[missbirdphotos] Re: My new bird studio

  • From: "J. K. Cliburn" <jcliburn@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: missbirdphotos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2012 20:46:30 -0500

Thanks for the thorough description of your setup and for the great
tips I can use around my house.  Would you mind posting a picture of

I'm glad you brought up suet -- I've not had good luck with it.  What
"flavor" do you use?  Do you make your own, or do you buy blocks?  How
high up is your cage mounted, and does it hang from something or is it
mounted on the tree trunk?  (Raccoons seem to REALLY like mine; I've
found it halfway across the yard before.)

Really exceptional shots of the grosbeak and parula.  I've never seen
a parula, and I've seen a RB grosbeak here only once.  Thank you for

On Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 7:55 PM,  <Qgray@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> Jay
> It sounds like you have a nice setup with a lot of thought behind it.
> I have an area in my yard setup also to take photos from and thought
> I would share with you what I use.
> The blind I use is one I bought from Sportsman's Warehouse and is
> really a lawn chair with a camo. cover. It has zippered openings
> in front and on both sides to see out of and can be folded flat so it
> can be carried in one hand
> Birds like to use and travel along edges of cover so I placed a brush
> pile on a fence row with my feeders in front of the pile. I use a mister
> that I tied to the inside of a waist high bush  next to the brush pile. The
> mister attracts birds and keeps them coming back to bathe. My birdbath
> is located on the ground below the mister and as the mists collects on
> the leaves of the bush, drops form and falls in the birdbath. The mister
> is on a 25 foot small hose and connects to a garden hose.
> To the side I have a suet cage that faces the my house that I keep filled
> all the time but when I am taking pictures, I remove the cage and place
> suet in shallow holes I have drilled in the side of the tree. That way when
> the birds are using the suet, I get a side shot of the bird but no feed is
> in the picture.
> I also place a log close by that I have cut a small groove in it that I fill
> with
> peanut butter and sunflower seeds. The groove is cut in the top of the
> log but to the back side so as not to show up in any pictures.
> The mister really works as it attracts birds that don't use sunflower seeds
> or suet. I get most of my photos as the birds are coming to the mister
> or using limbs placed around the feeders as you have already done.
> I am attaching two pictures one each of a Parula and Grosbeak coming
> to my setup.
> Q.B. Gray
> In a message dated 4/23/2012 9:03:22 A.M. Central Daylight Time,
> jcliburn@xxxxxxxxx writes:
> So a couple of weeks ago we had a thread here discussing a "bird
> studio."  I was intrigued, so I decided to convert my driveway loop
> into one.
> First I had to move my birdbath and a couple of feeders away from the
> front of the house, from where I could conveniently watch birds
> through a big window from the comfort of my kitchen table.  Then I
> read somewhere that moving/dripping water was an effective bird
> attractant, so off to the store for a little pump...  I got a 60 gph
> submersible pump from Home Depot for $15, but, alas, I had no power in
> the driveway loop.  Sigh.  I remedied that by boring a 1-inch hole in
> the front of my house, trenching across the driveway, laying 45 feet
> of conduit, stringing 12-2 wire, tying into a circuit in my garage,
> and installing a weatherproof riser box with an outlet and a switch
> out in the loop.  Presto: power for the pump.  (Have you priced Romex
> recently?  Yikes!)
> The drippers at the store were too expensive for my tastes -- and they
> weren't suited for a birdbath anyway -- so I went to a nearby
> canebrake, harvested a couple of stalks, and fashioned a dripper out
> of cane segments.  Works like a charm.
> I wanted a rustic look, so I rejiggered my platform feeder by removing
> it from its 4x4 post in the front yard, removing the roof, mounting it
> on an old pine knot fencepost, and made an insert out of 1x2 and
> window screen to allow water to drain through the seed when it's
> installed in the platform.  I then found some elm limbs and mounted
> one to the feeder for a perch.  I sat the other one on the ground over
> a cast iron plant.
> Next, I went into the woods and found a deadfall white oak trunk that
> had broken in a few places and used my chainsaw to cut off a couple of
> "stumps."  I found a deadfall elm limb with a nice bend in it that I
> used to lean against one of the pine trees.  I bored some 1-inch holes
> in it and inserted peanuts, hoping for jays or woodpeckers.  (None
> have partaken yet.)
> Finally, I erected the Ameristep doghouse blind, which my poor wife
> finds appalling, but I argue we live in the country and don't get many
> refined visitors anyway, so what harm can it be?
> Yesterday was my first attempt at photography in the studio.  The
> highlight of the day was an early morning, dew-drenched Indigo bunting
> who surprised me sufficiently to cause me miss a shot when he was on
> the perch.  I settled for a feeder sidewall shot.  I also got a
> cardinal and a chipping sparrow in the evening, but unfortunately they
> weren't on the perch, either.  (BTW, It gets HOT inside that blind
> when the sun shines on it -- even on a cool, windy day!)  I was
> pleased to finally get good feather detail using only a 300mm lens
> (without teleconverter, because I wanted to open up to f4).  I'm not
> pleased with the Chipping sparrow detail, but he was in harsh light,
> so that probably explains it.  The cardinal and bunting were in
> diffuse light, and those seemed to turn out much better.
> So, thanks to Missbird photogs, I now have a studio!  I'd be happy to
> receive suggestions for improvements and additions.
> Jay

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