I live in a condo in Colorado so although I have perches set up on my deck to photograph birds, I don't have the space for big setups with blinds, multiple perches or a wide variety of backgrounds. When I found out I would be spending a few months in Louisiana during the pandemic, I made sure to pack my portable blind as our family has a few acres on the North Shore region of Lake Ponchartrain near New Orleans. This also gave me an opportunity to photograph without the need to be around people. I searched the yard and neighborhood for the best branches: sturdy limbs that weren't too thick, a little bit of moss and lichen on the branches for a bit of color, and horizontal limbs attached to a vertical piece so I could attach it to the posts. I researched bird seed that would be appropriate for the local songbirds. I used garden poles to attach the limbs and spaced them out in a staggered, slightly rounded formation around the two bird feeders, with the horizontal branches facing towards the feeders. It took a few tries to get my setups, bird seed, space and backgrounds right, but once I did, the birds did not disappoint. At least a dozen different types of birds visited the perches, including eastern bluebirds, pine siskins, American goldfinches, Carolina chickadees, and more. My ultimate goal, however, was the vibrant "red bird," a name I hear the locals use for the cardinal. This male cardinal came in and sat for quite a while on one of my perches, tilting his head back and forth for an abundance of photo options. I love the combination of complementary colors of red and green, the soft muted light, and the distant background, all aspects for successful blind photography.
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Clare Disano • Editor