This short article shares some basic instructions on how to construct a DIY (do-it-yourself) bird photo perch. There are as many options and variations for a DIY bird photo perch as there are photographers.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
All that’s needed to construct a DIY bird photo perch are a few basic components. There include materials to make a solid base, an upright stand, and some mounting material with which to attach branches.
As you can see in the image above, I used a plastic pail and some medium sized rocks as my base. A piece of pressure treated lumber served as my upright. The upright can be cut to any desired length as long as the base is sufficiently large and heavy enough to provide stability. Shoe laces or plastic ties can be used to attach branches.
The size of your base will depend on the degree of portability desired with your DIY bird photo perch. My plan was to make mine small and light enough to move around my backyard… and perhaps transport off site the odd time.
Holes can be drilled in any kind of pattern that makes sense. I chose a simple grid of 3 holes per row and about 10 rows high. I used shoe laces for a little while, then replaced them with plastic ties which provide a tighter and more secure mount.
Some photographers incorporate a small plastic lid or bowl to hold water, seeds or other food items with which to attract birds. Typically this can be screwed onto the top of the upright and sealed with silicon if needed.
A wide variety of branches can be used as perch material. Many photographers like to change out their perch material based on season, or perhaps the species of bird they are planning to attract.
The main branch on my DIY bird photo perch is a dead branch from a corkscrew hazel in our backyard. It provides sufficient support for birds like cardinals and blue jays that visit my backyard. I also like the spacing between the branches and the curly-cue shapes of the smaller twigs. This gives the birds fewer obstructions when they fly in to land.
Currently I have my DIY bird photo perch positioned adjacent to my pond, and not too far away from a couple of bird feeders. The top of the corkscrew hazel branch is well above neighboroughing shrubs and plants. This give the birds a good vantage point from which to scout for danger.
As is the case with all bird photography, shooting angle is an important consideration. As you can see with the previous three images, I was able to photograph birds using my backyard fence as a background. This isn’t necessarily ideal as the pattern of the fence boards is somewhat visible. I do have some other shooting angles that create a nice background effect, as you can see with the following photograph.
It is quite common for bird photographers to use DIY bird photo perches, as well as water, seeds and other food items to attract birds. Some photographers may view the use of a DIY bird photo perch as a form of ‘cheating’. That’s a value judgement that individuals can make for themselves.
If you decide to use a DIY bird photo perch it is important to put it out for a day or two so the birds can get acclimatized to using it. My preference is to photograph birds in more natural settings. I do have my DIY bird photo perch positioned next to my pond for those occasions when I want a more controlled photographic environment. This position also allows me to capture images of birds that have landed on my DIY bird photo perch, through my kitchen window.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Crops are noted. This is the 1,041st article published on this website since its original inception.
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