Did the title “Enhance!” make you think about those police/spy TV shows where they can zoom in on a blurry photo of a parking lot and read a license plate? Good, because that’s basically what I’m thinking about. A big group of birds gives you lots of composition options, and it’s usually worthwhile to try out a few of them.
Below are four photos of the same group of birds, although not all from the same angle. The differences in the end results are huge. It is a bit ironic that the photo showing the most birds is less overwhelming because it also shows large areas that have no birds. The last photo is the one where it is easiest to look at the individual birds, and it still gives the impression of a busy flock. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a strong focal point. The second to last photo actually does have a bird that stands out from the crowd, but there are so many birds you probably have to look for a moment to find it.
Perhaps you have an amazing ability to look at a scene and conceptualize what parts of it will make the best photographic composition. I don’t have that, so I usually do two other things. In the field, I will scan the scene through my viewfinder, zooming in and even walking around to find appealing shots, taking extras just in case. At home on the computer, I spend time with what I shot, looking for images that work, and cropping or adjusting to fine tune those selections.