Bird Photography Begs For Really Long Lenses
During the winter months, I set up bird feeders and bird baths to help the birds out a little bit. I cleaned up an area near my cabin to hang the feeders, set up a blind to watch and photograph the birds, and learn more about the behaviors for each species. You can view my bird feeder images in my bird-feeder gallery and you can also view my latest bird images that are in the wild.
I host a wildlife gallery where I share my best photos of birds and mammals. I try and keep the gallery to 24 or less photos and I continually replace the weaker images with better ones over time. It takes a long time to even get 10 very strong wildlife photos.
The photo of this Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) was taken at the feeders that I built specifically for Blue Jays. It turns out that other birds like the Goldfinch and Sparrows eat from it too. Blue Jays like to eat out of a feeder that is flat and open. I built this feeder out of cedar, so it will last many years. Blue Jays are quick to fly off the moment they sense anything that may appear dangerous or threatening to them. Blue Jays like peanuts and black-oil sunflower seeds. I stock the feeder every evening at sunset and then I get outside as the sun is rising to watch them.
I photographed this Blue Jay with the Nikon D500 and 200-500mm F5.6 lens at 500mm. This is an effective focal length of 750mm. In theory that sounds like a lot of lens, but when photographing birds you feel like you never have enough focal length.
I photographed this Blue Jay from my front porch, 34 yards (102 feet/31 meters away) using the D500 and long lens at 750mm. Take a look at the full size image highlighting the crop to create the photo at the top of this article. You can instantly see how short the 750mm of focal length feels when photographing birds.
There are only two choices for filling up the frame a little more when photographing birds. You can invest in longer telephoto prime lenses, which are very expensive and out of the reach of most amateurs, or you can get closer to the birds and use the lenses that you currently own. I actually use both approaches. Honing your skills to get closer to the birds is a lot of fun and very rewarding. I always keep my portable blind with me at all times because I never know when I may need it. I made the investment in the Nikon 600mm prime telephoto lens and I use mobile hunting blinds to get as close as possible to the birds when viewing and photographing them.
BLUE JAY INFORMATION
Blue Jays make a variety of musical sounds, and they can do a remarkable imitation of the scream of a Red-shouldered Hawk. Not always conspicuous, they slip furtively through the trees when tending their own nest or going to rob the nest of another bird.
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