Above, a female Varied Thrush pauses for a moment during the severe cold snap in December 2022. With neck extended and her feathers sleeked down, she is on high alert for any danger—including an over eager photographer sliding the door open for a cleaner shot.
When photographing birds, I usually try to get the clearest, sharpest capture possible. If I’m shooting from the car on a winter day, I turn off the heater and lower some windows so the warm air inside the car won’t cause excessive blurring. At home, I crack open the sliding glass door and extend the lens outside to capture birds near the feeders. Often, I go out onto the deck with the camera, waiting for opportunities. I’ve gotten many satisfying shots that way.
But sometimes the birds are on the deck themselves, and just approaching the windows to get a better look will frighten them off. So I stand back and let the long lens do the work, shooting through the double-paned deck door. Aside from the possibility of adding smudges or reflections, it tends to soften the images. That doesn’t always bother me, and often the results are pleasing. Below are a few more photographs taken through the window, starting with a Northern Flicker resting in the rain:
Flickers are large woodpeckers that spend a lot of time on the ground, feeding on ants. Another flicker—a male this time—finds the same spot on a frosty day:
A Dark-eyed Junco endures a gloomy, bitingly cold day:
A Sooty Fox Sparrow huddles in the evergreen shrub next to our deck, feathers fluffed to conserve body heat:
And, a male Varied Thrush takes a break on the snow covered railing beneath the same shrub: