Summer Birds in Kingston, Ontario: A Photo Essay

Updated on October 4, 2018
Simon Lam profile image

Simon has been practicing photography for over three years and has recently gotten into bird photography.

Plenty of Colourful Summer Birds

I have been photographing birds since the start of 2018. I love bird photography because it's challenging but also rewarding to capture these beautiful creatures in images. The summer months brought with it a multitude of birds to Kingston, Ontario, more specifically close to my home in the city centre. I was able to capture catbirds, goldfinches, waxwings, common yellowthroats, starlings, sparrows, mourning doves, cardinals, warbling vireos, and robins. I have compiled the bird images into a photo essay that I hope you will enjoy looking through.

Summer Birds Close to Home

I started photographing birds at the beginning of the 2018. I love bird photography because I like capturing them in images and having a record of them. With a photo of them, I can then find out their names and learn a little more about each bird using my bird app. To me, birds are such beautiful animals. I like their shape, their wings, their beaks and eyes. I also love their plumage, some of which are so colourful and vibrant.

When I first started taking pictures of birds, it was in the winter time. There were fewer species of birds to capture then. The summer season brought with it many more birds.

I don't go very far from home to photograph them. There is a little pathway with a wooded area surrounding it close to my house. This is where I go to take pictures of birds. Some days are good and I see many different birds. Other days I don't see very many at all. The birds can be fast too so it's hard to capture them on camera. However, I do love this spot as birds do come here.

In this photo essay, I have gathered a collection of summer birds found in Kingston, Ontario. I hope you will enjoy seeing these marvellous creatures.


All of the photos were taken with a basic camera. I have a Canon Rebel T5 that I use with a 75-300mm telephoto zoom lens. As for settings, I often use f/5.6, ISO 800 or 1600, and usually a shutter speed of 1/500 or faster. I shoot free hand, meaning no tripod is used.

Grey Catbird

I saw this bird in the spring time as well. They are still around in the summer months. They are such interesting birds because their calls sound like a cat. Hence, the name, "Catbird." This time I was able to hear them call, and yes, they do sound like cats.

In the photo, you can clearly see its whole head, including its eye and beak. The rest of its body is obscured by leaves and branches of the tree. I still like the photo very much, as it's very sharp and nicely illuminated.

Grey Catbird
Grey Catbird | Source

American Goldfinch

These appear to be smaller birds. I love their yellow colouring around their neck. In this shot, I captured one from behind and from quite a distant. That's why the bird appears so small in the picture. The good thing is you can make out its eye, which is often the most important feature of the bird. I'm just not thrilled about the backside and the small appearance of the bird.

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch | Source

Cedar Waxwing

This bird has such a lovely brown hue. I also love its crest, making it look very regal. As you can see, this photo was shot from a far distant. That's why the bird looks so little. You can almost make out its eye, but it is quite difficult to see. I would have loved to see more of its lower body. Besides these negatives, it was great to see this species of birds.

Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing | Source

Common Yellowthroat

This is another small bird. However, in this photo, I was able to get a close up shot of it. I was very lucky. I love its yellow feathers. I also think it looks very cute due to its big eyes and little body. The one negative is the photo is a bit underexposed.

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat | Source

European Starling

I like this photo for its simplicity. There's just the bird and the electrical wire. The shape of the bird is quite obvious here. I love the shininess, almost iridescence, of its feathers. It's too bad that you can't make out its eye and most of the bird is in silhouette.

European Starling
European Starling | Source

House Sparrow

It's obvious that these birds were not captured in the wooded area. I still like the photo as it shows two birds. I also love how small they are, making them look very cute. Although they are not the most exotic birds, they are still a welcome sighting.

House Sparrow
House Sparrow | Source

Mourning Dove

Here's another bird on an electrical wire. This time you can clearly see its whole body and its eye. It has such beautiful varying shades of brown on its coat. Very pleasing! The only thing I don't like is the way its positioned. I don't like the awkward backward body position it's in. Other than that, it's not a bad photo.

Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove | Source

Northern Cardinal

Cardinals are one of my favourite birds. I just love their gorgeous red coat. They really stand out from the background. You can see there is a nice contrast between the red bird and the blue background. The only thing I don't like about this photo is that the bird looks quite small in it. I wished I had a close up shot of it. Anyways, I'm always excited to capture a cardinal!

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal | Source

Warbling Vireo

This Warbling Vireo is hiding behind the tree's leaves and branches. Can you see it peeking through the bush? Its green coat really blends in with its surroundings. Here, I like that you can see its eye. Otherwise, it's quite hidden.

Warbling Vireo
Warbling Vireo | Source

Juvenile Robin

Robins have been around since the winter time. What's new here is I managed to capture a juvenile robin. This is one of my favourite photos, probably the best out of the bunch. You can clearly see its eye and its whole body. The berries add a bit of interest to the photo too. I saw it eating the berries but I wasn't able to capture it. I love that I could get a close up shot of it. It literally flew into my view and was the perfect model while I took photos of it.

Juvenile Robin
Juvenile Robin | Source


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    • Simon Lam profile imageAUTHOR

      Simon Lam 

      22 months ago

      Hi Sophie!

      Thank you for your kind words! It is nice to see birds from different parts of the world! I'm so happy that you're into bird photography too. It's challenging but also fun!

      Take care!

    • sofs profile image


      22 months ago

      Great hub. It's always a joy to see birds from different parts of the world. I enjoy photographing birds too. Nice to find a kindred soul here.


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