Wildlife Through a Lens: Focus on Birds

Spring is a prime season for bird photography, and we want you to feel inspired to grab your camera and snap some photos! We asked Christine Haines, one of our Flickr group members and a long-time National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant, about her experience photographing these sometimes challenging critters. She shared some of her own striking images and advice:

California Quail
California quail. Photo by Christine Haines.
Flock of Robins Plus Waxwing
Flock of American robins and a cedar waxwing. Photo by Christine Haines.


Be patient and take lots of photos.

“Patience and persistence are good qualities to have as a wildlife photographer.” In the 2012 National Wildlife Photo Contest, Christine’s polar bear photo won an Honorable Mention, “proving that persistence pays off.”


Calliope Hummingbird
Calliope hummingbird. Photo by Christine Haines.
Feeding Time
Pygmy nuthatch. Photo by Christine Haines.


You don’t have to go far to find photo opportunities.

“Most of my bird images were taken in my backyard. Installing a bird bath with a water dripper will attract the greatest variety of birds.”


Runner up in The Nature Conservancy's Photo Contest
Pygmy nuthatches on a water dripper. Photo by Christine Haines.
Mt Chickadee
Mountain chickadee. Photo by Christine Haines.


Find your inspiration, and hone your skills with reading and practice.

Christine worked for the City of Spokane, Washington for 20 years as a traffic engineering specialist, and it was bird watching that sparked her interest in photography. “I saw the beautiful images in my bird magazines and wanted to take them, too.” She developed her skills through reading and joining a photography club.


House Finch
House finch. Photo by Christine Haines.
Hummer in Plum Tree
Calliope hummingbird in tree. Photo by Christine Haines.

See more of Christine’s photos on Flickr >>

Want More Nature Photography Ideas?

Visit our Nature Photography Tips Center or check out the entries in this year’s National Wildlife Photo Contest! Vote for your favorite photos and consider entering your own for a chance to win the Grand Prize — a trip for two to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada where you can see and photograph polar bears.