Rear Window

In the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie, Rear Window, Jimmy Stewart plays a photojournalist who recently broke his leg. To alleviate his boredom while confined to a wheelchair, he takes up peering out of his back window at his neighbors. When we first built our new house, which I designed, creating a large office with french doors with a view of nature was of paramount importance to me. Yes, I love looking at the natural world. But, also it was a goal of mine since I was six years old. As far back as i can remember, I envisioned my future as a writer, sitting at a large desk which faced glass doors that opened to a garden and nature beyond. Fifty years later that dream came to fruition.

Like most parts of the country, this past week has been paralyzingly cold here. I may not have a broken leg like Jimmy Stewart’s character in the movie, but I was beginning to feel the same angst to go outdoors. With the temperature in single digits and dipping below zero at times, it was best to stay indoors. So, I began peering out my rear window at the birds that were coming for the fresh water and food we were offering. When the sun finally began to shine, I wondered if I might be able to film the birds through the doors. I was happy to see that it is possible to focus through glass and get a decent shot.

BLUE JAYS

I love these birds, but they tend to be fairly aloof when I park near the platform feeder in the Pond Meadow. In my office, while sitting behind the door I didn’t seem to affect the Blue Jays. I was able to capture their beauty while remaining comfy indoors.

NORTHERN CARDINALS

The copious amount of food that we provided, and probably the water even more so, attracted many Cardinals to my office patio – more than I had ever seen out in the fields. They are brilliantly beautiful. They also tend to settle for a spell when they perch, which makes them good models.

AMERICAN GOLDFINCH

My patio pond (a 400 gallon poly stock tank turned goldfish habitat) is also home to a number of aquatic plants. The Goldfinches love to perch on vertical branches, and the aquatic mint stems were a great landing platform for these lovely creatures.

HOUSE FINCH

This cute, male (red markings) House Finch seemed quite curious about something he saw below him as he perched atop a shepherd’s crook hanger. The female House Finch (plain brown streaked) appears to have been adopted by a nice Northern Cardinal couple! If it’s cold and you need to shield yourself from the wind, best choose to snuggle with bigger birds!

PURPLE FINCH

Wow. I finally captured a male, Purple Finch on film in our backyard. He’s quite handsome. These were taken on 2/17/21, which was overcast with some snow flurries (the day after the shots in the bright, full sun.) I hope he’ll be back when the lighting will illuminate his incredible color.

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD

One of my favs! In the 40 minutes I was filming out my window, this bird made multiple trips to the pond filter overflow where there’s open, fresh water flowing. These birds love when we toss out dried meal worms, and they have a great affinity to the peanut suet nuggets. This Mockingbird took up a role of chasing off the Starlings (an invasive species) when they tried to land where the seed had been scattered.

MOURNING DOVES

I posted some photos of the doves earlier. Here are some new shots. It’s about 20 degrees warmer on this day (still well below freezing) and they seem a bit less overwhelmed with the cold. I find them quite photogenic – and they enjoy being stationary, which make filming them fairly easy when they are present.

CAROLINA WREN

This quick, tiny bird loves to remain in the “thickets” near the ground, so it isn’t spending too much time out in the open on my patio deck. However, it is taking advantage of the running water in the pond filter overflow, which is where it was when I took these photos. It was sharing the resource with a female Northern cardinal.

COMMON GRACKLE

This guy was in a very bad way. He was hobbling on one leg, but mostly sitting directly on the ground (unable to stand.) I’m hoping he made it through the cold and is recovering. The last photo was taken a couple days after the first few. If its the same bird, I’m happy to see him looking more chipper.

SPARROWS

In an earlier post, I shared images of the numerous Sparrow species I filmed out my rear window. The photos here were taken after I published that post.

FOX SPARROW

WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS

AMERICAN TREE SPARROW

I think the bird sharing a meal with the Fox Sparrow (larger bird in foreground) in these next few photos is an American Tree Sparrow.

DARK-EYED JUNCO

There little birds in their fancy tuxedos have taken to our offerings by showing up in numbers. I posted some photos of them in the SPARROW page earlier. Here are a few new shots.

The weather is supposed to warm up this coming week – getting up to the lower 40’s by mid week. I look forward to getting outdoors and tending to the feeders out in the pastures. However, I must say that picking up my camera and moving six feet to the patio doors has been a very easy endeavor that yielded some images that were fairly good for the effort. Still, there’s nothing like feeling a bit of sun on my cheeks and a little breeze in my hair. Mostly, what I missed was all the chatter. This afternoon, while sitting at my desk, I heard a bird song I was not familiar with – it occurred once, and then I never heard it again. It reminded me that spring is coming which means that birds will begin to sing and being out there with them is much more exciting than watching them through the rear window.

2 Comments on “Rear Window

    • We have Catbirds here in the summer, but they don’t winter here. I actually thought I saw a Brown Thrasher on the fence about 50 feet from where I’ve been feeding the birds during the deep freeze this past week. But, it flew off too soon for me to tell. It would have been a very rare situation, as the guides don’t show them in my zone at this time. We are about 150 miles from the southern tip of IL, which is where I see Brown Thrashers might winter over. We do have them here during the summer, however.

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