While it’s possible to take phenomenal bird photos anywhere, dedicated birding lodges provide unparalleled opportunities for amazing composition, dramatic backgrounds, and diverse species – all waiting for the camera.
What is a Birding Site or Lodge?
Birding lodges are specialized eco-lodges that take deliberate steps to attract and nurture local birds. For birders traveling to unfamiliar areas, visiting a lodge is a great option for all-inclusive bird photography and a chance to see endangered species of birds. I often get my best photographs right on the properties. The gardens and feeding areas on the property attract all types of birds, and it’s very convenient to set up and see what visits.
Near or Far; These Sites are Built for the Best Bird Photography
I’ve been privileged to visit lodges all over the world. The lodges with the prettiest gardens often yield the best bird photography options, but it depends on the time of year and every site has something unique to offer. Visiting right after the rainy season is best, as the plants are most lush and flowers are in bloom. No matter when you visit, however, the golden hours at sunrise and sunset are ideal, as birds are actively feeding and the changing light creates amazing drama and coloring.
I prefer to spend at least three days at a single lodge, since traveling, packing, and unpacking can take up a lot of time. Once there, I always work with a local guide who can bring me to the birds, their nesting spots, good feeding areas, nearby colonies, and other special hotspots. Any guide worth his salt has a great memory for the birds, both visually and audibly, which allows me to focus more completely on photography without missing any birds. Many times local guides have been able to take me right to the birds I’m most wanting to photograph.
Birding Sites and Lodges are Wildlife Conservation Hot Spots
One of the best parts of visiting a birding lodge, however, is how each visit supports bird and wildlife conservation. Because eco-tourist lodges rely on healthy habitats and unique wildlife to attract business, they go to great lengths to support endangered species of birds and diverse wildlife. This brings even more stunning photography opportunities right to the lodge, and every visit supports not only the wildlife but local economies as well. What could be better?