Bird Photography: How To Photograph the Nest

In bird photography, photographing the nest is probably the trickiest and most difficult shot to get. Birds build their nests in the tops of trees to keep predators away. They also make their nests very deep so that eggs don't roll out. The only way to get a shot of the nest with eggs in it is to be above it. Birds are very defensive over their nests and you can't get those close to them. Some mothers will even abandon the nest if they sense it has been disturbed, leaving their young to die. So, with all that in mind, how do you get a great shot of the nest?

Get High in the Air

Birds try to build their nests far above the ground. If you want a great shot of the nest then you need to get up there. If you're lucky and they built the nest in a tree next to a large building then all you might need to do is walk up some stairs and open a window. That would be easy, but don't count on it. The safest way to get high off the ground is with a ladder. Rest the ladder against something secure and climb up. 

Don't take unnecessary risks that would endanger yourself or others. Yeah, a bird's nest shot is pretty cool but it's not worth climbing up a tree for. Don't do anything that will result in you falling to your death. Also, when using ladders, make sure that the ground is solid and secure. Also make sure that whatever the ladder is resting on is secure as well. Muddy ground and a dead tree are not safe places to place a ladder.

If there is a rare bird's nest in a developed area then you could consider renting an aerial lift. This would be expensive to rent plus you need to hire someone qualified to operate it, but it can take you fifty feet up in the air safely for an awesome shot. 

Use a Zoom Lens

You can't get too close to a birds nest so you will need to use a zoom lens to bridge the distance. The zoom is great to use because you're going to be climbing high and won't be able to carry extra lens ,much less have a free hand to do a change.

Use the Strap

Make sure that your camera is some how attached to you. That way, if you drop it, it won't fall to the ground and break. You also want to have both of your hands free for when you climb.

Again, don't disturb the birds and always remember that safety is a standard and not an option.

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