We do all sorts of things to attract birds to our yards — from feeders to the right kinds of plants. And while we may do this to support birds and the larger food web, we also do it because we enjoy seeing nature somewhat up close.
Sometimes these glimpses are all too fleeting, or we miss the birds entirely because we're off doing other things. We have lives, and so do the birds!
Luckily, there's a way to enjoy the birds even while you're not looking. The Bird Photo Booth device captures birds as they land on a feeding dish, giving you an image of the feathered creature in its natural setting. These photos from Michigan-based photographer Lisa, who goes by the name Ostdrossel, demonstrate why you may want to invest in one.
The Bird Photo Booth uses a motion sensor to activate a camera encased in a weatherproof case. When a bird lands on a feeding bowl placed on a small lever, the camera activates, taking pictures and video that can be streamed to another device.
This non-intrusive way of getting up close and personal with birds appealed to Lisa. When she moved to the United States from Germany, she saw birds she hadn't seen before, like cardinals. She had married into a birdwatcher family and her academic background is in wildlife documentaries in East Germany, so she was curious to get closer to the birds that were visiting her yard.
Originally, she started off with a regular camera, but after some research, she found the Bird Photo Booth, and it was exactly what she was looking for. She set up the photo booth, along with nest boxes equipped with cameras. "I really love birdwatching," she explained to MNN in an email.
Additionally, she and her family made their garden as wildlife-friendly as possible, foregoing pesticides and making planting choices that benefit bugs and insects.
The device has given Lisa exactly the sort of experience she wanted. She estimates that she's seen somewhere around 30 different species, a number that surprised her a bit. The number of birds increases in the warmer months, however, something Lisa is excited about.
"I am always looking forward to spring and summer when the migrants come here and everybody has babies and brings them to the yard," she said.
The camera provides Lisa the chance to get close to the birds without actually infringing on their personal space.
"The booth pictures reveal, or seem to reveal, the bird's personalities in a way that I was not able to capture before," Lisa said. "They can be very funny (doves are super goofy) or sad or awe-inspiring or beautiful."
Certainly this blue jay looks a little sad and beautiful at the same time.
Lisa is always thinking about how to keep the birds coming back, too, so she can get more and different shots.
"Going through my photos each day and figuring out new creative ways to get this or that bird to visit," she said, "is an everyday pleasure that I would not want to miss from my life."
The pictures are more than just a fun hobby for Lisa, however. She shares them on a few different social media platforms, and she finds "that people are yearning for pure and beautiful things," like birds captured in an unguarded moment.
"I also think it helps raising awareness for our natural surroundings," she continued. "Learning more about nature is always a good thing, and this is an easy way to get into that. So for whoever is interested in seeing their birds closer to see what they do and enjoy their beauty, I would absolutely recommend it."
The Bird Photo Booth may not be for those "who are not tech savvy or who have big fingers," Lisa said. Patience, of course, is also required. Just because you've installed the device doesn't mean the birds will come flocking over immediately.