Northern Cardinal for Valentine’s Day

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Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) are our favorite backyard birds. They are often referred to as “redbirds” thanks to the male’s vibrant red feathers. Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’ll focus on the male. However, I think the females with their subtle coloring are just as beautiful and I’ll focus on them another time.

Cardinalis cardinalis sideview

We frequently see these birds  in the backyard, and in winter at dusk we often have ten or more feeding on sunflower and safflower seeds. During the day, they often come to the shelf feeder just outside our dining room window. If the light is favorable and I’m lucky, I can capture details that are otherwise difficult to see, such as the large orange beak and black face mask.

cardinalis cardinalisCardinals do not migrate and we enjoy them year-round. Seeing and hearing them is especially welcome during the winter months. You can hear their “what-cheer-cheer-cheer” and “pretty-pretty-pretty” calls at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Wikipedia websites.

cardinalis cardinalis closeup

Cardinals are the state bird for seven states, including Kentucky, and the mascot for numerous athletic teams and schools, so evidently many other people like them as well.  I’m almost sure this one is saying “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

13 thoughts on “Northern Cardinal for Valentine’s Day”

  1. Some remarkable pictures, Betty. I have not enjoyed visits from cardinals this winter. Maybe my squirrels have been too active!

  2. I love cardinals, too, Betty! They are also the state bird of VA, where I grew up. Have you read James Lane Allen’s novel, “A Kentucky Cardinal”–a delightful, old-fashioned romance published in 1895?

  3. I enjoy seeing the occasional cardinal in my backyard too – they have such beautiful colours and you have captured very handsome poses. Thanks for brightening up my day, and what a lovely way to celebrate Valentines day. ps I like Beth’s Haiku too!

  4. Betty, my siblings and I were raised in Ontario where we saw cardinals. My sister now lives on Salt Spring Island in British Colombia and these gorgeous birds don’t live there. I forwarded the link to your blog so she could see your pics – she misses seeing these lovely birds!

    1. Ann, sorry to hear your sister isn’t able to see cardinals in B.C. I have family and friends in California who do not see them either. Helps me realize how lucky we are!

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