Wild Bird Photography in the Philippines – Part 2

This is so far a 3 part series of what wild bird photography is to me. I would probably evolve this series over time to make it current as much as possible.
Wild Bird Photography in the Philippines – Part 1
Wild Bird Photography in the Philippines – Part 3

Previously, on Wild Bird Photography in the Philippines – Part I, I discussed how I got into it and the things one needs to have to start photographing wild birds.

In this article, I’ll list down where you would often find birds. And you bet it right, you probably have been thinking that it is always in a zoo. 🙂 But you may have noticed though that I am prefixing bird photography with the word ‘wild’ in my previous article, and this is because bird photography can also include photographing birds in captivity. It may be cute to photograph birds inside a cage, but wild bird photography is for the real bird photographers.


The next most asked question one would ask me regarding this interest is where I get to photograph these birds. In the Philippines, there are over 600+ species of birds that you can shoot. And the number has been increasing as some new sightings of species that don’t usually range in the country. Some are commonly seen, some seldom seen, and some have never ever been photographed. With the country’s 7100+ islands, one can imagine how dispersed our avian friends are in this archipelago. Some birds can only be found in certain islands in the country. For example, a Tiger Shrike (Lanius tigrinus), which can be found in some Eastern Asian countries, has only been recorded to have occurred only once in Jolo, Sulu sometime in 1887 and this is according to A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines. So if one is really bent on taking chances and going for a Tiger Shrike expedition, one should go to Jolo, Sulu.

So far, I have only been to a few places to do some serious bird photography. The farthest up north I had was in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte and down south was in Negros Occidental. I am hoping to go to more birding sites as I progress.

So where do I find birds?

There are lots of common and unusual places where birds can be found. You just have to know and find the reasons why they are there. First, there are different types of birds, and each type has their specific habitats. For example, there is what we call shorebirds and they are usually found on our shorelines. Second, we have to know why they get attracted to certain places. It could be that there are lots of food and water sources in the area or they may be feeling secured in one particular area.

On the other hand, knowing when birds aren’t in the area can help a lot too. If the area doesn’t have any fruit tree, you would know there is less chance seeing a fruit eating bird. If the area allows rampant hunting, probably some birds will leave if they feel threatened. In most cases though they just get shot so you won’t find birds in there.

So, back to our question, where do we find birds?  I’ll try to list down the usual places where one can find birds.

  1. Where There Are Trees/Vegetation. It is almost guaranteed where there are significant clusters of trees and vegetation, there could be birds. Trees can be found almost everywhere but seeing one in significant clusters are becoming of an issue nowadays due to unnecessary tree-cutting. Forests still do represent an ecosystem where trees abound. One can go to various types of forests to photograph birds. There are lowland forests, some can be found in higher altitude, and some forests dot our coastlines. Some are natural and some are man-made. All these types of forests provide an ecosystem where different kinds of birds can thrive.
  2. Near Bodies of Water. Another potential ground where one can find birds are areas near bodies of water such as streams, rivers, lakes, shores, etc. Like any other living things on this planet, birds need water. Even small potholes of water offer birds some comfort. The likelihood of seeing a good number of bird species increases when these bodies of water are near trees and vegetation, or food sources.
  3. Near Food Sources. Another good site where birds congregate are areas where there are enough food for them to thrive. Some birds thrive on nectars so where there are flower, they are also there. Some birds eat insects, so where there are lots of insects, birds could be there. Some birds love fish, and one knows where to find these marine beings. You just have to know a birds’ diet and find those places where they could fatten their bellies.
  4. Where They Can Build Their Nests. Now this is a more difficult place to find as most birds hide their nests from anyone’s view. Some build their nests on rocks, some on the ground, some on the sand, some on a branch of a tree, and some even build on man-made structures such as tall buildings. Some birds don’t even build their nests in the country. J One needs to study more about birds to be able to locate their nests.
  5. Where Humans Are. Some birds have adapted well to people. And where people go, they go there too. These birds usually scavenge human leftovers and wastes.

Virtually, one can find birds almost everywhere but one needs to know certain bird characteristics to be effective in finding specific species.

Wild Bird Photography in the Philippines – Part 1
Wild Bird Photography in the Philippines – Part 3

Check out my album of Philippine birds!


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