Getting Great Bird Photos

  • If you want to shoot marine birds, know when they feed. That means you'll need a tide table to show you low tides for your area of interest.
  • If you want to shoot nests, think June. That's when birds in Southeast Alaska build nests (and sing) the most.
  • Go slow. Birds are pretty tolerant of photography equipment, but react poorly to sudden movements.
  • Hunker down. Staying on a level lower than the birds and shooting upwards is a better angle for capturing their images.
  • Be patient. Set up your tripod and camera, if you're using them, and then take a break before taking pictures of a nest.

How to Behave Around Birds

Respecting birds while you watch or photograph them is critical: Birds who have been unduly scared might abandon their nests and even their young. Some tips:

  • Don't touch nests or disturb feeding areas.
  • Keep bird calls to a minimum—they can also make birds feel threatened.
  • Don't touch birds—for your safety as well as theirs (they carry plenty of bacteria).
  • Back off if you see signs of distress: a repeated chirp (their "alarm call"), a raised head and nervous tics such as wiping their bill or constantly pecking at their feet or the dirt.


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