How to make a ‘hide’ to photograph birds

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How to make a ‘hide’ to photograph birds

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Bird blinds are structures used to allow humans to get a closer look at birds in their natural habitat without disturbing the bird’s natural behaviors. Make a simple bird blind with a large cardboard box, or a more permanent blind with a wood frame and camouflage netting. Place the blind in an area where birds already visit frequently. Make the inside of the blind comfortable so it is easy to sit quietly. Place the blind in a shaded area to prevent the inside from becoming too hot during the day.


Set the cardboard box so that the long side is horizontal to the ground. Cut along the horizontal edges at the top and bottom of the left side of the box. Repeat on the right side. Cut along one vertical edge on the left and one vertical edge on the right side of the box. This creates a flap on each end to allow easy entrance and air circulation.


Measure the length of the box, with each side flap extended, and measure the height of the box. Cut a rectangle of camouflage netting that is at least 36 inches longer than the length of the box and at least three times as wide as the height of the box. For example, if the box measures 5 feet wide with the flaps open and 3 feet high, a rectangle of netting at least 8 feet long and 9 feet wide. Larger is better so the netting can be spread out at an angle from the box.


The "front" of the box is the side where the flaps are still connected to the box. Crawl inside the box and sit comfortably. Use the marker to draw a rectangle at eye level. The rectangle can be large if desired, but no more than one-third of the height of the box to preserve the structure of the box. Cut out the rectangle with the utility knife.


Place the netting over the box so that it extends over all of the sides and reaches the ground. Adjust the netting to ensure the box is not visible from the "front." Draw a line of glue around the edges of the top and drape the netting in place. Allow the glue to dry completely.


Place the blind outside in a shaded area close to the desired bird viewing location. Spread the netting out so it creates a tent like shape, rather than a rectangle. Use rocks to hold the netting in place on the ground. Place pillows or cushions inside the box to allow for comfortable seating. Sit quietly and observe the birds.


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