A Backyard Birding Setup

I just love a natural looking photograph, and if necessary, I’ll go to any lengths to fake one! When it comes to bird photography, I would rather capture a photo of a bird perched on a branch than on a fence or a bird feeder. In this post, I show a simple bird ‘setup’ that I constructed in my backyard for the purpose of capturing that perfect, out-in-the-woods bird photo.

Nikon D750, 1/1000s f/6.3 ISO1600 600mm

A bird setup is something you build combining food and water to attract the birds, and a branch or other natural item for a perch. The general idea is to put food out below the perch and hope that the birds will land and pose for you before hopping down to feed. If you use a small enough container for the food, the birds may find things a little crowded, and they will sometimes line up on the branch and take turns feeding!

Above: A male Oregon Junco. I thought the setup in the photo above looked a little sparse. Somehow the single moss covered branch seemed unnatural – where are all the other branches we would expect to see if this were the forest? I set about gathering rocks and moss-covered branches to build a new setup. My idea was that by including a bunch of random stuff, any place the bird landed would have some branches or something authentic looking in the scene. I would then zoom close in and make that perfect shot. The Cedar hedge across the yard would blur out once I was zoomed in on the feeder, and it would make a nice background.

This was all fine and dandy until the lens got heavy…

It soon occurred to me that if I could control the precise landing zone for the bird in advance, I could use a tripod and have the camera zoomed in close and pre-focused. I could even use a remote to trigger the camera! After I lined up the perfect blurry background and framed a precise ‘stage’ for the birds, I sat back with the camera remote control and a good book to read. Four hours later, this little fellow flew in.

Nikon D750, 1/160s f/6.3 ISO1000 600mm

So how did I manage to predetermine the exact spot the bird would perch on? Simple. I hid some bird seed in the moss on the branch where it hopefully could not be seen in the photo. Once the Junco landed on the little stage I had prepared, he stayed around long enough for me to capture the following twenty-three shots which I have combined into a GIF file. If you look very closely, you may spot a bit of bird seed in the bird’s mouth at one point. Enjoy.

Like my photos? See My photo on your wall.

Comments or questions? Let me know below, thank you very much!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmail

2 thoughts on “A Backyard Birding Setup

  • November 12, 2018 at 7:54 am
    Permalink

    Well isn’t this cool… comments work! Thank you Jane 🙂

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *