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Learn to Take Great Photos of Birds

The best way to get great digital photographs of any birds is to study them. Spend more time shooting and less time driving to places where you think birds might be, by studying and taking the guesswork out of your digital photography.

This list gives ideas of where and how to research habits of birds and where to find them in your area:

  • The local chapter of the Audubon Society: Enter your zip code in the text box in the Audubon Near You section of the Audubon Society home page. You may also find that your local camera club has avid bird photographers as members.

  • Magazines: You can find information in magazines like Outdoor Photographer.

  • Your portable device or iPhone: You can purchase Audubon field guide applications for the iPhone, iPod, iPad or Android at Audubon Guides. Another popular application for the iPhone, iPad, iPod or Android is iBird.

  • A good resource book: Go to a website like Amazon.com and search for the name of your state, followed by birds. In many instances, you’ll see a couple of books. For most states, you’ll find a guide entitled Field Guide to Birds of [Name of a State]. Authoritative ornithology books tell you the migration habits, mating season, and other valuable information for a species of bird.

    The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds is an excellent resource. The book contains pictures of birds and information about each species, and it lists the geographic range of each species presented. The book comes in two versions: one for eastern North America and one for Western North America.

  • Online resources: You can find lots of information about wading birds online. Look at local Audubon Society websites. Try doing a search for “Wading Birds” preceded by the name of your state.

    Knowing the sounds a bird makes will make it easier for you to locate it and get the picture. Find a plethora of information about birds as well as hear recordings of the sounds they make at WhatBird.

  • A mentor or shooting buddy: No matter what kind of photography you’re into, you can find a mentor in a camera club or befriend a photographer who’s shooting in the same area as you are. Most photographers are friendly and gladly share information — about techniques and hotspots for getting great photos — with their fellow photographers.

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