Think Like A Bird

by Connie E Posted on December 05, 2010

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To take effective bird photos you need to think like a bird. Really! Birds love to perch and they love to eat, so why not provide both for them?


Hummingbirds like sugar water. I make mine with 4 cups water and one cup of sugar. I put the feeders in direct sun (you will need to change the water every other day if they don’t drink it all). I have also planted tons of their favorite flowers (Red Salvia, Black and Blue Salvia, Lobellia, Butterfly Bush and the list goes on).

My feeders are directly above the flowers so they have a big choice as to what to eat. I then put up some broken tree limbs to give them a place to perch. I usually set my camera on S- For Shutter Priority. And to stop the wings you will need at least a 1/500 or more for the shutter speed (I tend to use 1/1000). Your light must be good for high shutter speed or you will get a lot of noise. Also, try to always focus on the eye of the bird – as shown in the photo above.

To view my hummingbird set up and my hummingbird photos I welcome you to look at my share site hummer page.

Fall and Winter Birds

Because all my hummingbirds have migrated it’s time to focus other birds now. I again have lots of broken tree limbs near my feeders so the birds can perch (who wants to take feeder pictures right?). Pictured below is a set up I have for birds. I put seeds on the back side to get them to sit there. I haven’t tried it but have heard if you put peanut butter and or hide peanuts in the bark or trees, birds will flock to find them! Most of the winter birds don’t require a high shutter speed but I still set my camera to S, and I set it to at least 1/250. You can check out my latest photo book featuring a favorite fall/winter bird of mine, Cedar Waxwings.

Be prepared to be entertained by our feathered friends. The fun part is catching them when they are doing unusual things like sticking their tongues out or cleaning their feathers.

I must warn you. Taking bird pictures is addictive! I can’t wait to see the Shutterfly photo books you make with your images!


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  1. Earl J Says:

    Wonderful, professional photos, Connie.

  2. Joey Says:

    Your photos blow me away, Connie. IGreat article and tips to catch those birds. I have gotten a few, nothing like yours, but the feeders are in the pictures too! Love your work!

  3. BarbaraJ Says:

    It is fun to think like a bird my dear friend. I love the hummers of course, we look forward to them each year. Great article my dear friend.

  4. AnnAbbott Says:

    The whole bird thing still blows my mind. Incredible shots Connie.

  5. ilovebirds Says:

    I love these pictures I also love the birds

  6. conniee4 Says:

    Thanks everyone for your kind comments. I tell you…I could sit for hours waiting on birds to fly up. I love to “get lost” out in nature! I love to just sit and listen to the birds sing. The excitement of wondering “who will fly up next” is just “ONE of God’s gifts” to us!

    I wish you could all sit with me! Even if it were for 5 min! Please visit my share site at You’ll see many more birds, flowers, critters and of course MY family and friends!

more about Connie E

I am in love with life, my family and photography. In 2007 while working as a Detective on the Indpls Metro Police Dept., I injured my right shoulder and had to retire. I do believe this was God's way of letting me be a stay home Mommy. It was also at this time I began my passion for photography. I love creating memories and smiles with my photos. I love the challenge of making each photo beautiful. I am a big fan of a narrow depth of field in my photos. On a technical level this is called "Bokeh". I have been a member of Shutterfly since 2006 and a Shutterfly Gallery Guru since 2009. I am also ADDICTED to digital scrapbooking. (YOU MUST TRY) haha. Please stop by my shutterfly share site and take a look around!

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