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Photographing Birds of Florida

Updated on August 24, 2014
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Florida is a bird watcher's paradise. Not only is the climate warm and inviting but the many varied habitats, and an excellent location which parallels several bird migration routes, ensures that Florida is a worthy place to see and photograph many different species of birds.

Close to 500 species of birds can be found throughout the state with greater concentrations in or near the Everglades, canals, seaside and lake areas.

From regular finches, colorful specimens of songbirds to several raptors like owls and falcons provides anyone willing to be patient and exercising a keen eye with plenty of opportunities.

The Florida Ornithological Society website has a checklist of Florida birds that you can print. They also have an extensive collection of pictures of Florida birds if you should decide to conduct a photography project focusing on the state.

For photographers that live in the state of Florida, many of these species can be readily seen right in one's own backyard. The Florida Wildlife Extension web site offers information on how to landscape your yard for birds and other wildlife.

Although the focus of this project is on the state of Florida, the same can be done for any of the other states in the union as well as for any part of the world in which you happen to reside. Depending on how large your particular region is the project can be done in a relatively short amount of time, assuming that you do good pre-planning research and locate suitable habitats where your subjects congregate.

The focus can be on individual species like birds, mammals, insects, invertebrates or it can be more general like all animals within a geographical area. Focusing on one at a time ,however, makes it easier to complete. But by selectively focusing on only one genre, your audience level drops so this should be taken into account as well.

If done properly the project nicely fits into a niche category not only for use in online writing platforms but but book publishing purposes as well.

There are many publications and educational institutions that often seek material that deals with specific regions and this type of project is very adept to be used by them. Along with common descriptions of each subject, in this case birds, include each individual specie's scientific name. This makes the entire project that much more likely to be used by publications that focus on this type of subject matter.

The best approach is to d a combination that includes habitats, food sources, nesting behaviors, mating routines and overall scenery. You should also include images that feature males, females their young and family groups.

The proper photography gear is a must. Long lenses, a tripod fast film and a long range flash unit are necessities that you should have with you at all times when in the field. Although many sites and many species will allow you to get within a few feet from them, most will flee if you approach too closely.

A good solid technique is to arrive on location with time to spare and choose an advantageous spot. Settle down and allow birds to get used to your presence. This will offer more opportunities to photograph them without disturbing them. If possible, using a blind like hunters do, increases your chances dramatically, but many parks and wild areas do not allow for such.

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You can also try to focus on only bird species that are native to your region or simply record images of bird species which are common to your neck of the woods.

However, for most scientific and naturalist publications it is more important to concentrate and make a concerted effort to only capture photographs of native rather than non native species, so plan you shoot accordingly.

Make sure to capture close up details, especially around the eye. If nothing more than the eyes are in focus then the photograph is at least salvageable.

Be wary of each state's regulations regarding some species, especially those considered to be endangered.

Many cannot be photographed unless you use a long lens as getting close to them is difficult and may be against the law as well.

One particular example is the burrowing owl.

Their nests are fenced in, regardless of who's property they are located in and while you are not allowed to get within 50 feet of it at last check a good strong zoom lens will allow you to "be" very close to it and capture those important details.

© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Vallabh: Thank you

    • profile image

      Vallabh 4 years ago

      awesome Snaps... and useful info.. thanx

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      debbiepinkston: Thank you

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 4 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Thanks for the great information and great photos Luis!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      nybride710: Thanks and yes the climate is great.....most of the time except for hurricane

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      sleepylog: the photos are placed as such to follow HP ad maximizing opportunities nothing more. No the photos are not mine since I still use film and turning them into a digital format is expensive.

    • nybride710 profile image

      Lisa Kroulik 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Absolutely beautiful pictures and I'm jealous of your climate.

    • sleepylog profile image

      Sleepylog 4 years ago from Australia

      I love photography and there really is a lot of great information here, but to make the hub a bit more pleasant to read, you should consider moving the photos up so they appear alongside the main text, or perhaps break up the main text with images scattered throughout and they really are great images. Did you take any of them yourself?