Photographing a wide variety of winter wildlife in your own backyard is easier than you think! No matter where you live, wildlife is abundant. Here are a few of my tips for photographing wild birds, especially in the snow when the photos really pop.
1) Food - Food is a birds best friend in the winter. Buy bird seed or suet that attracts a wide variety. If you're looking to attract specific birds, some specialized blends are also available.
2) Shelter - When placing your feeder, consider the birds distance from sheltered areas like tree branches and wood lines. Also consider the distance from your home so you don't attract rodents like mice.
3) Planning - Now the most important part. Plan ahead. Think like a bird. If you want the feeder close to your home, but don't want photos of the birds on the feeder, make your own bird studio. Find a few branches or perches for a bird and place them in the ground right by the feeder. This gives patient birds a chance to wait their turn while also providing a natural looking composition to your photographs. The photo above is a small branch that I placed near my feeder. It became a favorite spot of many woodpeckers, blue jays and cardinals.
4) Get the shot - Your photos will look professional if they're taken close to eye level with the subject. Try to find a window that you can crack open. You don't want to be taking photos through dirty glass. I highly suggest a tripod as well. I leave mine set up in front of the window, so if I see an interesting bird throughout the day, I can walk over at any time to snap a few shots.
5) Be patient - No wildlife readily cooperates, so be patient. It may take 100 shots to get the perfect photo, but it's well worth it when you do!