Backyard birds through the eyes of a Collegian photographer

Ryan Schmidt

With COVID-19, many people are finding themselves stuck in their homes. Finding a new hobby can be important during this time, and many are turning to birding as a relaxing way to pass time. The best part is, it is not even necessary to leave the house to see plenty of unique and interesting birds. This photo series features some of the common birds seen in a Colorado backyard, as well as a few less common ones. All of the photos were taken in my backyard in Boulder, Colorado.

I love bird-watching and bird photography because it is a great way to stay connected to nature no matter where I am, and there are always subjects to take photos of. I hope that these photos help highlight the beauty of even the simplest sparrow or robin. Some of the most interesting wildlife can be right in your backyard; you just have to look. 

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  • A pair of Cooper’s hawks on May 21, 2019. Cooper’s hawks and the similar sharp-shinned hawks are keen hunters. This pair was feeding on a freshly caught rabbit. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A black-capped chickadee flies off a fence on Nov. 29, 2019. Chickadees are small birds that are common visitors to backyards and feeders. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A downy woodpecker on a tree on April 16. These small woodpeckers are common to backyard trees, and males can be spotted by their bright red cap. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • An American robin looks for food on April 27. Robins are symbolic of spring and can be heard singing while gathering food and building nests. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A black-capped chickadee spreads its wings on Nov. 28, 2019. Chickadees are small birds that are common visitors to backyards and feeders. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A blue jay sits on a fence on April 27. Blue jays can easily be identified by their bright color and loud calls. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A European starling sits on a branch on April 16. Starlings appear to be simple blackbirds at first glance, but they have beautiful plumage with iridescent colors. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • An American goldfinch sits on a branch on April 16. Goldfinches are easily spotted by their brilliant color. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A finch defends its food from a dark-eyed junco on Nov. 30, 2019. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A blue jay rests on a branch on Nov. 27, 2019. Blue jays can easily be identified by their bright color and loud calls. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A pair of wood ducks in a small irrigation ditch running through the end of a backyard on April 27. Wood ducks are some of America’s most colorful ducks, but they may not be common to all backyards. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A white-crowned sparrow sits on a branch in the snow April 16. These sparrows are common visitors to backyards and feeders. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A house finch sits on a branch on April 16. Male house finches have bright red heads and breast feathers, while females are more brown. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A black-capped chickadee ready to fly on Nov. 28, 2019. Chickadees are small birds that are common visitors to backyards and feeders. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A northern flicker sits in the snow on April 16. Flickers are a common backyard woodpecker that can be found feeding in trees or the ground. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

  • A European starling sits on a branch on April 16. Starlings appear to be simple blackbirds at first glance, but they have beautiful plumage with iridescent colors. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

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Ryan Schmidt can be reached at photo@collegian.com or on Instagram @ryan_t_schmidt.