Birds have been one of the greatest subject for photographers for centuries now because they have an inspiring beauty and mystify us with their gift of flight and diversity.
When it comes to photographing birds and their behavior, catching it on 'film' will add a tremendous visual impact and feeling to any picture. There are different locations where birds gather, but really the best place you may what to start is your backyard. The thing about birds is that they are busy little bodies and a bird feeder in the backyard is a great place to get a picture when they are feeding or even the bird in the air getting ready to pounce one of the birds that is currently feeding.
When you venture out of your backyard to look for birds to photograph your vehicle may just become your newest piece of equipment. Birds see our cars less of a threat then a person carrying a long lens underneath their arm. A vehicle makes for a great blind and along with this patience is a virtue. When you find a location such as a prime feeding ground, park a bit of a ways from it and stop your engine to cut down on noise that may scare them.
Standard,wide-angle and short zoom lenses can be used for photographing birds, but for serious bird photography, a quality 500 mm or 600 mm telephoto lens is ideal.
Please keep in mind to avoid any situation that can put stress on the birds and their surroundings. If you notice a bird that is starting to show any kind of stress, this means that there is a nest or chicks near by. Any further picture taking should be disengaged and you should leave the immediate area. As a photographer of birds or any wildlife, it is a good thing to remember not to put ourselves or the birds around us in any kind of danger.
Here are some good books on the subject:
Sterling Publishing Book: Bird Photography
The Art of Bird Photography II by Arthur Morris
Digital Nature Photography: The Art and the Science
The BetterPhoto Guide to Digital Nature Photography (BetterPhoto Series)
And some equipment:
NatureScapes Skimmer Ground Pod II, for Ground Level Bird & Wildlife Photography
The Skimmer is the ultimate support for ground-level bird and wildlife photography. Made with super heavy duty reinforced crush-proof injection molded plastic it isrugged yet lightweight, weighing less than 15oz. With a unique circular design, it allows you to slide camera equipment in any direction on the ground, even through mud, sand, and grass. And your equipment stays clean and dry, even in upto an inch and a half of water! Approximately 10" in diameter and 1.5" high, the Skimmer's flat bottom allows itto slide and pan easily along the beach or mud without scooping up earth, protecting equipment from grit and moisture. The sides are turned out slightly to push sand and mud out and away, helping to keep debris from coming over the top. A protected area inside the plate can even be used to store teleconverters, extension tubes, and other incidentals for quick access while shooting. The Skimmer was designed by photographers for photographers to meet their rigorous demands in the field.
Canon Telephoto EF 500mm f/4.0L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM Autofocus Lens
Canon Telephoto EF 600mm f/4.0L IS Image Stabilizer USM Autofocus Lens