Catch Me If You Can – Photographing the Tiny Birds


A lot of the images that I got last week were of those tiny, hard to find little birds that flit around in the dense shrubs and bushes.  I think you know what I am talking about.  You watch some dense foliage, see a branch or twig move unnaturally, then try to see what is in there.  I can usually, eventually see the hidden bird.  Photographing it is another challenge.

Wilson’s Warbler

I am usually photographing from my vehicle.  I have my Canon 7D and 500mm lens resting on the window.  I use it after I have had an inital location with the binocular.   I set the camera to use only the center focus point.  When I can locate the bird, I try to get that focus point on the bird and then take the shot.  If the foliage is extra dense, I sometimes have to use a bit of manual ‘help’ to keep the focus.

These images illustrate how hard some of these little birds can be to see.

Bell’s Vireo

Townsend’s Warbler

Yellow-breasted Chat

All of the images have been drastically cropped.  In a few, I didn’t know what I had until I got them into the computer and magnified them enough to ID them.  It is always nice to be able to get shots of birds that are more exposed in the open, like the two below.

Acorn Woodpecker

Clay-colored Sparrow.

So I hope you enjoy this little narrative, and the images.  Click on any of them to see enlargements.