Subtle Valentine’s Day colors

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

When people think of northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) they often visualize the brilliant red males. The female is not nearly as showy, and is easily overlooked. Nevertheless, I think she is quite beautiful, with shades of red in her feathers, bright red ‘eyebrows’, and a red beak outlined in black.

female northern cardinal on icy branch

We delight in having cardinals in the yard throughout the year, and we’re now beginning to hear them sing – a welcome early hint of spring. For most songbirds, it’s only the male that sings. However both male and female cardinals sing, and they have a variety of beautiful songs which I love to hear.

I was inspired by this image to write my first original haiku.

The Female Cardinal

Subtle shades of red;

having survived the winter

she now sings of spring.

Here’s wishing you the sound of cardinals and other birds, and a Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

18 thoughts on “Subtle Valentine’s Day colors”

  1. When we moved into our house in the Southland area almost 30 years ago, the cardinals were the first birds whose songs I came to know. I agree with you, Betty, that the female’s subtle “dress” is very lovely. Nice haiku, too!

    1. Thanks, Patsy. I’m so glad you, too,know and enjoy their songs. I feel very grateful to have them as regular backyard visitors.

  2. What a beautiful photo. She is a enchanting little thing, especially framed in the winter icicles. So when are you going to produce a book with some of your work

    1. Thanks, Vicki. Don’t see a book on the horizon – much more fun to be ‘out there’. However I appreciate your question. And kudos for the cute valentine greeting on your blog.

  3. Thank you Betty for a beautiful Valentine photo. Cardinals are a bright and cheerful visitor during the winter here in ON and your icicle framed lady is lovely. Thanks for the link to All About Birds too – a great reference I will keep bookmarked for bird calls. I too have never written a Haiku but you have inspired me to try – this is for you 🙂
    Happy Valentines
    Your eye for nature’s beauty
    lights hearts and like minds

  4. What a unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

    I never noticed the red eyebrow…….thanks for sharing your extraordinary photos.

    1. Christine, I had never noticed it either until looking at this image. One benefit of a photograph that doesn’t move. ☺

  5. Hi, Betty – yours is by far the best pic I have ever seen of Ms C!
    Is ours the only species in which females are often, but not always, the more showy?

  6. I’ve always loved cardinals – which make me think of my grandma. I tend to think of the males, but you have captured the true beauty of the female. This will be a favorite of mine and I believe grandma D would agree. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Rebecca, I think your grandma would be quite pleased that cardinals remind you of her and I’m glad you, too, see the beauty of the female.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *