I could easily start an argument by asking which US bird species is the most common, the most beautiful, the most recognizable, the most abundant, or the most popular. Opinions would be influenced by factors such as geography (Lower 48, Eastern, Western, Northern or Southern, highlands or plains), habitat (urban, rural, forest, grasslands, wetlands, coastal), etc.
There are billions of domestic chickens, but Mourning Doves, American Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds each number in the hundreds of millions and are among the most abundant bird species in the US. The most recognizable to casual observers may include these species as well as many others such as the Bald Eagle, American Goldfinch, the Blue Jay and Northern Cardinal. As to popularity, the cardinal is the State Bird of seven States, followed by the Western Meadowlark in six, the mockingbird in five, and the robin and goldfinch in three each.
Northern Cardinal adult male...
The Northern Cardinal is a year-round resident of Eastern and Central North America as well as parts of southern New Mexico and Arizona. Its range extends south into Mexico and Central America and it has been introduced into Hawaii. However, its range has fluctuated over the years. During the first quarter of the 20th Century it nearly disappeared from the Northeastern States, possibly due to severe winter weather.
Probably aided by the increased popularity of bird feeders, its population expanded northward to become quite common in my home State of New Jersey by the 1940s. It is essentially non-migratory, although I often see small flocks of juvenile birds here in Florida during autumn. They may wander and disperse locally.
A male suddenly appeared in a dense stand of Phragmites reeds. The light was perfect, but it was difficult to focus on the bird:
This is my favorite photo of a female Northern Cardinal, taken in Okeeheelee Park, Florida:
The juvenile cardinal has a dark bill. This one is recently fledged:
This older juvenile's bill is turning pale pink:
An adult male cardinal shares a small tree with a female Downy Woodpecker:
A Cardinal Airplant, member of the pineapple/bromeliad family, growing on a Live Oak, is quite common in south Florida:
Cardinal Flower, Kane County, Illinois:
Pink sky reflects over the Pine Bank on January 20, 2020...
...with a touch of fog:
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Linking to :
Our World Tuesday
Wild Bird Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)
Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display