– [Melissa] I’m crazy for birds. I’m blown away by their exquisite beauty, their diversity, their intelligence, and their close family bonds. For me there’s nothing better than capturing these magnificent creatures with my camera and sharing their beauty and complexity with others.

I’m Melissa Groo, and I’d like to invite you to join me for my course on bird photography. Drawing on my experience as a contributing photographer and writer for Audubon, Smithsonian, and National Geographic, and as a regular columnist for Outdoor Photographer magazine, I want to help you realize your goals no matter how modest or ambitious they are. From figuring out what gear to buy, to finding birds to photograph, to learning how to edit your work, I’ll share with you the best techniques for capturing the majesty of birds.

I’ll teach you how to push beyond your camera’s automatic mode so that you can realize your unique creative vision. And I’m excited to share all my tips for capturing birds in flight, one of the toughest kinds of nature photography out there. Bird photography is about so much more though, it’s also about building naturalist skills that are essential to finding and spending time with the birds that you want to photograph.

The fieldcraft techniques you’ll learn in this course will propel your bird photography to a whole new level, and inspire you to tell powerful stories with your images. I hope you’ll join me for this course; I can’t wait to share this experience with you.

End of transcript

Create the Bird Photos You Dream About

Learn how to take stunning photos of birds with award-winning photographer Melissa Groo as your guide.

  • Find and get close to birds responsibly
  • Match your gear to your goals: cameras, lenses, tripods, and more
  • Learn to optimize your camera's settings for bird photography
  • Capture compelling images of birds in flight

Bird Photography with Melissa Groo

Enroll Now
About This Course
  • Lessons inside: 7
  • Topics inside: 37
  • Completion time (estimated): 8 hours
  • Instructional videos: 34
  • Total instructional video time: 2.25 hours
  • Level: Beginner
  • Categories: Art and Technical Skills, Nature Appreciation
  • Regionality: Anywhere – Non-regional
  • CEU credits: 0.8 (optional additional purchase)
  • Discussion groups to keep you learning
  • Self-paced, no expiration date, 100% online
  • 60-day refund guarantee
Red-and-green Macaws in flight
Red-and-green Macaws flying in formation

Why I Made This Course

"Bird photography can seem daunting at first—from figuring out what gear to buy, to finding birds to photograph, to mastering your settings—so I’ve designed this course to help you every step of the way. More than anything, I want to help you realize your goals when it comes to capturing stunning images of these magnificent creatures, no matter how modest or ambitious they are."

Melissa Groo with Her Camera—Melissa Groo, Course Instructor
Wood Duck male standing up in water flapping wings

What's Inside

Celebrated wildlife photographer Melissa Groo leads you through more than three hours of video instruction across 30 topics. Videos are accompanied by text, image galleries, and guided practice designed to build your confidence in bird photography. Learn about cameras, lenses, tripods, blinds, and other gear. Benefit from training on how to push beyond the auto mode of your camera, composing powerful images along the way. Fieldcraft techniques covered include aligning with the sun and wind, tuning in to bird songs and behavior, and benefiting from your local birding community. Special topics include how to photograph shorebirds and birds in flight. You can choose to share your thoughts and images by joining the discussion forum.

Who This Course is For

Is this course for beginners?

Yes, we designed this course for beginning photographers. If you are just starting out, it will give you all the tools you need to build your skills. We also included content useful to more advanced photographers. If you’re already familiar with digital cameras, you are still likely to benefit from the course’s bird-specific training, designed to help you find and take photos of these small, fast-moving subjects.

Can I take this course if I don’t have expensive gear?

Yes. This course is designed to help you make the best photos with the gear you already have. It also covers recommendations if you’re looking to build your gear collection.

Can I take this course if I live in the city and don’t have access to nature?

Yes! Birds are everywhere!

Take a Free Peek Inside the Course

Preview three example videos from Bird Photography with Melissa Groo.

Preview Now

Course Overview

Lesson 1:
Understand Birds for Better Photos
  • Understand and predict bird behavior
  • Find birds and your birding community
  • Use weather and timing cues
  • Take the bird’s perspective

4 topics, 4 videos

Lesson 2:
Match Your Gear to Your Goals
  • Choose a camera
  • Select lenses
  • Understand tripods
  • Compare blinds
  • Carry and protect your gear

5 topics, 7 videos

Lesson 3:
Gain an Audience with Birds
  • Let birds come to you
  • Attract birds
  • Approach birds responsibly
  • Get out and find birds

4 topics, 4 videos

Lesson 4:
Craft Great Bird Photos
  • Explore elements of the classic bird portrait
  • Control exposure with confidence
  • Optimize your settings for bird photography
  • Get your exposure right in tricky conditions
  • Understand and play with light

5 topics, 5 videos

Lesson 5:
Get Creative and Tell Stories
  • Push your settings and break the rules
  • Spend time with individuals and tell their stories
  • Feature habitat and conservation themes

3 topics, 4 videos

Lesson 6:
Capture Birds in Flight
  • Understand flight behavior
  • Study flight imagery and set your goals
  • Prepare for the field
  • Learn fieldcraft for birds in flight

4 topics, 5 videos

Lesson 7:
Curate, Edit, and Share Your Photos
  • Curate your photos
  • Edit your photos
  • Document and archive your collection
  • Explore ways to speak up for birds
  • Find inspiration to keep you going

5 topics, 5 videos

Meet the Course Instructor

Hear What Students Have to Say

This class has been enormously helpful. I see where I’ve made some serious errors and I can’t wait to work on improving my skill."


These concepts are wonderful, insightful, respectful and extremely useful. This is outstanding teaching and mentoring ! Thank you Melissa !"


Can’t believe how much we’ve learnt already!"


It is a good overview of the many aspects of bird photography. Goes into a sufficient level of detail - informative but not overwhelming."

Photography Student

It is extremely well-thought out course with just the right amount of technical details as well as excellent tips in improving the art that is bird photography."

Photography Student

Melissa Groo is an absolute inspiration. Her lessons are simple, straightforward and very, very interesting"

Photography Student
Buy Bird Photography with Melissa Groo Now!
Satisfaction Guarantee

Our educators and birding experts take pride in the courses they create. If you're not satisfied with the material for ANY reason, contact us within 60 days of the start of the course or purchase for a full refund.

Alternative Course Access

Birds can inspire people accross boundaries to build a more sustainable world. At Bird Academy we want to share the love and knowledge of birds! If you would like alternative access to this course, please take a look at our Take Flight Program

Snowy Egrets by Melissa Groo
Snowy Egrets facing off

This Course is Entirely Online

There’s nothing to be shipped, and no additional material is necessary. Bird Academy courses are online, self-paced, and have no deadline to complete the course. You can return to them for reference or practice as often as you want. All course material, practice tools, instructional videos, and discussion forums are available through your web browser. Learn anytime, anywhere*. Gain the skills and understanding you’re looking for.

*Requires an internet connection and a modern web browser.

Course Instructor: Melissa Groo
Course Producers: Mya Thompson, Laura Helft
Course Developers: Laura Helft, Karen Rodriguez, Kevin McGowan, Elissa Johnson, Mya Thompson
Video Producers: Shayna Muller and Karen Rodriguez
Animator: Shayna Muller
Video Editors: Shayna Muller, Eleven Lakes Media, Daniel Sheire, Christopher Sayers II
Videographer: Karen Rodriguez
Second Camera: Darcy Rose
Web Designer and Illustrator: Jeff Szuc
Copy Editor: Marla Coppolino
Production Assistants: Andrew Schmalfuss, Elissa Johnson, and Jeff Szuc
Special Thanks: Jim Verhagen, Shelley and Ron Cooper, Todd Gustafson, The Gelder Family, Ian Davies, Bobby Stickel, Stepfanie Aguillon, and Joy Pojim

Give the Gift of Learning

Gift certificates are a great way to give the bird enthusiasts in your life something that supports and encourages their passion.

Learn About Gift Certificates