Environmental Portraits of Birds

Black-Bellied Plover
(clear water to increase the sense of solitude)
When photographing birds, I usually want to get as close to the bird as possible to fill the frame, or nearly fill the frame, with the bird.  Of course, there's nothing wrong with this, but many times I notice that the bird's environment is just as beautiful as the bird itself. Birds, after all, live in environments, and so the bird's environment can help you be interpretive of your subject.  So when you notice that a bird's environment is particularly beautiful or interpretive, zoom out a little (or don't crop so tightly) and let the bird live in the wild.

Great Egret
(I love bird with mangrove shots)
American Coot
Reddish Egret
(empty space can also be environmental)
Savannah Sparrow
(sometimes the environment can add texture to your photograph)

(the background does not have to be in focus)

(even when the bird is closer up, Spanish moss improves almost any image)