Thought sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico typically serve as the region's best backdrop for stunning photography, Southwest Florida is an exceptional location for bird-watching, and few subjects prove more satisfying than a prized shot of these magnificent creatures.
While the tendency of birds to move and to hide makes photographic capture a bit more challenging, professional training or experience is unnecessary for landing a great picture. In fact, all that is required for success in this pursuit is a keen awareness of surroundings and a nearby camera.
Though walking along Southwest Florida's many tranquil trails increases chances of encountering these majestic birds, they are commonly seen during everyday life. Despite usually failing to appreciate the winged audience, especially when they get inevitable blame for soiling our cars moments after a wash, Floridians are indeed fortunate to be surrounded by copious ornately-colored and ferociously-feasting birds.
Protected by an ability to depart rapidly when spooked, these animals are otherwise content to observe humans busily living life from ordinary perches atop trees, light poles, power lines, cars, boats, rooftops, and more.
Some of Southwest Florida's birds, like the mighty osprey, are exceptional fishers and tend to live by the water. Yet, many others do not depend on a diet of seafood. These birds are quite comfortable within the state's many inland swamps and grassy fields, where urban sprawl has constructed homes and shops right within their traditional habitats.
Just like so many residents who depend on airplanes for flight, Florida's mild winters makes it a popular destination for migratory birds. While some species, such as the sandhill crane, are more likely to be found in winter-time, others ignore the heat and tough out the rains all summer long.
So it does not matter if it's January or July, if you own a condo at the beach or a house in the suburbs, or even if possessing a zoom lens or megapixel-deprived camera phone. Stop to pay attention to those surrounding birds. Snap a few pictures. You may be surprised how capable the subject-matter will be at producing a great picture.
Be sure to view the above slideshow list, where I share ten of my own photos of Florida-based birds. Each was captured close to home and away from the fish-filled waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
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