Bird Photography with a Camera Phone

by Miserere


While most bird photographers lust over 600mm f/4 lenses and $500 tripod heads, there are some of us out there who believe all one needs for successful bird photography is a camera phone. Yes, you read that correctly.

Exhibit A:
Miserere - Urban Red-tail HawkHere is a Red-tailed Hawk in its natural habitat, a bike rack in Boston. The reason it’s sitting there is because it had spotted a wounded grey squirrel, which can just about be seen below it, hiding under the bike rack’s feet. I took this photo with my BlackBerry Storm, which has a very wideangle lens; I was actually standing about 3m away from the bird (click on the photo to see the complete frame). I was going in closer to get a portrait but somebody had a run at the bird and shooed it away. While Red-tail Hawks in urban areas are used to human presence and generally are not bothered by us, they are still wild, birds of prey and should be approached with caution. Running towards them, screaming, is NOT recommended because a female hawk close to its nest will not hesitate to attack you.


Exhibit B:
David William - Urban Red-tail HawkYet another Red-tail Hawk, in one more of its typical hangouts, a fast-food joint in New York. This photograph was taken by David William on his iPhone. Please visit his blog to read the humorous account of how he found himself so close to this hawk: Excuse Me, Waiter…? There’s a Large Bird of Prey in My Soup.


See? There is no need for expensive, heavy equipment to photograph birds. A camera phone is enough.

I rest my case.


6 Responses to “Bird Photography with a Camera Phone”

  1. Arghhh! You’re a cruel, cruel man!

  2. I have found that I use my camera phone quite a bit. Have never went birding with one though 😉

  3. Mis, I can’t believe you didn’t have your ‘real’ camera on you … you used to carry it everywhere. Is all this rain making you lazy?

    Dave, you must be eating your heart out – you try so hard – buying 1000 mm glass and still struggling to get the bird to look close… and mis goes and gets the same bird with a mini ‘almost not’ camera…
    (Still, I hope you’ll keep trying… don’t give up hope… maybe you will need to take out a BB gun and start random shooting at the squirrels that get close to your house… leave a few dead squirrels to draw them in closer. Then, Mis will have nothing to compare with that 1000mm glass. (It may tempt him to carry his ‘real’ camera again… and maybe even go lens shopping for some ‘big’ glass. )

    • Rosey,

      There is no money for little lens shopping, let alone big lens shopping. My longest lens is a 400mm f/5.6, and I’ve been using it quite successfully lately for birding. Expect an article on that soon.

      As far as reach is concerned, nobody can touch The Black Dragon on Dave’s camera 🙂

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