top of page

4 Simple Steps to Having A Personal Wildlife Studio

A Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) grabs a peanut from a platform feeder.
Nutty Blue Jay

**Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read my full Affiliate Disclaimer here.

Being a wildlife and nature photographer living in the big city of Dallas, Texas

provides me with one huge obstacle. I don’t have deer or bald eagles stopping by for their photoshoot. But I do have one place that is peaceful, quiet, and has very few distractions. It’s a little place I like to call my backyard.

A few years ago I converted my backyard into my very own little wildlife studio and bird sanctuary. Think about it for a minute. You can have flowers, insects, and birds right outside your backdoor. It can truly be your personal wildlife haven. What better place is there to hone and improve your photography skills?

Here are some ideas for turning your backyard into your very own wildlife photography studio.

1. The best advice I can give you and probably the most important one. GO NATIVE! Only plant bushes, trees, and flowers that are native to your region or state. Why? It’s very simple. Native plants and flowers attract native insects like butterflies and bees. Native insects attract native wildlife like birds and lizards. It sounds simple and it is. When I went native, my photo opportunities increase tenfold. So, I’ll say it again. GO NATIVE!

2. Bird Feeders. Lots and lots of bird feeders. Research to find out what the birds in your area like to eat. Black Oil Sunflower Seeds are always a favorite. Pick up some hummingbird feeders for spring and don’t forget to grab some ears of corn for the squirrels in the area.

3. Use props. When you’re out and about and you see a limb on the ground that has interesting moss on it or maybe some brightly colored leaves, grab it. You can use a bucket; fill it with sand or rocks, and presto! You now have a stand for your prop. Place your props close to your feeders and get ready. It might take a little while for the birds to get used to them, but soon they will be using them as a perch before they go to your feeders. The more the better and be creative.

4. Have a water source. Water is a must for wildlife all year round so make sure it stays full of fresh water in the summer months and it doesn’t freeze in the winter. Most birds like running water. Anything that makes the water move or ripple will work. I started with a Water Wiggler but my dogs kept eating it. I finally designed my bird fountain and the birds love it. Tracy and I always get a kick out of watching the birds splashing around and I’m sure you will too.

These are just a few ideas I’ve tried over the years. Be creative. It’s your backyard! What are some of your ideas?

A  Long-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma longirostre) stand alert in South Texas.
The Thrasher

If this is your first time visiting my website or reading one of my blog posts, welcome, and thank you for joining us. Please subscribe here so you can receive updates on the next blog posts on Backyard Birding. You will also receive occasional discounts and newsletters. Please share my blog and galleries with family and friends! Remember to follow the Nature First and Leave No Trace principles and always strive to leave places better than you found them.

Until next time, keep the sun behind you and the birds in view.


311 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


David Cutts
David Cutts
Jan 25, 2021

Thank you Lana for the great comment. I appreciate it. Going native makes a huge difference. I sware by it. I'm glad to hear you're doing your part. BTW, beautiful image.


I love photographing all manner of critters (and plants) in my back and front yards! I also agree about growing native plants! =D It's been fun learning about what's native to Texas and especially making plant and seed swaps to bring more of those plants to our property. I dream of adding a wildlife pond to our backyard, but I'm still learning about it. Here is a Texas Flower Scarab in one of my prickly pear cactus flowers last year. There were several of these beetles flopping around inside the flowers like they were drunk on pollen - it was entertaining watching their antics! Haha. =)

bottom of page