Hermit Thrush from Thicksons Woods

Hermit Thrush from Thicksons Woods

The Hermit Thrush is a common bird with an estimated global population of over 56,000, 000.  It’s a pretty little bird that also has one of the more unique and great sounding songs that is easily heard when wandering around in the coniferous or mixed woods environment they prefer to live in.  Although Hermit Thrushes usually nest in trees when living west of the Rocky Mountains, their preferred nesting location to the east is on the ground where they form a cup nest from leaves and twigs.  For food they forage on the ground preferring insects and berries. They are a small bird with a length of about six inches and wing span of twelve inches.

The first image is of a Hermit Thrush on the ground, but fortunately out in the open with great separation from the back ground vegetation and in good light;  two of the factors that combine for a good photograph.  With this particular image I first located the perch (an exposed tree root) and then positioned myself on the ground such that the back ground and lighting would be favourable when the bird arrived.  There were four thrushes foraging actively in the vicinity so it was just a matter of waiting for one to step up for a picture, which happened almost immediately.  Unfortunately he was only on the perch for a split second, but that’s long enough to get a couple of shots if you are “lucky”.  Luck being defined as opportunity meeting preparedness.


The next three images are of a Hermit Thrush perched on a branch about ten inches above the ground.  In this case I’d heard the bird singing from the perch and he remained on the perch for at least five minutes.  This provided lots of time to move around  and play with the back grounds, giving the images very different looks even though the bird was in the same location the whole time.

The first shot with a log in the back ground.


Followed by a completely dark back ground.


The last three images in this series were taken with a 500mm lens plus 1.4xTC for an effective 700mm focal length.  That was a little too much as the thrush was only about fifteen feet away.  The last shot is an experimentation with a square crop which is not commonly done however in this case the bird is full sensor in the vertical plane  so cropping off a little from the sides was all that could be done.  I’m not sure if I like it or not, so any comments would be appreciated.


All of these images were taken at Thicksons Woods in Whitby, Ontario.


  1. The Hermit thrush is certainly a pretty bird as is shown very eloquently by your images and a joy to listen to. I can see why you are undecided about the last image. I do prefer the first 2 over the 3rd and perhaps it is because the subject seems confined by the square crop and seems to be begging to be let loose.

    • Thanks Arni and I appreciate and agree with your comments on the square crop. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough room on the sides to make a more traditional (and better) crop.