The Beginnings of Birding

Birds! One natural progression of hiking out in nature has been an interest in the feathered ones all around the areas in which I roam.

My first successful image of a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird! It was perched just long enough for me to switch lenses in the Golden Hour light before deciding to fly away.

Huffman Prairie Flying Field, July 2019

“Birds to me are a wonderful sight, no other existing experience to me comes close. The definition of a good life is waking up nice and early to view them flitting around the marsh. It’s a wonder that birds have their own agenda, and we are very privileged observers of their world. Fleetless moments are abound wherever! Whether this is the calmness of watching them preen in the pond, to walking around with their babies, to a male and female perched next to each other. All times of year and season bring forth joy in viewing their intricate lives.”

This was my first real good look at a Prothonotary Warbler and I happened to acquire this decent close-up shot of this beautiful migrant. Birding with friends is a great way to share information and check more off your “life list.”

Huffman Metropark, May 2019

The beauty in what is is in their accessibility. Birds are practically everywhere! You can travel to not too far locations to view them, or you can bring them to your backyard with birdseed and suet. There is room for everyone to enjoy them.

The very striking blue and sapphire of this songbird is unmatched during Spring and Summer in Ohio. A rather vocal bird, I heard dozens of them in the treeline as they flew out in the open to a prairie as seen here. It was simply a matter of watching for their habits and setting up gear accordingly.

Bill Yeck Park, May 2019

Everyone who is interested in birding has that “spark bird.” The one or several species that got them interested in this activity. I might have several, particularly larger ones like Great Blue Herons and Red Shouldered Hawk, and then smaller ones like a Ruby Throated Hummingbird. Practically anytime I get to view a new species I am awestruck. Plus, it is addicting to check them off your life list. With so many out there, it is impossible to get bored!

Upon hearing the call of this warbler in the tallgrass prairie, I used a sound technique called “pishing” to bring this curious Common Yellowthroat out into the open.

Huffman Prairie, July 2019

I was already taking up photography when I realized that birds are the most abundant wildlife in Ohio, so it only made sense to study and then photograph them. Purchase or borrow some field guides and read up on all that you can. I have a collection of the free Ohio Division of Wildlife booklets that are nicely laid out for common birds, raptors, waterfowl, warblers and owls.

Quiet, slow observance of birds is the best way to learn more and take better photos. This Blue Grey Gnatcathcer seemed to be really interested in a small tree as it flitted to and from. I soon recognized a small nest built on a tree limb where it was returning to often to bring food.

Glen Thompson Reserve, May 2019

Simply put, we are here today because birds are. Many birds migrate twice a year due to climate and temperature changes. Because of this birds are an important indicator of climate change and will move to hotter/colder climates depending on their preference. Help them out by setting up birdseed feeders in your backyard. This will help the local residents with finding food and certain migratory songbirds will appreciate the rest stop to feed. On top of that you can enjoy some close views of their amazing colors.

I spent the morning at a local pond that is brimming with migratory waterfowl a good portion of the year. This day had me getting my first photos and close-up looks at a Redhead duck. This image shows it splashing about to wash its’ feathers.

Spring Lakes Park, April 2019

Another beautiful aspect of birding is the communal approach, birding is a worldwide language! We are all in this together and so find a group or forum to exchange details and tips. Rare bird hotlines and alerts can be set up for your county or region, and local groups such as this Facebook one for Miami Valley Birding have helped me so much in learning about what’s outside my doorstep. Explore the resources around you then explore the world!

Some of my best views of a personal favorite bird came at a local fen. This Pileated Woodpecker was scaling up this tree and made for an impressive display of size and beauty. Always look at the dead trees and cavities for woodpeckers!

Siebenthaler Fen, May 2019

So grab the binoculars, spotting scope, and maybe a camera.

As always, make sure to get out there!

Happy birding!

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Published by Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor is a 26 year old photographer located in Beavercreek Ohio, United States. Specializing in wildlife and landscapes both big and small, Ryan has sought to capture many different natural locations throughout the Buckeye State and beyond.

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