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Categorized | Articles, Ethan Meleg

Bird Photography Tips — Photographing Birds During Migration (preview)

Spring migration is one of the most exciting times of year for bird photography. Migration is a remarkable natural phenomena, and I was lucky enough to grow up near Point Pelee National Park, a world-famous migration hotspot. Seeing the daily arrival of birds in their most vibrant plumages is what got me hooked on birds and bird photography. In this column, I’m going to share some of the fundamentals of migration and tips for photographing migrating birds.

©Ethan Meleg Cape May warbler photographed during spring migration at the tip of Point Pelee National Park, ON. Gear/Settings: Canon 1D Mark IV, EF 500mm f/4 IS II lens and 1.4X converter, ƒ5.6@1/800 sec., ISO 400

©Ethan Meleg
Cape May warbler photographed during spring migration at the tip of Point Pelee National Park, ON.
Gear/Settings: Canon 1D Mark IV, EF 500mm f/4 IS II lens and 1.4X converter, ƒ5.6@1/800 sec., ISO 400

 

Why birds migrate

Birds migrate for two key reasons: to find food and nesting locations. This is why Canada is a major destination for southern birds migrating here to nest each year. Our distinct seasonal cycles and relatively short “growing season” during spring and summer result in an intense period of high productivity. Insect hatches occur explosively, plants grow quickly to seed and prey species, such as small rodents, produce many offspring. This seasonal abundance of food, coupled with Canada’s expansive natural ecosystems, makes it well worth flying here to stake out a nesting territory and raise a brood of chicks in time to fly back south when food sources decrease in autumn.

To read more of Ethan Meleg’s “Bird Photography Tips” column, please pick up the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of OPC today, or subscribe now to never miss an issue!

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