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Photographing Winter Birds in Kingston, Ontario

Simon's background is in biomedical and health science. He also writes about fashion, nature, and photography.

Winter Birds in Kingston, Ontario

This winter, I became fascinated with bird photography. At first, most of my photos were taken from quite a distance. But eventually, I found the perfect location: a wooded area near my house where many birds were congregating. I started getting more close-up shots. Here in Kingston, Ontario, I saw many winter birds:

  • Robins
  • Chickadees
  • Woodpeckers
  • Nuthatches
  • House finches

The robins and chickadees were by far the most common birds. I saw woodpeckers a few times. Nuthatches and house finches, however, were not as common. You will see all these birds below.

What Inspired My Bird Photography Passion?

This past winter, January to be exact, my interest in birds was sparked when I was out taking pictures of snowy winter scenes in a small wooded area near my house. During my photo shoot, I saw a robin land on a branch meters away from me. I wanted to take its picture, but I didn't have the proper lens to get a good close-up shot. I then started using my telephoto zoom lens, a 70-300 mm for my photos. Since then, I've been actively taking photos of birds.

Challenges of Bird Photography

I've found bird photography to have a few challenges.

  • It often takes patience, as you have to wait until they come to take a photo.
  • The other difficult thing is some birds are fast and don't stay stationary. This means you have to be quick with your hands to capture a good photo of them.
  • The other challenge is to identify the birds. As I'm relatively new to this type of photography, I don't know too many birds by their common names. What has helped me is an app that was developed by Cornell University called Merlin Bird ID. It has a photo option where you can take a photo or upload a photo from your library, and it will identify the bird in your picture. It has been very useful, and I love the app!
Robin in the snow

Robin in the snow

1. Robin

Most of the robins I see are walking on the ground searching for food. I believe this is a male robin, as their colours are more vibrant than the females. I love the sharp details of the robin's head. The photo is mostly dark, but the robin's orange underside and the snow add brightness to the photo.

Woodpecker pecking on a tree

Woodpecker pecking on a tree

2. Woodpecker

This is one of my best woodpecker photos. I saw a woodpecker another time near the ground, but all my photos of it didn't turn out—they were out of focus.

I like the profile of the bird. You can see its prominent beak and, just barely, its red head marking. The only thing I don't like about this photo is that the bird appears small because of the large distance from which it was photographed. I wish I had a close-up shot of it.

Nuthatch resting on a tree trunk

Nuthatch resting on a tree trunk

3. Nuthatch

Before capturing this photo, I didn't know nuthatches existed. It was wonderful to learn that these grey birds had a name. The Merlin Bird ID app really helped me to identify these birds.

This is not one of my favourite photos. I don't like the bird's post, as it appears awkward. Also, the overall colours are very drab. I wish I had the blue sky in there.

One good thing is that the bird does look kind of cute in this photo.

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House finch on a branch

House finch on a branch

4. House Finch

I have only seen these house finches twice since January. They are among the rarer birds. However, they are quite pretty with their red and brown features.

I like the bird's pose in this photo. It looks very stately here. I also like how the branches transverse the photo diagonally. What I don't like is the silhouette effect of this photo due to the bright background. It makes seeing the details of the bird more difficult.

Chickadee resting on a tree branch

Chickadee resting on a tree branch

5. Chickadee

Chickadees are notoriously difficult to photograph. They are small birds that move very quickly. They don't tend to stay stationary for a very long time. I was lucky here to have captured the bird on this branch.

I love the blue sky in this photo because it adds a very calming mood to the photo. I also like the bird's pose here. Overall, it's one of my favourite photos.

I've Learned So Much About Birds!

I've been out shooting birds since the beginning of the year, and I have noticed a few things. Robins are very common in my area. I see them almost every time I've gone out. Chickadees are also very common. They tend to be quick movers. I have also seen woodpeckers a few times. You can hear them pecking the trees. Birds that are less common are nuthatches and house finches.

I hope you enjoyed viewing them as much as I enjoyed capturing them in photos.


Simon Lam (author) on April 20, 2018:

Hi Larry!

Thank you for your comment and positive feedback! I agree the birds are really amazing little creatures, so beautiful and free. It would definitely be a dull world without the birds. I love going out and capturing them on camera--so magical!

Take care!

Larry W Fish from Raleigh on April 20, 2018:

I loved your story about the winter birds, Simon. I love watching birds, they truly are amazing little creatures. They bring so much joy watching them. Can you imagine a world where there were no birds? It would be a dull world indeed. Thanks for sharing and great photos.

Simon Lam (author) on March 29, 2018:

Hi Mary!

Thank you so much for your sweet comment! It's amazing that there are a variety of birds that winter in Ontario. They are a welcomed sighting and are just beautiful!

Take care!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 29, 2018:

Love your pictures of these birds. We were in the cottage last weekend and saw many birds. It was our first to be there with lots of snow and the birds surprised us.