The “Magic” of Bird Photography

There’s something magical about bird photography.
Oh, I’m not talking about the thrill or the mystery or the wonder of it all.  I’m talking about the disappearing act that birds will do!

Let me give you a snapshot of what my time outside all too often looks like.  I venture out onto the deck with my camera hanging around my neck – power on, lens cap off, ready to capture that Kodak moment.  Before long, a bird appears and I quickly aim, focus, and fire off a shot.  But somehow, in the mere moment it takes to press the shutter release a second time, the bird vanishes into thin air and I am left with a lovely photo of a vacant branch. Here’s what I mean.

The other day this handsome bluebird showed up.  Now you see him…


Now you don’t!


Or what about this Red-bellied Woodpecker who dropped in for breakfast.  Now you see him….


Now you don’t!


How about this Blue Jay who landed on the rail to confiscate his daily quota of peanuts.  Now you see him…


Now you don’t!


And lest we think the Houdini routine is reserved for the gentlemen, here’s a lovely female cardinal who got in on the act.  Now you see her…


Now you don’t!


Yep…bird photography is magical alright!

13 thoughts on “The “Magic” of Bird Photography

  1. I like the photos you did get and I know exactly how you feel. I was beginning to think that it was me who couldn’t squeeze the button fast enough. Also, the birds will let me watch them for ten minutes or so and as soon as I pick up my camera they all disappear immediately 🙂

  2. Well said Kathy! Yes it is most frustrating when you just get the bird focused and it moves and then you try again and it moves again, they certainly give us a challenge. Is your camera an SLR, by the quality of the pics I would say it is. I can remember what moved me to purchase my first digital SLR when all my whale breaching photos were just whaless splashes, and the guy standing next to me said “That’s why I use an SLR, it does not have the time delay of the standard digital cameras. But even with this amazing fast technology, as you have shown, the birds still make it a challenge.

    1. I have an SLR, but I mostly use a Canon SX50 for bird photography (it’s a power shot on steroids!) I find it has good zoom and it is so easy to transport.

  3. Ain’t it the truth! I think everyone who photographs birds has this problem. There are several species that I simply can’t get a clear picture of because they move around so quickly. They’re either not in the photo at all, or I get just a blur of a wing or a falling feather. Speaking of falling, for some strange reason I really like the photo without the blue jay, with just the seeds floating in air! 🙂

  4. Hello Kathy,
    Magical indeed! I couldn’t agree with you more 🙂 Even with my very limited experience of bird photography, I have been on the receiving end of the ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ trick too many times to count 😀 The photos you made are beautiful, and now I know what a female cardinal looks like 🙂 ❤
    Thanks for sharing the magic,

  5. I think their disappearing act is what keeps us going – we must continue our quest for the perfect shot! 🙂 I do get lots and lots of photos of empty branches or blurry wings! I’m so thankful for digital photography and that the bloopers can just be deleted and don’t cost us anything!

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