold finches love Nyger thistle served in a mesh bag
Gold finches love Nyger thistle served in a mesh bag

Although it's not fancy, this simple sock-type thistle feeder is a favorite with the red and gold finches in our yard. I hang thistle sock feeders from my bean trellis. Sometimes there are 6 finches on the sock with a half dozen more birds on the nylon mesh trellis waiting for a turn on the feeder.

Feed the Finches Easily - Thistle Sock Feeder

Fill this simple thistle sock feeder with Nyger seed and watch the finches flock to it.

In Winter, Bird Feeders Create Photo Ops

Red finch bird photo - finches at bird feeder in winter
Red finch bird photo - finches at bird feeder in winter

These red finches were delighted to find black oil sunflower seeds in a plastic dish nestled in the evergreens on the shelf at the top of my outdoor plant tower decorated for winter holidays. The cardinals really enjoy a flat feeder so when the red finches would move over, the cardinals got a snack as well.

Wingscapes Bird Cam - Motion Activated Outdoor Nature Camera

Get incredible photos and videos of wild birds with this special bird cam setup. I've got this wild bird camera on my Santa wish list.

My Bird Photo Slide Show - I love photographing birds

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Yellow gold finch poses for cameraBaby robins in nest, photographed outside my back doorA shy cardinal on the fence near my drivewayA bold seagull begs for scraps on the docks at Rocky Neck, Gloucester MAA beautiful swan visits diners at a restaurant on Cape Ann, poses for bird photographyChipmunk leaping from bird feeder with cheeks stuffed full of bird seed.Robin's nest atop a sculpture in our cabana.Thousands of snow geese resting in a field en route north in springWinter snow is only an inconvenience at this squirrel proof bird feeder.
Yellow gold finch poses for camera
Yellow gold finch poses for camera
Baby robins in nest, photographed outside my back door
Baby robins in nest, photographed outside my back door
A shy cardinal on the fence near my driveway
A shy cardinal on the fence near my driveway
A bold seagull begs for scraps on the docks at Rocky Neck, Gloucester MA
A bold seagull begs for scraps on the docks at Rocky Neck, Gloucester MA
A beautiful swan visits diners at a restaurant on Cape Ann, poses for bird photography
A beautiful swan visits diners at a restaurant on Cape Ann, poses for bird photography
Chipmunk leaping from bird feeder with cheeks stuffed full of bird seed.
Chipmunk leaping from bird feeder with cheeks stuffed full of bird seed.
Robin's nest atop a sculpture in our cabana.
Robin's nest atop a sculpture in our cabana.
Thousands of snow geese resting in a field en route north in spring
Thousands of snow geese resting in a field en route north in spring
Winter snow is only an inconvenience at this squirrel proof bird feeder.
Winter snow is only an inconvenience at this squirrel proof bird feeder.

The Great Backyard Bird Count - See You Next Year! - How you can participate in the bird count for your area

Join in The Great Backyard Bird Count
Join in The Great Backyard Bird Count

Here's the information about how you can join in the bird count for this year in your area. This info is from the GBBC (Great Backyard Bird Count) web site:

1. Plan to count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. You can count for longer than that if you wish! Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like-one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist for each new day. You can also submit more than one checklist per day if you count in other locations on that day.

2. Count the greatest number of individuals of each species that you see together at any one time. You may find it helpful to print out your regional bird checklist to get an idea of the kinds of birds you're likely to see in your area in February. You could take note of the highest number of each species you see on this checklist.

3. When you're finished, enter your results through our web page. You'll see a button marked "Enter Your Checklists!" on the website home page beginning on the first day of the count. It will remain active until the deadline for data submission on March 1st.

A Good Camera for Bird Photography - Take Great Photos With Ease

This camera has the features you need to easily snap wildlife photos, bird photos and all sorts of pictures - without breaking the piggy bank. Features include impressive 10x zoom power that brings action incredibly close and a compact body designed to be taken along for the ride.

Olympus Stylus 9000 12 MP Digital Camera with 10x Wide Angle Optical Dual Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Champagne)
Olympus Stylus 9000 12 MP Digital Camera with 10x Wide Angle Optical Dual Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Champagne)

You'll get beautiful quality images with 12 megapixels of detailed resolution plus helpers like Dual Image Stabilization, Intelligent Auto, Face Detection, Shadow Adjustment Technology and In-Camera Panorama, the Stylus-9000 takes the guesswork out of great photography.

 

I get a kick out of watching wild birds in my yard all year 'round. I have bird feeders near the windows in my home and studio and I plant flowers that attract the birds to my garden. Leave a note about your experiences with bird watching or bird photography, or just say hello.

© 2010 Lee Hansen

Please Sign My Bird Photos Guest Book - Do you photograph birds?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      For the last year I have been taking pictures of birds at my feeders and back yard. I love it! I too always was drawn to the eye of the bird and was never happy until I had a camera that could take the picture I wanted. Would like to share some of my photos with you and ask you a few questions. Thanks!

    • Lee Hansen profile image
      Author

      Lee Hansen 4 years ago from Vermont

      @nifwlseirff: In Vermont (USA Northeast) we are asked to not feed birds in the spring, summer or fall because the feeders attract bears - yes, bears!

    • profile image

      golfspice 4 years ago

      Just getting started with garden bird photography. So far, got some great shots of a grey squirrel that has taken a liking to the bird feeder...lol.

    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 4 years ago

      Great photos! I used to have bird feeders on my verandah in Australia, with flocks of parrots (cockatoos, galahs, rosellas, etc.) dropping by. However, the local council requested that all people stop feeding the cockatoos - they became too destructive, biting into and ripping apart wooden houses and verandahs. I missed having such great camera fodder just outside my door.

    • digitaltree profile image

      digitaltree 5 years ago

      Nice Lens, i really need to get a camera to take pictures.

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 5 years ago

      Great pictures! I love the hawk at the feeder :)

    • phoenix arizona f profile image

      phoenix arizona f 6 years ago

      Cool pictures!

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      Just did a lens on my Peacock photos, and thought I would check out some other bird photography lenses. Very interesting lens.

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      angel blessed and featured on my wild bird lens

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      I DO - all the time. great lens - thumbs up

    • profile image

      FreeRangeTurkey 6 years ago

      Hi, I love your picture of the wild turkey and would like to use it on the website I'm going to create for my project FreeRangeTurkey. Would it be ok to just copy and paste your picture or...? Excuse my ignorance but I'm a novice to this sort of stuff...

      Could you perhaps to me directly on anetko@o2.pl?

      Many thanks:)

      FRT

    • dustytoes profile image

      dustytoes 6 years ago

      You do have some very nice bird photos. I feed the wild birds too, but have to stop in Spring because of the bears. Leaving a blessing here.

    • deyanis profile image

      deyanis 6 years ago from Oz

      Great tips and tricks about birds photography. I love your birds pictures, they're great pictures. --- Blessed --- and I showcase your lens on my Baby Angel lens =)

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 6 years ago from Minnesota

      my father had a clothes hanger-like wire out the bottom of our window. Mom had a bird feeder that was often invaded by squirrels.. it was entertaining to see the old wire whip in action.. as many a squirrel went airborne... hee hee hee

    • JeanJohnson LM profile image

      JeanJohnson LM 6 years ago

      i enjoyed this lens very much, thank you.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Thanks for the reminder about the bird count. I've participated the last few years. We have quite a variety of birds in central Florida to count. I have guests coming so I can involve them too in the counting.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      I love this lens and I love the great pictures! Blessing this lens and featuring it on my Photography Angel lens. It has great tips!

    • nickupton lm profile image

      nickupton lm 7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for birds.

    • wilddove6 profile image

      wilddove6 7 years ago

      Very nice lens and great pictures!

      I'm getting very excited about the Great Backyard Bird Count this month, and am going to get some photos...if it's not pouring rain :)

      Wing high five!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      These are fantastic photos! I had a little laugh over the sweet chipmunk. He is adorable! All of the birds are beautiful! You have given us just a little glimpse of the marvelous creatures we miss each day if we don't take the time to just sit, relax and watch nature. Angel Blessed and added to my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens