When I photograph Homer, I position myself with the camera facing the feeder so that the place where he usually watches over his domain is in the background. This positioning serves three purposes.
First, it allows me to keep an eye on him. When he starts to fidget, I know he will fly to the feeder soon and I can make sure my focus is set and the camera positioned with just a tiny bit of the feeder in the lower right corner to allow the Auto Area AF to quickly grab focus on him. Second, with the feeder between the camera and Homer’s perch, I know he will fly directly at me so I will have a better chance of a front view inflight shot. And, third, the green shrubbery is far enough in the distance that it becomes a smooth, non distracting background.
In the first shot, Homer is perched and surveying his area. He hasn’t started to fidget yet. In the second shot, Homer is approaching the feeder but the perch he flew from was directly behind the feeder so the feeder is in the shot. He usually flies in from one of his other perches deeper in the shrubs so that he flies at a slight angle. That allows me to frame the shot to eliminate the feeder from it, unlike this shot. I guess I’ll have to find another place to position my camera when he decides to use this perch. The background is the same group of leaves shown in the first shot. I didn’t move the camera but I did use High Speed Crop on the first shot because Homer was about 20 feet away from me. He’s about 7 feet away in the second shot. The distance between the subject and the background using a telephoto lens creates the desirable non distracting background, but I do have to watch for gaps in the leaves that create specular highlights that make distracting light spots in the background.