As I’ve mentioned before, there are lots of reasons to photograph birds. Perhaps you just want a record of what you’ve seen, or proof of a rarity to convince those eBird auditors. Maybe you can’t ID the bird at the moment, and you want to give it another shot once you get home. In cases like these, it doesn’t really matter how pleasing your photograph is as a work of art.
But maybe, like me, you don’t just want a snapshot of the bird—you want a good photo. You’re paying attention to the lighting and the background, and to what the bird is doing. You’re hoping to create a work of art. In that case, it helps to think like an artist.