How can you find the best locations to photograph birds? Well, as it's currently the middle of May, it provides a great time here in Colorado to photograph birds and their chicks. So what makes the month of May the best time to search out where to photograph birds? This time of year the tree's don't have any leaves on them yet. Which makes locating active bird nests very easy. This spring I've been driving all round the outskirts of Fort Collins to locate bird nests that are being used. Because there are no leaves on the tree's it makes it really easy to locate the birds using a spotting scope or binoculars. 

Here are 4 tips for finding birds to photograph:

  • Google Maps (Satellite View) - This is my favorite tool for searching out what my city of Fort Collins looks like and where all of the rivers, lakes and other watering holes are located. This is a pivotal tool for research as it shows you where some remote (or relatively remote) locations to try to access. Then it will show you how to access it!
  • Search For Water - When searching to Google Maps, I typically start out by panning the map in search of any kind of water that I can find. Bald Eagles, Hawks and most other birds will typically build their nests in close proximity to water.
  • Sunrise - Sunset: Birds are the most active at sunrise and sunset, so this is the best time to get out and start exploring. 
  • Don't be afraid to walk - While driving around your local town is easy and convenient  There is no substitute for getting out and taking a little hike to do some exploring. Don't be afraid to get your shoes wet in an attempt to access the areas that are just out of reach of the people that are scared to have soggy shoes :)
  • Keep a Cheat Sheet - I keep a location sheet of all of the locations that I find to photograph certain species. It's easier for me to have a Google Doc Spreadsheet with columns labeled as follows: Species, Location, Best Time Of Day, Best Season. This way, you can give yourself an automatic list of what to photograph and when. 

Keep your eyes open for other photographers. Last night I was driving home from photographing some Bald Eagles and noticed a photographer standing on the side of the road photographing some Great Horned Owls. I waved but didn't stop as not to allow him some piece and quite while he enjoyed his time out. But I wrote down the location as to where he was and you can guess where I was this morning :)

Here are some of the other photographs that I took this morning.