It’s really important to learn bird behavior if you want to get good bird photographs (click on photos for full sized images). I saw a post on Facebook the other day questioning “whether you can be a “birder” with a camera rather than with binoculars.” There were some pretty interesting remarks to this question and, at the time, I didn’t have time to put in my two cents but I do have an opinion on that question.
I use both! I consider myself a birder just because I watch birds and I guess I can call myself a photographer because I photograph them.
I’m not a professional photographer. There aren’t many of those around that make a living with photography, any more than there are professional birders that make a living “birding.”
To me, these are just labels. There are folks out there that must put a label on everything to make their life orderly. I am not one of those people.
I believe that what’s important is behavior. Whether we call ourselves birders, bird watchers, photographers, environmentalists, conservationists or all of the above, the important thing is what we DO about our passion for birds.
As I stated in the opening sentence of this post, “It’s really important to learn bird behavior if you want to get good bird photographs.” As a bird photographer, I watch a lot of bird behavior. I may spend an hour or more (as I did with this Red-breasted Sapsucker) watching a particular bird, learning its habits and movements.
This bird was working lower on this tree the day I found it. You can see the numerous rows of sap wells that have been drilled into the bark of this oak tree.
I learned a couple of years ago that Red-breasted Sapsuckers guard their sap wells. Knowing this bird’s behavior allowed me to return to this tree the next morning when there was better light, and get these photos.
The first day I saw this bird, it was feeding out of the sap wells at the bottom of the photo above. The next day, it opened up an old row of wells a couple of feet above those.
This is where s/he began chipping away the bark of the old sap wells on this morning.
About a half hour later, almost an entire row of sap wells had been reopened and the sapsucker was feeding out of them.
And a bit further along…
feeding from the newly opened wells.
Moving from right to left…
and pausing before going back to the other end.
When you take the time to learn bird behavior, you have more opportunity to see more birds and achieve better photographs. It is important to know what different species eat, where they nest, what type of habitat they prefer and if they migrate or not. After watching birds for awhile, you will know when they are feeling stressed and when they are comfortable with your presence.
Whether you consider yourself a “birder” a “bird watcher” a “photographer” or all of the above, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you enjoy birds. Hopefully that leads all of us down the same path of protecting birds and their environment, which also happens to be our environment too.
In the coming months we will be promoting the creation of a new “Federal Wildlife Conservation Stamp” to increase much needed revenue for our National Wildlife Refuge System. What we envision is an alternative to the “Duck Stamp” for non-consumptive users of the refuge system which will be sold as an entrance pass to all national wildlife refuges.
We hope all birders, bird watchers, wildlife photographers, environmentalists, conservationists, hikers, and well meaning citizens will get behind this movement to create an additional income stream for our National Wildlife Refuge System. We are working on a website to promote the new stamp and will update everyone as the time for action approaches.
Remember, it’s not what we call ourselves, it’s our behavior that makes the difference in the way we shape our future. It’s what we DO with our passion for birds that counts.
If you have a passion for birds, birding and bird photography, check out The Bird D’pot and WIld Bird Wednesday!
You may also like:
Sign up for our Free Email Newsletter and get all the latest wildlife news with high-resolution images, video and audio clips.
Leave a Comment
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- Bison return to Germany after 300 year absence » Focusing on Wildlife [334 Views]
- Billions of cicadas to invade US east coast after 17 years underground » Focusing on Wildlife [304 Views]
- Komodo and its Dragons » Focusing on Wildlife [289 Views]
- Beautiful striped bat is the “find of a lifetime” (photos) » Focusing on Wildlife [278 Views]
- Best Photo of the Week Competition 18 May 2013 » Focusing on Wildlife [276 Views]
- Are seagulls killing whales in Patagonia? » Focusing on Wildlife [272 Views]
- New insect discovered in Brazil, only third known in its bizarre family (photos) » Focusing on Wildlife [249 Views]
- Amur leopard population rises to 50 animals, but at risk from tigers, poachers » Focusing on Wildlife [223 Views]
- Government licensed secret buzzard egg destruction, documents reveal » Focusing on Wildlife [218 Views]
- Elephants massacred for ivory in Central African Republic » Focusing on Wildlife [196 Views]
Explore These Popular Posts From Last Year
- Shocking Amur Falcon Massacre in Nagaland » [1830 Views]
- Komodo and its Dragons » [1657 Views]
- Orange County (California) Birds of Prey » [1222 Views]
- Please promote our logo for wildlife conservation » [1206 Views]
- NATURE “Magic of the Snowy Owl” – Preview – PBS » [1041 Views]
- Insects » [1004 Views]
- Gorillas Win vs. Poachers » [959 Views]
- Wildlife Slaughter in South Dakota » [585 Views]
- Interview with Steve Mills, Award Winning Photographer » [511 Views]
- The Golden Eagle in Scotland – As climatic changes take hold, what future awaits these iconic raptors in the 21st Century? » [504 Views]