Bird Photography – Arizona Sonora Desert Museum


Bird photography is a particular passion of mine and while I don’t consider myself to be a birder, I do love bird photography! Everyone that has a camera has probably photographed at least one bird and probably a whole lot more than that and I’m in that second group. I’ve photographed hundreds of species over the years and I still get a thrill when I get a “good” one! Practice makes perfect as they say and there are few better places to practice your bird photography than the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM).

Why is it good? First there are a lot of birds that hang out on the 21 acres that is covered with some 56,000 plants providing a perfect habitat. The museum is of course feeding and caring for the couple of hundred animals in their collection and this “free” food is a giant magnet for the local wild bird population. All of this means that ASDM is what I like to call a target rich environment and that means you’ll have plenty of birds to practice on!

Secondly, the museum makes it even easier for bid photography by providing their birds on a platter (unintentionally kind of funny) for you and your camera. All day the docents will have some of their animals out for up close and personal portrait sessions with the birds. This is a great opportunity for you to get gorgeous portraits.

Finally, they have 2 raptor free flight demonstrations a day in the fall and winter months. These shows provide just ridiculous opportunities to photograph falconry trained birds free flying at you, above you and around you in a gorgeous setting. The museum has trained their birds with trust and most of them are flown without the typical jesses and rings to get in the picture. And because it is a show, you will have several chances to photograph the birds as they whiz around. I actually got grazed on the head by the wingtip of this Ferruginous Hawk!

Bird Photography: Ferruginous Hawk, Buteo regalis at Arizona Sonora Desert Museum by Jeff Wendorff

Ferruginous Hawk, Buteo regalis at Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

I should also mention that they also have a great hummingbird free flight enclosure. It is tight quarters, but well worth the work for some stunning hummingbird shots. : Remember that hummingbirds are very territorial and so with stay in the same vicinity and use the same perch over and over. So find a perch and background that you like and wait for the hummingbird to come to you. Much simpler than “chasing” them around the building.

 Bird Photography Tip: Remember that hummingbirds are very territorial and so will stay in the same vicinity and use the same perch over and over. So find a perch and background that you like and wait for the hummingbird to come to you. It will yield better results with less stress for the hummingbird and for you.
Bird Photography: Anna's Hummingbird, Calypte anna at Arizona Sonora Desert Museum by Jeff Wendorff

Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna at ASDM

Bird Photography Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Image Gallery

All of these images were taken during just 2 bird photography sessions at the museum. I think you’ll agree that it is well worth the trip to photograph the birds at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

Bird Photography – Jeff Wendorff’s Portfolio

You can see all of my bird photography as well as order prints or request image licensing on my website…HERE.

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