15 Stunning Photos That Capture the Striking Beauty of Birds

With warmer weather comes more sunshine, spring flowers, and beautiful bird sightings. From owls to orioles, we’ve collected some of the best reader-submitted bird photos.

Canada goose

canadagooseVia, Joanne Killmer“One early spring morning, I noticed this Canada goose with her goslings sleeping comfortably underneath her wing. It was a particularly cool morning and her little ones needed warmth. I quickly grabbed my camera, hoping they wouldn’t move a feather until I had a chance to capture the moment. I was thrilled to see Mom and babies still snuggled in as I snapped this photo. I never knew Canada geese did this. So adorable!” Joanne Killmer, Rindge, New Hampshire

Baltimore oriole

baltimoreorioleVia, Craig Watts“I had just put my oriole feeder outside when this Baltimore oriole stopped by for a picture. I love the contrast of the red begonia with the orange breast of the oriole.” Craig Watts, Hartsburg, Missouri Bonus Bird Tip: Did you know that fruit and nectar plants attract orioles, too? Try trumpet vine and crabapple trees.

Blue grosbeak

bluegrosbeakVia, Dori Montgomery“A splotch of blue gently swaying up and down on a piece of dried sea grass caught my eye as I was walking with my husband. I got closer, little by little, so that I didn’t frighten it. The blue grosbeak clung to its grass perch and I got the shot.” Dori Montgomery, Rimersburg, Pennsylvania

Content continues below ad

Barred owl

barredowlVia, Kathryn Aldrich“Last summer, I was lucky enough to see two barred owls in Tualatin Hills Nature Park on several occasions. I was scanning the forest again in hopes of spotting them when I saw them together about 25 feet into the forest. One flew off in pursuit of something, and just up the trail, I came upon it. The owl was 6 feet up in a tree. I watched while at least 10 people walked right by it, not knowing what they were missing! I’ll admit I didn’t tell them, because I didn’t want the owl to get spooked and fly off.” Kathryn Aldrich, Beaverton, Oregon

Nuttall's woodpecker

nuttallswoodpeckerVia, Ramouna Minooeifar“My mother has plenty of oak trees in her yard, and this male Nuttall’s woodpecker was trying to make a safe nest for himself and his mate. I watched the woodpecker pair for days and took a lot of photos. This was my best one.” Ramouna Minooeifar, Gold River, California Bonus Bird Tip: Did you know that although associated with oak trees, Nuttall’s woodpeckers eat a small number of acorns?

Western tanager

westerntanagerVia, Geri Anne Abeyta“Don’t you love it when you’re in the right place at the right time? In late May, I was in the kitchen making hummingbird nectar and happened to glance out the window. A male western tanager was sitting on my oriole feeder, which I’d filled with orange marmalade. A tiny drip on his beak revealed he’d already had a taste. I snapped several photos before this brilliant creature flew away.” GeriAnne Abeyta, Espanola, New Mexico

Content continues below ad

Ruby-throated hummingbird

rubythroatedhummingbirdVia, Julia Bartosh“At the start of migration, I noticed an influx of male hummingbirds, but I had put off photographing them because of the heat and humidity of central Alabama. A day dawned that was cooler but rainy. Overcast weather isn’t the best for photographing hummingbirds, but I went outside anyway. The clouds broke just enough to bounce light off the big puffy clouds overhead, and the hummingbirds were going crazy. I spent several hours with this particular male ruby-throated hummingbird. I like this shot because it’s an unusual glimpse into the secret life of hummingbirds.” Julia Bartosh, Notasulga, Alabama Bonus Bird Tip: Did you know that to keep clean, hummingbirds preen their feathers after a bath or a visit to a mister?

Northern cardinal

northerncardinalVia, Lesley Jeal“This northern cardinal stopped by our Kanzan cherry tree last spring. It was such a stunning sight to look out of my kitchen window to see a bright red bird among lush pink cherry blossoms. I looked twice to make sure of what I saw. The cardinal stayed perfectly still long enough for me to capture the splendor.” Lesley Jeal, Manchester, Michigan

Eastern bluebird

easternbluebirdVia, Ralph Kiertianis“A flock of 20 eastern bluebirds spent the season in my yard and I kept them happy with plenty of mealworms! This picture is by far my favorite.” Ralph Kiertianis, Griswold, Connecticut

Content continues below ad

Black-capped chickadee

blackcappedVia, Steph DeFerie“Who doesn’t love a black-capped chickadee? This little bird was so calm and allowed me to get quite close while it enjoyed sniffing the flowers on my back porch. I love the specks of pollen on its face.” Steph DeFerie, Harwich, Massachusetts

American robin

americanrobinVia, Dwayne Proffitt“An American robin built her nest in a tree right by our front porch and, of course, we kept a close eye on it. One day, I checked on them and discovered that the wind had blown the nest out and the babies were lying on the ground. We put the nest back in the tree and very carefully placed the babies in as well. Within minutes, the mother robin was back and all was well again. We had so much fun watching these little guys, especially observing how the father robin played a part in caretaking.” Dwayne Proffitt, Tiskilwa, Illinois Bonus Bird Tip: Did you know that American robins may have as many as three broods per year?

Red-bellied woodpecker

redbelliedwoodpeckerVia, Jeri Hughes“In March, we watched a red-bellied woodpecker pair build a nest in the top of a dead tree in our backyard. Soon after, they were proud parents of a baby! It was amazing to watch this sweet family prepare for and nurture its young.” Jeri Hughes, The Woodlands, Texas Bonus Bird Tip: Did you know that red-bellied woodpeckers may nest in the same tree year after year, but will create a new hole?

Content continues below ad

OrioleorioleVia, Roger Parsons“For whatever reason, this oriole would only take the white yarn, When the white was gone, it quit coming. We put more white yarn out and it was back!” Roger Parsons, Mifflintown, Pennsylvania

Great kiskadee

greatkiskadeeVia, Sylvia Hiltz“My husband and I love our bird-friendly backyard. We had a slow start, but once we cleared an area for seed distribution and set out a couple of birdbaths, it was only a matter of time before we began seeing colorful birds. After three years of avid bird-watching, we saw our first-ever great kiskadee last spring. What a beautiful sight!” Sylvia Hiltz, Carrizo Springs, Texas

Lesser goldfinch

lessergoldfinchVia, Anne Girton“Last spring, I had the pleasure of visiting Tucson, Arizona, when plants were exploding with blooms and wildlife was everywhere. I’ll admit, I got a little obsessed with getting the perfect shot of a hummingbird or bird-of-prey. But in doing so, I realized I was overlooking many other beautiful birds, like this female lesser goldfinch. This photo is one of my favorites because of how the flowers frame the bird.” Anne Girton, Edina, Minnesota

Content continues below ad

View as Slideshow

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.