The Northern Cardinal remains here all year long. We are so fortunate to have the splash of vivid red through the dreary days of winter. The falling of the Fall foliage now permits us to see the bird in all his glory.
Cardinals announce their position with a single chirp which is repeated often. It seems to me, but it’s only my perceptions, that the female arrives to an area first. Once she clears it, the male may fly in, usually quite briefly, and make his presence known.
The next photos were taken a couple of days ago near the Lower Pond feeding station.
Yesterday, I decided to travel to the east side of the property via the Corridor. That space is very bird dense as it connects two areas, about an acre in size each, of complete overgrowth, some volunteer trees and several mature trees. I first saw the Blue Grosbeaks in the Corridor. It’s also the space that I filmed most of the migrating warblers. It’s also the place where the mature apple tree is, and where I hung apples to attract the fruit-eating species earlier this fall.
Before I even arrived at the entrance to the corridor, I spotted a Cardinal in a tree about twenty feet from the opening. Unlike the bird shown above, that was at the Lower Pond feeder (and about 800 feet away and across the pond from the Corridor), this bird sports a brilliant, deep red color. I think that the bird above is probably a juvenile male.
This pretty, adult male Cardinal flew in the direction of one of the overgrowth areas on the south side of the corridor. As I made my way into the entrance, I noticed quite a bit of bird movement from north to south across the corridor. I drove up about twenty feed and stopped. I knew that if I settled and was quiet, those birds might venture back to their activity before I startled them. That’s what happened. Although they were farther up the path than made for great photographs, first two, then three, then four and finally seven Cardinals (males and females) moved back to the mowed area. They were foraging for – well, I don’t know, but it was food, I suspect. It may have been insects or some sort of vegetation. Whatever it was, it maintained their attention for a good long while.
When reviewing the photos, if you are counting birds, keep in mind that the females are incredibly well camouflaged in the autumn lawn and leaves. The final photo shows six birds, but there were seven – one just didn’t make it into the frame. The final female is on the right side, near the taller grasses. If seven Cardinals congregating together wasn’t enough, there were a few othersthat were hanging out in the fringes that I could see, now and again, popping into the corridor opening, then flitting back to cover. I can only imagine what it would have been like with a light covering of pure, white snow. Spectacular. Perhaps I will get the opportunity to see that sometime in the future.
It was a splendid sight to see a couple of days before our Thanksgiving holiday.