Backyard Bird Photography – In The Snow

Snow Day – Birds Abound

We don’t get much snow just north of Atlanta, but when we do, I grab my camera and start snapping!Cardinal in the SnowAs you might guess, birds don’t take time out when it snows. They still need to eat. That’s where my backyard set up comes in. This male cardinal was just the next in line to get to the feeder. Birds are literally lined up to partake of the scrumptious sunflower mix.

The Key To Good Bird Photos

You may think that the best equipment is the key, but, in my humble opinion, the real key factor in getting great backyard bird pictures is getting the birds into position. After all, if you don’t have an opportunity, the most expensive camera in the world will be of little benefit.

I make it a priority to keep the feeders full. “My birds” know they can depend on having something to eat in good times and bad.

My little Canon T4i is very capable when the birds are 3′ to 10′ away.
Check out this handsome male Eastern Blue Bird. He was posing long enough to sport a topping of snow.Bluebird with snow on its head

Bird Feeder Placement

Another key ingredient is to get the birds in their natural environment. It was really important to place the feeders within easy photo distance of a nearby tree. Here is another male cardinal in that tree. Notice that he has a sunflower seed in his mouth – he just hopped onto the branch from the feeder.

Male Cardinal in the snowSince the branch is only about 12′ from my window, I can easily get lots of photos like this. The snow makes these beautiful red birds look their best.

If you don’t have a tree near your feeders, you can “fake it” by clamping a branch on the feeder pole. Or, in my case, I can clamp the branch to my deck railing to get an even closer shot. (the shot above has been cropped by about 50%)

I had to take this photo (below). The red is so outstanding against the white snow as this guy was sitting in the willow tree.

Male Cardinal with snow covered branches

So, what equipment is really important for taking great photos of backyard birds in the snow? I suggest a really good glass cleaner and some paper towels.

A camera is also kind of important.