Birds are such majestic creatures. We love to hear them chirp from the treetops and watch them soar through the sky. And since we love marveling at their beauty, sometimes we want to snap a pic when we spot a rare feathered friend. It can be a bit tricky, though, to capture them in photographs.
For all the bird fanatics who are amateur photogs, “Crap Bird Photography” was born. This Facebook group “is dedicated to those photos that aren’t up to scratch”, welcoming pics that come out blurry, shots where something got in the way, photos of birds looking goofy, over or underexposed pics, etc. As long as the photo has a bird in it and didn’t turn out too great, it can be shared here for the other 104k members to enjoy. We’ve compiled all of our favorite Crap Bird Photography posts for you to take a gander at, so be sure to upvote the ones that you think should be featured in National Geographic. (Or perhaps National Geo-crap-ic…) Keep reading to also find an interview with Dr. Kathi Borgmann, Communications Coordinator of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Then if you’re looking for more goofy animal photos, check out this CNN News piece next.
Swan… Confused Pigeon
We reached out to Dr. Kathi Borgmann, Communications Coordinator of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, to hear from an expert why bird watching is so special. “Birds are everywhere and pretty easy to spot, so watching birds can help us assess how the environment is doing,” Kathi told CNN News. “Watching birds is also good for our mental health and well-being. And getting to know the species in your neighborhood is just fun and gives you a sense of place.” We also asked Kathi if she had any tips for amateur bird photographers. “Don’t stress about getting a frame-filling perfect photo. Often some of the most striking shots are of a bird in its habitat,” she says. “Getting a good photo often involves spending a time with the bird, learning its behavior; this is a great way to combine birding and photography.” She even had tips for when to conduct your photo shoot. “Morning and evening light is your friend; don’t expect to get amazing photos during the middle of the day.”
When it comes to what we can learn by watching birds, Kathi told us that, “Citizen science programs like eBird at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, are repositories where people can report what birds they see and hear, which provides scientists with large amounts of data that can help us assess population health, understand migration patterns, and assess the impacts of climate change.” Lastly, she wanted to add that “crap” photographers shouldn’t be discouraged. “Even ‘bad’ photos can be useful to scientists,” Kathi notes. “Merlin Bird ID, the free app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that helps people identify what birds they see and hear, uses photos contributed by citizen scientists to put a name to a bird in a photo. Researchers have trained Merlin using machine learning technologies to identify a bird in a photo, which is where those ‘bad’ photos can be helpful. Without a variety of photos available Merlin wouldn’t be as good as it is.”
It Can Be Extremely Difficult To Capture The Beauty And Elegance With Which An Osprey Takes Off. So Glad I Was Able To Nail It
People’s fascination with birds has been around for a long time, but the term “bird watching” was coined relatively recently. According to the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), bird watching in the US began in the late 1800’s when conservationists began to raise concerns about the hunting of birds to use their feathers in the fashion industry. They proposed that rather than shooting the majestic creatures, people began to simply observe birds instead. Then in 1901, the book Bird Watching by Edmund Selous was published, popularizing the term.
After World War II, when binoculars had become more advanced and field guides with photos and descriptions or bird species were being published, interest in birding began to increase. Today, it’s still a wildly popular pastime, with organizations like the National Audubon Society, the American Birding Association and the National Wildlife Federation offering tips on how to attract birds to your own garden.
Bad Feather Day
ERIC explains that there are a few key ingredients for making birds feel at home, if you’re interested in inviting them to your yard to be watched or photographed. Perhaps the most obvious tactic in attracting any animal is feeding them. Birds love seeds like sunflower seeds or thistle seeds, but specialty items can bring in different types of feathered friends. ERIC mentions that suet cakes and sugar solutions will better your chances of finding woodpeckers or hummingbirds in your garden.
Water for drinking and bathing can also attract the attention of birds passing by. A yard with a variety of plants can be exciting for birds too. Just don’t tidy up too much, brush piles and dead leaves, sticks, moss, etc. can be great for birds to build nests with. Lastly, protection is important for many birds. A simple bird house can be appealing for them, as it will keep them safe from other animals and allow a break from constant sunshine or rain.
Though bird watching has been popular for many years, it saw a huge surge in popularity during the initial lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. eBird, an online database for birders to keep track of what they’ve spotted, saw a more than 40% increase in sightings in April 2020. Shops that sell bird seed and backyard birdfeeders also reported sale increases of 45-50%. Even Merlin, a bird identifying app, was installed on 200,000 new devices in February 2021, a 175% increase in downloads from the previous year. While businesses are now opening back up and society is slowly returning back to “normal”, it would make sense for the birding craze to die down. But the data suggests otherwise.
Accidentally Took This Today, Pretty Chuffed With How It Turned Out. Happy To See Me
Every Day, You And Your Camera, Can’t I Get Any Peace!!!
According to Quartz, visits to bird pages on Wikipedia are still well above their pre-pandemic levels. Curious bird watchers have also been using the Audubon app at much larger rates to seek bird information. Rebeccah Sanders, chief field and strategy officer of the National Audubon Society, credits the timing of the pandemic’s onset and the sudden boredom as possible reasons for the rise of birding. Most places locked down in the early spring “when all these new birds are sort of floating through people’s backyards and environments”. She went on to note that “people were also looking out their window a little differently”.
I Got Photo Bombed By An Emu Sticking Her Head Up Just As I Was About To Take A Pic Of The Pretty Peacock Showing Off
Welcome, Drone! We Eat Your Kind, Here
“If The Damn Paparazzi Keep Taking Photos, I’m Going To Give Him A Knuckle Sandwich!”
So what’s the appeal with bird watching? Crap Bird Photography has over 100k members, so we can only imagine how many fans there are out there of professional bird photography. Well, it’s hard to deny that birds are fascinating creatures. Oddly enough, they’re the closest living relatives to dinosaurs, and they’re spread all over the world, naturally residing on all seven continents. There are plenty of reasons bird watchers enjoy the hobby, but one that many of them note is how low-tech it is. While fancy binoculars can make the process easier and apps are useful for identifying birds, very little technology is actually required to enjoy birding. Just take your eyes outside or up to a window and chances are, you’ll spot something.
I Attempted To Take A Photo Of The Swan, Entering The Water Gracefully And Elegantly. Didn’t Quite Go To Plan
Sometimes When You Snap A Shot As You Think They Are About To Take Flight This Is What You Get. Big Ole Poo Bubble
The Important Thing To Remember In This Photo Is That I Am A Photography Teacher
Another reason avid bird watchers love the hobby is because it connects them with nature. Being outside and actually taking time to observe our environment is something we can easily forget to do, with our hectic schedules and tendencies to stay indoors nowadays. But it can be eye-opening to really notice the birds around us and remember that we share our world with them. Even if you live in the center of a big city, you can always find birds nearby. On that same note, getting outside and having some fresh air is great for our mental and physical health. Birding can be a refreshing and relaxing break from our mundane office jobs and lives spent staring at screens.
Too Fast To Focus Too Close For Comfort
Pulled The Car Over To Take A Look At The Bald Eagle. But It Was A Crow With A Slice Of White Bread
Love A Good Sunset Photo
Bird watching can also help people find a community and make new friends. Online groups like Crap Bird Photography may seem silly, but they’re a great way to bond with like-minded people. If you spot a bird you’re excited about, it’s great to have someone to tell who will share your enthusiasm. Bill Thompson, editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest, notes on the site that, “Bird watchers are, for the most part, the friendliest, most helpful, and most interesting people I’ve ever known. It makes no difference how much you know about birds or even if you know anything at all. If you’re interested in birds and want to learn, you’re one of the group—it’s an instant ‘in’.”
We Told You To Keep Your Mouth Shut!
How Long Do Worms Grow
Pssst… Hey You… I See You
Bird watching also promotes habitat conservation. While it was started by conservationists over a century ago, the community continues to be full of individuals who are passionate about protecting animals and the planet. Bill Thompson notes that “the study of birds invariably touches on a number of other subjects”, including biology, history, geography, sociology, and politics. “Developing an interest in birds quickly reveals just how intimately connected we are with earth’s other inhabitants,” Bill writes. “All living creatures are interdependent, but humans need birds in the world much more than they need us. Bird watchers, then, have the power to preserve and improve the planet for generations yet to come.”
Not Sure If This Osprey Was Sneezing Or If It Was Possessed. Either Way, Not A Good Look
Saw A Bald Eagle, Took Picture. Too Bright To See Phone Screen, Upon Review Camera Was In Selfie Mode
New Phone, Been Taken Panoramic Landscapes Then This Chap Came Along And Forgot To Switch Modes
Aside from simply watching birds, photographing them is another layer of the hobby. While it may be less relaxing when there’s a goal in mind of “getting the perfect shot”, taking pictures of birds can be extremely rewarding. According to wildlife photographer Esther Beaton, bird photography is an absolute thrill. She describes the act as hunting and stalking, causing her to become “calm, perceptive and aware” while she’s “in the zone”. Esther even mentions how addicting it can be “once you’ve had success”. She loves to hear the reactions audiences give to her photos as well. “It makes you feel proud when you’ve come up with a shot where others go ‘oooh, ahhh’.”
When Lunch Ruins Your Portrait
Proof That Birds Have Teeth
I Meant To Get A Nice Close Up Of My Happy Duck’s Face. I Hit The Macro Setting On Accident. So If You Ever Wanted To Look Up A Duck’s Nose Today Is Your Chance!
On her website, Esther also writes some of her “justifications” for doing bird photography. One of which being that “you can finally take that exotic trip to add another bird to your list”. Traveling is always exciting, but having the added motivation of searching for birds you couldn’t see at home is a great reason to take more trips. She also notes that bird photography can be inspiring for children to see, as it encourages them to also get out in nature and take part in conservation efforts. “Whether career or hobby, bird photography is intensely satisfying, both the process of being outdoors with the birds, and then doubly so afterwards when you get the pleasure of viewing your own piece of art,” Esther notes. “No wonder people get the bug.”
Had To Fix What I Missed
Next Year’s Met Gala Theme
Presented For Your Consideration
While these photos did not turn out how the photographers imagined, they’re still quite entertaining (and probably better than anything I could take!). Enjoy the rest of these comical attempts at photographing elusive birds, and don’t forget to upvote all of your favorites. Then let us know in the comments if you have any experience with bird watching or photographing! Do you find it relaxing and peaceful or does the difficulty of capturing the perfect shot frustrate you?
You Hum It And I’ll Play It
He Has A Tiny Trampoline
Loads Of Peacocks At The Resort This Weekend, Unique Legs On This One Though
He Stares At Us Evilly As We Work
I Ran To Grab My Camera To Take A Picture Of This Awesome Bird…….turned Out To Be A Leaf!
He’s Fine, Just Likes Lying In Weird Poses In Our Garden
Everyone Needs A Mini Me!
I Have Returned With Another Embarrassing Goose Photo
The Very Rare Pelican Orchid Blossoming
Can U See A Face At My Underflooff..hmmm That’s U Hooman
I’ve Missed Placed My Ornithology Book. Could Someone Please Identify This Bird. Thanks In Advance
Jabiru To Start
Pelican…but It Sort Of Gulped At The Wrong (Right?) Time
Tried To Take A Picture Of The Great Egret That Appeared Next To My Car
The Crap Dog Photography Really Accentuates The Crap Bird Photography In This Masterpiece
Got A Photo Of A Pīwakawaka (New Zealand Fantail) With Its Beak Open And It Was A Revelation
Picasso Couldn’t Do Better
Home Renovations Have Taken An Awful Turn!
Over Exposed Herring Gul,is This Art?
Not Something You Normally See At Coles. I Guess It’s Taking Advantage Of The Specials!
Can’t Decide If This Is The Most Amazing Photo I’ve Ever Gotten Or Wha
Does It Count Cause The Undies Are Clean? They Belong To Her Now Though
Note: this post originally had 62 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.