Photographer captures gorgeous bird portraits with DIY feeder and camera trap

Feb 15, 2024

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photographer captures gorgeous bird portraits with DIY feeder and camera trap

Feb 15, 2024

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Carla Rhodes beneath the bird feeder
Northern Cardinal (female)

Few things make me happier than observing birds on my balcony and listening to them chirp. Photographer Carla Rhodes went a step further and built them a feeder that doubles as a tiny selfie booth. Her project Beneath The Bird Feeder celebrates those “ordinary” birds and other animals that visit our backyards through a series of gorgeous photos Carla kindly shared with DIYP.

Carla photographed her little feathered friends daily via a DSLR camera trap placed underneath the bird feeder during the winter of 2020-2021. And it’s not just the birds – the feeder also attracted some furry visitors like squirrels and deer mice. But it took more effort than simply placing the camera trap and some seeds into her backyard.

“Wintertime allows me to partake in one of my favorite pastimes… Feeding the birds,” Carla explains. But during the warmer months, “it’s simply unethical to hang a bird feeder in my area (Catskill Mountains, New York, USA).” It’s particularly tricky because they attract Black bears, but there are caveats with placing the feeders even during the winter.

“Ethical considerations were at the forefront of this project,” Carla says. “This included hanging the feeder in a tree away from house windows. If not cared for properly, bird feeders can be a vector for diseases, such as salmonella.” To avoid any of these issues, Carla regularly raked beneath the bird feeder to turn the soil below. She rotated the feeder to different branches, occasionally allowed it to be empty, and regularly disinfected it.

“Additionally, my garden stays ‘wild’ during the colder months, offering options beyond the bird feeder. Planting natives in my garden have been a big priority every year, providing food and cover for fauna. I strongly believe if you engage in feeding the birds, you should do it responsibly!”

Carla Rhodes beneath the bird feeder
Black-capped Chickadee

As she started doing this project, Carla kept wondering how the seeds would affect the ecosystem. And will it only attract birds? As it turns out – there were other little creatures interested in having their photo taken. Okay, they were looking for food, but let me fantasize. :)

Carla observed the animals that would gather, and their habits and behaviors. “When the sun went down, deer mice would gather the aforementioned seeds, caching them in a stone wall near the bird feeder,” Carla says. They often had help from “the adorable yet venomous Northern short-tailed shrew,” as Carla describes them. “When day broke, an assortment of looters (from birds to squirrels) would raid the cached bounty.”

“Insights into behavior continually intrigued me. Dark-eyed juncos were always the first birds to show up at the crack of dawn while Northern cardinals would always show up at dusk. I started to recognize regulars and grew particularly fond of a deer mouse with a notch in his/her ear, who I eventually named ‘Notches.’”

Carla Rhodes beneath the bird feeder
Flying Squirrel

We often look for beauty in distant lands and exotic animals. But Beneath the Bird Feeder reminds us to explore our own surroundings and find the beauty in the flora and fauna we often overlook. This is exactly what Carla wants to achieve with this project. “Imagine if we all paid attention, protected, and respected our immediate surroundings? I believe we’d make significant conservation gains,” Carla concludes. It’s all there waiting for us, we just have to open our eyes!”

Enjoy more of Carla’s beautiful photos below, and make sure to visit her website for more of her work.

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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3 responses to “Photographer captures gorgeous bird portraits with DIY feeder and camera trap”

  1. Mel Avatar
    Mel

    The first photo that is tagged ‘Black-capped Chickadee’ is actually a Tufted Titmouse, this one:

    https://www.diyphotography.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/04_2021_BTBF_CarlaRhodes.jpg

  2. Michael L Shwarts Avatar
    Michael L Shwarts

    The second photo is mislabeled. It should read Tufted Titmouse.

  3. Michael S Bahrke Avatar
    Michael S Bahrke

    Beautiful photos! I appreciate the time and the effort required in taking great photos.