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How To Set Up A Bird Photo Studio

A black-capped chickadee flies away from a bird feeder after eating at the Audubon Boston Nature Center in Mattapan. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A black-capped chickadee flies away from a bird feeder after eating at the Audubon Boston Nature Center in Mattapan. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Huw Griffiths is a marine biologist who spoke to Here & Now in February about discovering sponge-like creatures living far beneath an Antarctic ice shelf. But he has a hobby that caught our interest — taking amazingly clear and close-up photos and videos of the birds at his window birdfeeder.

He tells host Peter O’Dowd how he does it.

Huw Griffiths’ Tips For Setting Up Your Own Bird Studio

  • Place the feeder somewhere safe for the birds — away from cats, rats or squirrels — and choose a feeder that the birds can see and not fly into and injure themselves.
  • Choose a feeder with a cut-out section and suction cups so that sits still against the glass so you can see the birds feeding.
  • Get strong adhesive tape or a mount/tripod to hold your camera/phone up against the glass, you will get glare and reflections if there is a gap.
  • Focus the camera where the bird will be sitting or feeding, then start recording and leave it running for around 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Stand well back to avoid scaring the birds.
  • Take stills or edited sections of video from the recording.
  • Try experimenting with your phone/camera settings (e.g. zoom in, use a wide angle, slow motion, etc.)
  • If you want a wide selection of birds, try different food types (e.g. mealworms, peanuts, fat/cheese and seeds.)
  • Have patience: It might take the birds a few days or weeks to find the feeder and to be confident landing on it.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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