This spring I’ve been working hard photographing songbirds for my ongoing book project on the natural history of the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming. Covering the natural history of this area is a daunting task and I’ve been working on it for a number of years. The book will require coverage of pretty much everything in nature including mammals, scenics, wildflowers, plants, reptiles and amphibians, insects, birds etc. I really needed to get some good coverage of the songbirds from around the basin which is a difficult proposition but is on the to do list..
My strategy to capture a good selection of the songbird species in the area was to use a bird call to attract male songbirds on territory which works well in the spring. I had the birding program (I Bird Pro) loaded on my Iphone and used a bluetooth speaker which is effective to about 30 feet. I have a small camouflage bag made to hold the speaker with a wire hook to hang the speaker off a branch or fence where you want the bird to come to. I use my vehicle as a roving blind and I drive around the basin finding likely looking habitats for different species. I use the Kirk Window mount attached to my vehicle with my Canon EF800mm F5.6L IS lens usually with the 1.4X teleconverter attached. Many of the songbirds are quite small requiring lots of magnification to get adequate subject size without cropping. I would usually set the speaker out around 20′ from the vehicle which is a bit further than the minimum focusing distance of my lens. I either used my Canon Eos 1Dmk4 or 5Dmk3 to capture these images. To minimize disturbance to the birds I will only spend a short time at each location. Below is a selection of the types of images I’ve able to capture this spring. I will continue to use this method as long as the birds are responding trying to get all the species I need.