My Favorite Bird Photos From My Backyard
Well here we are. It is a new year and that means the best of posts can really start flowing in. From day one this blog has always been about learning and growing as a photographer. One way that really helps me to do that is to put my best stuff out on the table to see how far I have grown over the year. This year was the year when I really embraced making photos of birds in my own yard. I set up areas for them to come to knowing that it may look bad for a while, but when the conditions were right I would have some cool bird photos.
We start this list off with a photo that may not be able to be made for much longer. Earlier in the year the tree in our backyard that has been in many of my photos started showing signs of rot. I have a few sections of the tree that I know make for great photos so it will be a sad day when it has to be taken down. This year though you will still get some photos made in this old tree.
In the spring the old tree flowers very nicely. After a winter of little to no color the little bit of color really makes for good photos. A white-throated sparrow also has just enough color to add to the photo.
This was the year of the backyard bird portraits. I set up a backyard studio for the birds to come in and have portraits made of them. Here a house sparrow sits down for a portrait. I have tried this a bit in the past, but this year I really had fun with the idea.
I know that this is called the backyard bird post, but here this goldfinch is enjoying some of the coneflowers in our front yard. I am sure that I look like a crazy person sitting in a lawn chair with my camera pointed back towards our house. If you sit there long enough though the birds will forget about you and come back to feed. That allows you to make photos like the one above.
This year I got a late start with my hummingbird photography. Early on in the summer I was changing out the nectar because the birds were just not coming. Later in the summer though a pair showed up and took over the feeder. They really didn’t care that I was out there making photos of them. They would perch on the bar above the feeder and just kind of check me out. Later in the fall when the migratory hummingbirds would try and displace my birds I would stand out there for a while. The new birds would leave for a while, and my two would then have a chance to come and feed for a while. It was a cool relationship that helped me make some interesting photos. Here are a couple of the birds expressing their displeasure for my photography.
One more hummingbird photo because they are so much fun to make photos of. These birds are so small that you have to go to your smallest focusing point to really be accurate with them. If you can dial in on a hummingbird with your focus then the human athletes that you photograph seem huge. They are great practice for many things. One of them is patience. I always need help practicing that. They are also a great way to stay fine tuned for sports photography.
One day after I was out back watching for migratory birds when this tufted titmouse showed up. The bird was feeding on a native plant and it seemed to look at me and smile. I don’t often have this close of an encounter with these birds. They are very shy. This one though wanted to be on the blog. This is now the second time it has been on here so I hope that it is happy with that. Hopefully it likes this post and subscribes to the blog.
As summer started fading into fall the color change meant for some interesting backgrounds. Here a red-bellied woodpecker makes a visit to the backyard. This is a simple photo, but I think that is why I like it so much.
When you have a tree with fruit on it and seed bearing plants around the squirrels make an appearance in the backyard. This squirrel would climb up the neighbors tree and look for my dog. Sometimes it would sit on top of the fence just out of reach of my dog kind of taunting it. I usually watch this behavior out of my window, but on this day I was out there with the camera so I made a photo of the squirrel. This is the same tree as the woodpecker photo above, but at a different time of day. I love how the background looks completely different because of the sunlight.
The backyard studio is a learning experience. One thing that I learned is that even the best perches need a good background. I need to find a way to let native species of plants grow without making a cluttered background for myself. A good clean background just makes a portrait like this one work.
This year I had a few migratory birds come through the backyard. This ruby-crowned kinglet was ver cooperative and came very close to me at times. Here it found a nice perch with a good background where I could make a photo that I liked. I had other photos showing off the red on its head a little better, but I liked the background much more in this photo.
This yellow-crowned kinglet actually got too close to me at times. I couldn’t make a photo because it was inside of my focusing distance. Here though it worked out to where I could get up close to the bird to make a detailed photo.
I loved this background with the Carolina wren in the background. Over the years this bird went from flying away at any movement by me to being a little calmer around me. I think that they know that in the winter I am the one that fills the feeder. Here it sat still just long enough for me to grab a cool portrait.
So countdown season starts off with my favorite backyard bird photos. These are fun to make, and hopefully I can make more in this coming year in the backyard studio. It is great to be able to take a break from editing or whatever I am doing to go outside and make some photos. When it is in your backyard it also makes it easy to spot behaviors and patterns that make for good photos. Tomorrow I will take a look at my favorite basketball photos of 2022.