A couple of years ago, I decided to buy a camera so that I could get photos of any birds that were new to me. I have been able to identify several new birds this way that I was unable to make a positive i.d. on in the field. It is also nice to have pictures to back up your stories when telling someone about good birds you have seen. Every so often, you may come across someone that seems to have some doubt about one of your proclaimed sightings. A photo makes for nice evidence in these cases.
How and when to use the camera to take a photo of a new species varies. I think you have to take a really good look at the new bird through the binoculars, while you have the chance. I won't attempt taking a picture until I've memorized enough field marks to have a decent chance of making a positive identification.
What really works out well, is if you get the opportunity to further observe a bird after you've already secured a photographic record. They say it's a good idea to use the video mode if the bird is hard to capture on film.
Here are two bad photos. Try to identify them.-Both were life birds for me.
Photo number 1: I identified it without the photo but was glad to be able to confirm it later .
photo number 2: This was a bird that I went to track down, based on a rare bird report.
Has your camera ever helped you out with a species identification?