A friend of mine recently took his bird watching hobby to another level. Armed with a 400mm lens, a scope and a sturdy tripod, he and his wife scour the local area for birds. The absence of leaves makes it easier to find them. [1]

I met up with them a few times when they’re about to wrap up their exploits for the day. They kindly let me peer through their equipment. I can see [2] the appeal of the hobby. Watching the birds move and interact through the scope reminded me of nature documentaries I’d seen. Which then made me think of my smartphone.

My first thought was to capture an image of a bald eagle. I didn’t really expect placing my silly smartphone on a scope lens would work. But then I got this:

A small bald eagle.

Then later on I thought “Why the heck am I limiting myself to static images?”

The first video is of a hummingbird in its nest. The videos are overexposed - probably due to the camera overcompensating for darkness of the eyepiece guard. At the regular setting you couldn’t see anything - these are stopped down by two f-stops - the most my camera software would allow me to go.

The original videos are not as stable as what you see here. It’s hard to keep your hand steady. Youtube has a nice stabilization feature. I’ve defaulted the videos to the top quality. If it’s too slow feel free to view at a lower rate.

[1]The birds, not my friends.
[2]No pun intended.