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What Is Bird Photography – And How Can You Start Today?

blue bird

The world is stressed. According to recent studies, more than a quarter of US citizens are so stressed that they find it difficult to function. On top of this, 76% of adults have stated that they have been feeling a significant amount of anxiety caused by the worries of inflation, violence and crime, as well as the current political climate. 

Photography has often been cited as a creative escape. A way to simply step back from the problems of the modern-day world and become, instead, an “observer”. Someone on the outside looking in, untouched by the events, yet so involved, so present. 

The reason so many people – and perhaps yourself – have gotten invested in photography is because of the freedom that it can give you, the moment of relief from the real world until all your problems start to look comparatively small. 

This is the same story with nature, too. Once again, new research has found that it takes ten minutes in a natural setting before the effects of stress start to ease away, leaving a positive, happy mentality. Combine this with photography, then, and it’s a win-win! 

Merging Nature And Photography

Perhaps that’s the reason that more and more people are beginning to take up bird photography. This is a new “millennial-approved” pastime that asks you to step out into nature and photograph the birds surrounding you. Not only does this test your skills as a photographer, but it also gives you that space and freedom to combat stress and ultimately relax in a meditative activity. 

If you’re a photographer and you’ve been finding yourself feeling more stressed, then this is certainly something to look into. Bird photography can give you a goal, something to work towards, while also helping your mental fatigue to slip away and become manageable. 

You can even document your triumphs on social media, getting involved in a “bird watching” community, or perhaps getting all your best bird photos together to create a Facebook and Instagram photo book.  

But how exactly do you start bird photography and make a success out of it? You’re not exactly Snow White – the birds aren’t just going to jump into the palm of your hand and smile for the camera!

No, if you’re serious about making a success out of bird photography, here is what you have to do to start and make the process worthwhile: 

First Off, Invite The Birds To You

When you’re imagining bird photography, you might picture walking around in the middle of the wilderness, equipped with short-shorts, binoculars and a great big camera. But this isn’t at all accurate. In fact, most bird photographers simply set up shop in their own backyards. 

If you want to get started today, set up a bird feeder and do everything you can to attract birds to you. When you start to figure out the peak times your birds arrive for a feed, place yourself near this bird feeder and snap as many as you can when they begin to swoop in.

Recognise The Birds You Are Seeing 

It’s also important to recognise the birds that you see. If you are planning on uploading the photographs to social media and taking them to a photo book maker, you want to at least give the impression that you know what you are doing! There are a number of apps out there that allow you to simply type in a description of a bird and immediately get an answer to what it could be.

Expand Your Horizons 

Once you have reaped all the benefits of your backyard, it’s time to get those short-shorts on (that’s a joke, by the way) and expand your horizons. There are a number of rare bird species in the US that bird photographers see as a “grand prize”. These include:

  • The Green Jay – Found in South Texas
  • The Dipper – USA’s only aquatic songbird
  • The Whooping Crane – Found in Wood Buffalo National Park
  • The Downy Woodpecker – Recognised by its red forehead
  • The California Condor – Found in California, only 200 of which exist in the wild.

Upgrade Your Equipment 

Once you’ve expanded your horizons, you might be getting a little tired of using your phone to photograph these birds – especially as photographing them in the wild has elevated the difficulty by 100%! For this reason, it could be time to switch up your equipment and attain a proper DSLR camera instead. Either that or get to know the specs of the latest 2023 smartphones and upgrade your phone accordingly!

Remember Why You Do It

As a last point, it’s important to remember why you are doing it – believe us, it can get a little lost during your umpteenth attempt at photographing a rare songbird! This is all about giving yourself space to forget your troubles and immerse yourself in nature. 

It’s a way to fight back against your anxieties, your stresses and rediscover what makes life so beautiful. That’s why we photographers do it, after all. To capture the beauty of the world around us, putting it into focus when it starts to feel a little blurred. That’s what makes photography so special.


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