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Your first shot is always either 1) from too far away, or 2) at too low a zoom setting, or 3) both. You want to get on the bird, so you down tripod too early, crank the zoom all the way to wide, find the bird, mount the camera, and squeeze off a shot or 10, all before you really think about image scale or composition.

Then, if the bird is still cooperating, you think about zooming in or sneeking closer (or both).  This Ring-billed Gull was as cooperative as they come. Another 10 shots.

So what would it be like if you increased the zoom on the scope? And maybe backed off a bit in the camera zoom. Click click click.

Okay. Bird still there? Go for it. Crank the scope zoom up to Max (or as close as you dare).

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