Infrared thermal imaging is a passive imaging technique that captures the emitted radiation from an object to estimate surface temperature, often for inference of heat transfer. Infrared thermal imaging offers the potential to detect movement without the challenges of glare, shadows, or changes in lighting associated with visual digital imaging or active infrared imaging. In this paper, we employ a frame subtraction algorithm for extracting the pixel-by-pixel relative change in signal from a fixed focus video file, tailored for use with thermal imaging videos. By summing the absolute differences across an entire video, we are able to assign quantitative activity assessments to thermal imaging data for comparison with simultaneous recordings of metabolic rates. We tested the accuracy and limits of this approach by analyzing movement of a metronome and provide an example application of the approach to a study of Darwin's finches. In principle, this “Difference Imaging Thermography” (DIT) would allow for activity data to be standardized to energetic measurements and could be applied to any radiometric imaging system.