The Bird Feeder is Not the Photo
While the photo of birds on the feeder can be cool, that’s not truly the goal of backyard bird photography. The goal is the photo of the bird off the bird feeder. Typically, this is the bird waiting its turn to go and feed. This makes the placement of the feeder not as critical as the perch you want to photograph the birds on prior and after their feeder visit. That perch should have a great background and the perfect light for the time of day you can spend shooting. In this case, this Sharp-shinned Hawk is not waiting his turn to feed at the feeder, but rather feed on what’s feeding at the feeder. It is a perfect example of the bird on the perch shot you want to be after.
The formula then is kinda simple. You’re offering the birds food, the feeder. You then offer them shelter in the form of a shrub or bush. Between that shrub (about 7-10′ away) is the perch you want them to land on. It’s a pretty simple formula and once you have it down, you’ll have lots to photograph and fun to be hand in the process!