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In a previous post I spoke of how the green herons have been popular this year given the scarcity of other herons. This particular bird had an audience that many buskers would envy, and once he realized it was nonchalant and he stayed around to fish.
With birds of this size (over a foot high), one does not need especially long lenses to take great photographs. What I do notice is that most photographers take a few shots and move on.
I would guess it depends on your intent, but even with a compliant fairly large bird getting a great photograph from one or two shots would take real luck; not impossible, but difficult.
In this sense our standards have risen with digital photography. Shots cost nothing but time, effort, and patience pays off. I am not talking about using high frames per second, but about taking enough shots to ensure a crafted photograph and hopefully in which the bird is doing something.
On a great day with a wonderful subject, I can take dozens of pictures until I am certain I have a body of work to pick from, the cost is only time and patience.