Creating Backyard Bird Photos Part 3-Critters

"George Eating Maple Seeds In Winter"

“George Eating Maple Seeds In Winter”

This George the Grey squirrel. When we run out of peanuts to feed the birds, which George steals often, George resorts to what nature has left him. Don’t feel to bad for George. He gets his fill of peanuts and everything else we put for the birds.

In “Creating Backyard Bird Photos Part 1” I said to buy a quality bird bath so the other critters wouldn’t knock it over and break it (we figured this out by experience). Another benefit of attracting birds however is the critters themselves. You can create some great photos of other critters while waiting for the birds or just forget the birds for a day or so and concentrate on the critters.

I had just filled our bird feeders and was watching through our dining room window waiting for the birds to show up. It usually takes them about ten minutes to get over the fact I was in “their” yard. George the squirrel showed up first so I took advantage of the situation and created “George Eating Maple Seeds In Winter”.

While visiting friends in Southwestern Nevada I spotted a lot of birds I had never seen in the wild before. Their backyard is literally the Mojave desert. The Lake Mead National Recreation Area is only a few hundred yards from their house. I was sitting with my back against the cliff side of a twenty foot high rock outcrop, and facing Lake Mead. The back of their yard has several ten foot plus tall saguaro cacti. The humming birds love to perch on the spines of these cacti so I was confident I could create at least one good hummingbird photo.

After about forty five minutes or so, and no birds to be seen, I heard something rustling in the bushes near me. Getting up to look around I saw a lizard about six inches long foraging for insects and seeds. I laid back down on the ground so I wouldn’t scare him. I created “Lizard in the Desert” while crawling on my stomach and following him.
"Lizard in the Desert"

“Lizard in the Desert”

This little lizard was running around in the backyard of our friends house in Boulder City, Nevada USA. He’s only about 6 inches long and staying close to the ground clutter to keep cool. It was very easy to follow him around laying on my stomach. Using my 70-200mm zoom lens helped me to stay as still as possible and use the zoom to frame the photo.

I did eventually create at least one good hummingbird photo.
"Costa's Hummingbird in Flight"

“Costa’s Hummingbird in Flight”

I’ve never seen so many hummingbirds in my life. Everybody in Southern Nevada has hummingbird feeders hanging outside, even businesses. This is a Costa’s hummingbird I caught in flight while feeding.

Next time you’re out trying to get that great backyard bird photo pay attention to what else is going on around you. You might just reward yourself with some great backyard critter photos.

~ Daniel Kmiecik
Next week: Urban Nature Photography – Keeping warm and getting the shot


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