Birds and other wildlife are one of my favorite subjects, and one of the easiest to photograph. Many people don’t realize just how easy it is to catch birds on film. Once you learn the basics, you can produce a great series of images that showcase the natural beauty of nature. Are the birds cold? Is your camera bag too heavy?
When photographing wildlife, one of the first questions you need to ask yourself is “Are the birds cold?” If they are not cold, then your camera bag needs to be re-warmed. I prefer to re-warm a thermal travel camera bag when photographing wildlife from the air. I think it’s much easier to get that bird in focus, once the camera bag has been warmed up.
Another question I have for you, as a birder who is photographing birds: “Are the birds cold? I have a feeling they might be. Something is coming over them, and they might not come back for another session.” A bird watcher who knows their subject well can pick up on body language, or unusual behavior that could indicate that the animal is stressed, or not feeling well.
When photographing the more remote areas that you cannot reach by road, are the birds cold? Try taking a dip in the water. Birds, especially those in the southern hemisphere, have an instinct to protect their young. You can also try to imitate a spring appearance by stepping out on a board in a lake or pond and imitating the water’s movement.
When photographing in the evening, are the birds singing or chirping a nice song? Birds, even at night, are still using their hearing, but are probably very tired. Perhaps they’ve been up all night. If you’re up late try knocking on a few doors. Birds sometimes leave their homes when they feel unsafe. When photographing at night, don’t just expect the bird to appear; be alert to any movement in the area and be observant.
How are the birds’ eyes and beak warm? Birds have a sensitive skin. They do not need much heat. They may produce some warmth when disturbed, but it is not necessary. If you are photographing in wintertime, take a closer look at the bottom of the cage and pay attention to the feathers on the bird’s face – the ones that stand out are usually the warmest.
Are the birds cold? If your photographs have shown a sudden decrease in activity, or if you have noticed the bird’s droppings, it could mean that the bird is cold. Again, some birds produce their own heat. Examples are starlings and swallows. They may only produce tiny amounts of heat, but it can be enough to keep them warm enough for an evening in a cage.
Are the birds cold? There are several ways to find out. Pay close attention to the bird’s body temperature, its feather temperatures and if there are any abnormalities in the bird’s behavior, such as plucking or scratching its feathers. If you are photographing a particular breed or color of bird, pay special attention to the coloring – if there are any signs of illness or discomfort, it may be that the bird is too cold.
Are the birds cold? Is it freezing outside? Humid weather can bring about extreme cold. This can even lead to the death of young birds. As well, extremely cold temperatures pose danger to a bird’s young, growing wings. A cold temperature in winter can also cause a sick bird to become inactive and not be able to flight well.
Are the birds cold? Even in summer time, there are very few days that the bird’s body will stay within a stable temperature range. When the day is hot, the bird can feel more comfortable, but if the day is extremely hot, it can still feel cold. Birds need to stay comfortable no matter what season it is – in the heat, the air is humid and the air conditioner can make the temperature uncomfortable for the bird.
How do I tell if the birds are cold? You can’t always see the bird. If the body is pale, it could mean that the bird is feeling fine. But if you see dark spots all over its body, it may be cold. Watch out for a red color on the face and wings, this means that the bird is extremely cold.