Best Kayak for Bird Photography

Best Kayak for Bird Photography

Every one of us has seen at least once in our lives beautiful pictures of birds in their natural habitats. But do you know many of these photographs have been taken from a kayak for Bird Photography? However, this is not as simple as it may sound, and choosing the right boat for you may be tricky.

For starters, the Best Kayak for Bird Photography is one that can offer stability, is lightweight, and has enough room for gear storage. But most importantly, allows the user a wide mobility range as needed to get the perfect picture.

In this article, we will go through how to select the ideal boat for photographing birds and provide some pro tips that will help you take the perfect shot.

With these features taken into consideration, let’s take a look at the top 5 best kayaks for bird photography:

Top 5 kayaks for bird photography

1.  Old Town Loon 111: An 11 feet long recreational kayak, shorter than other kayaks, therefore lighter. It weighs 45 pounds, stable, and has a capacity of 275 pounds. The cockpit is broad enough that you can store your camera equipment and place a tripod in front of you.

2.  Malibu X-13: This fishing kayak works for bird photography as well. It provides stability in its 13 foot 10 inches in length and 29 inches in width. It has a favourable straight glide, and many users have commented that this kayak can hold a 200-pound man and a small child. Not only talking about the capacity but the stability as well. It’s safe enough to use it for a Father/Son activity.

3.  CD Whistler: This is an intermediate kayak. More versatile than others we have on our list due to the capability to adapt to different water conditions, from flat to choppy water. This boat maintains its stability, and the best part of all is that it has few chances of getting you and your equipment wet.

4.  WS Pungo: This kayak model is ideal for beginners. With its short 12-foot length and 49 pounds weight, it is very easy to manoeuvrer. It has a large cockpit, so it’s an ideal kayak to go do bird photography in this on flat waters. Otherwise, everything, including you, will get wet.

5.  Heritage Featherlite: Another model perfect for beginners. It weighs 33 pounds, so it is pretty easy to handle by yourself, even after a long day of paddling and bird photography. The flat bottom of this kayak gives considerable initial stability that makes it easier for the user to load it and to enter and exit the boat. It’s very easy to manoeuvrer, and the cockpit size is big enough for all your equipment.

So there you have it, our top 5 Best Kayaks for bird photography. It is important to note that you, as a user, have to be clear on what your goals are so you can choose the kayak that best fits your needs, body type, and paddling abilities.

Best Sites to go for bird photography in the UK

Now that we have our Best Kayak for Bird Photography, we only have to figure out where to go. And here, we recommend our Top 4 picks for marvellous sites to visit in the US and the UK.

Nome, Alaska, US: This site is a favourite due to the diversity of birds that fly all the way, from Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific, such as the Bluethroat, the Pacific Golden Plover, Red-Throated Loon, Bristed-thighed Curlew. These birds come to breed in Alaska during the summer season.

Helford Estuary, Cornwall, England: An unspoiled shoreline with gentle waters, and places inaccessible by foot. The bird population at this site is best in autumn as the animals come here to settle for the winter season. You can spot species like Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Coot, Mute Swans, Kingfisher, and many more.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico, US: It is the best place to catch birds in flight photography. You couldn’t ask for a better illumination either, as sunrises at this site are a marvel that should not be missed. Here you can find species like Snow Geese, Sandhill Cranes, and Bald Eagles.

Loch Lomond, Scotland: A very well guarded site due to the importance of the bird species that reside in it. You can see the very protected national birds of prey, such as the Osprey and the Golden Eagle. They can be seen all year round flying over the lake. The locations of their nests are kept secret to preserve them.

Select your gear for a Bird Photography Adventure

When preparing for your Bird Photography Kayak trip, there are a few things you will need to consider so you can have the best experience.

The Right Clothing

Are you in the wintertime or summer? Are the waters of the site you are going to visit flat or choppy? Is it going to be sunny or rainy?

Trust us when we tell you that, although it might be common sense, sometimes we overlook these aspects that might spoil our trip. So it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Have in mind that capturing wildlife is a once in a lifetime thing! It might be the only opportunity you have to take a photo, so you should be as comfortable and distraction-free from details like the clothes on our backs.

Double Paddle

When going to take bird photographs while kayaking, experts advise you to opt for a double paddle. Because the motion of the paddle won’t be in danger to collide and, possibly, knock out your photography gear.


According to National Geographic, the best Camera for Bird Photography is the Canon EOS 5D due to its wide range of configurations, sharpness in the image, and the speed of focus. This one is a pro camera.

If you think you are not at that pro-level yet and don’t want to waste money on such a pricey camera, you can always choose a more beginner-friendly one. But make sure that it is lightweight, have high focusing points, and be able to shoot at least 5 FPS (Frames Per Seconds) and over so you can catch moving objectives.


The recommended camera lens for birding is 400mm, as it is the ideal mix between reach and mobility. You can capture small moving birds with the same precision as if they were posing for a portrait.

Monopod or Tripod

The selection of this gear depends on three things:

·         your ability as a photographer

·         the space in your kayak

·         and the water temperament.

If you are travelling in flat, calm water, a tripod can help you get amazing shots from different angles on a steady base. On the other hand, if you are in bumpy waters or moving streams, you might want to opt for a monopod carefully placed close to your body. Or maybe go pod-free and rely on the steadiness of your hand.

Pro tips to take the perfect shot

By now, you can imagine that Kayak Bird Photography is no easy task, but once you get the hang of it, you will find it as fulfilling as we do.

So here we give you a couple of tips to help you get your groundings. And from then on, adapt it to your style:

1.  Be Patient: Your dream shot will not come at the first try, and for sure, you can’t expect the birds to pose and wait for you to shoot. Just breathe and keep trying.

2.  Take as many pictures as you can: Sometimes, we think we’ve got the perfect photograph and don’t need backups. Only to find after you downloaded it into your computer that the picture was out of focus or not as great as you believed it to be. But the moment has passed, you missed your shot. To prevent you from that frustrating situation, take as many pictures as possible, so you can keep the best ones later.

3.  Be respectful: You are there to catch the birds in their natural habitat. Try as much as your possibilities allow you not to interrupt their paths just for the sake of a photograph. If you see that the animals get nervous or stressed with your presence, then back off. Let them come to you and not the other way around.

4.  Consider vertical shots: Dream big. You’ll never know if the pic you took is going to be the next Pulitzer winner or at least magazine-worthy, so it’s better to keep your options open.

So there you have it, our full guide for you to explore from the Best Kayak for Bird Photography to the secrets of pro photographers to achieve brilliant wildlife shots.

Now it’s up to you in how you apply these tips to your adventures, no matter if you take it as a hobby or a full-time career, just enjoy yourself and the nature that surrounds you

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