How to Attract Birds


This week’s photo, taken March 30, 2013 in Magnuson Park in Seattle, WA, features my first SAVANNAH SPARROW of the year.

When I’m out walking the trails and looking for birds, my best strategy for drawing them in is to get out some food. No, not food for the birds – food for me. Murphy’s Law states, “When you can’t hold your camera or binoculars because your hands are full with food, that’s when the good birds will appear.”

Saturday, I’m standing in Magnuson Park with my binoculars and camera slung around my neck. It’s a gloriously beautiful spring morning, yet there’s not a bird in sight. So I decide to eat some breakfast. I pull out a peanut butter and jam sandwich and take a few bites, and then a few more. When I’m halfway done with my sandwich, I notice a sparrow-like bird flitting from bush to bush way across the field. But that bird is too far away to tempt me to put down my sandwich and pick up my camera. Besides, the contents between the two slices of bread are beginning to drip onto my fingers, so I’m kinda busy here. Then Murphy shows up, and the little bird flies directly towards me and lands on a lone shrub fairly close to my position. The bird is at eye level and it’s singing, the background is clean and uncluttered, and the lighting is fantastic! And I’ve got a sloppy sandwich in my hands without a napkin in sight.

After quickly shifting my messy meal to one hand, I grab my camera with both hands and take several shots of the sweet SAVANNAH SPARROW. A few seconds later, it flies away, but not before I get a decent photo. I also get creamy peanut butter and raspberry jam on my camera, but that’s a minor detail.


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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7 Responses to How to Attract Birds

  1. cathieborrie says:

    OOOOOO Mouth watering story! PB & J: YUM! Sweet wee sparrow!

  2. ginapoet says:

    Gorgeous photo!!!

  3. Reblogged this on Wedgwood in Seattle History and commented:
    Our Northeast Seattle Bird Guy, Joe Sweeney, tells how putting peanut butter on your camera is a sure-fire way to attract birds!

  4. This is hilarious, but also instructive! Murphy must have been a bird photographer. I have reblogged on Wedgwood in Seattle History.

  5. Charla says:

    I didn’t realize Murphy’s Law works with birds. I use it all the time to get people to return my phone calls. Just head for the bathroom, and the phone starts ringing. Works every time. 😉

  6. Dpapera says:

    funny !! Great photo. This little guy looks fluffy and well fed. He may have had his eye on your sandwich and checked your spot later for crumbs. Donna

  7. kitty robyn says:

    Just like the sandwich, you are spilling over with your sense of humor in this report. Thanks for the smiles. Kitty

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