Thursday, January 23, 2020

Northern Cardinal

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...

Northern Cardinal close 20111104

...and female:

Female Northern Cardinal 20091228

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:

Northern Cardinal 02-20200112

Northern Cardinal 04-20200112

Northern Cardinal 05-20200112

Adult Female:

Northern Cardinal female 20191013

This is my favorite photo of a female Northern Cardinal, taken in Okeeheelee Park, Florida:

Female Northern Cardinal 20090225

The juvenile cardinal has a dark bill. This one is recently fledged:

Northern Cardinal juvenile 20190626

Another juvenile:

Northern Cardinal juvenile 20180811

This older juvenile's bill is turning pale pink:

Northern Cardinal 01-20171128

An adult male cardinal shares a small tree with a female Downy Woodpecker:

Northern Cardinal and Downy Woodpecker 20170219

Other "cardinals"--

A Cardinal Airplant, member of the pineapple/bromeliad family, growing on a Live Oak, is quite common in south Florida:

Cardinal Airplant 20110303

Cardinal Flower, Kane County, Illinois: 

Cardinal Flower detail 20150913

Pink sky reflects over the Pine Bank on January 20, 2020...

Pine bank in fog before sunrise 2-20200119

...with a touch of fog:

Pine bank in fog before sunrise 20200119

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Linking to :

Camera Critters

Saturday's Critters

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections


Our World Tuesday

Wild Bird Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

All Seasons

Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display



  1. How beautiful! Such a pop of colour.
    We usually get our cardinals in February, as I recall. When they are hungry and attend to our feeders.

  2. Loved all the cardinal photos - they're one of my favorite birds probably because the male is so flashy. The last two landscapes are so gorgeous!

  3. The two opening shots are gorgeous. They appear to be posing for your camera!! Have a nice weekend.

  4. beautiful, breathtaking photos of the birds and the landscape!!!

  5. Hello, I think the male cardinal is one of the most beautiful birds. I also love the sweet female, she is pretty. I have so many favorites, one of them is the Painting Bunting. The colorful birds do stand out to me, looking colorful and beautiful. Lovely sky images and beautiful bird photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend. PS, thank you for todays visit and comment.

  6. Love, love, love the cardinal portraits today!!!
    Thanks for sharing with us at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

  7. Awesome pictures of cardinal! Well done!

  8. Wonderful bird! I recall very clearly the first one I saw - it was in the back garden of a friend of mine in Ohio. I got very excited!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  9. Stunning pics, especially love the last two pink sky pics.

  10. They do a wonderful job of brightening up a drab winter landscape, don't they?
    Thanks for joining us this week at

  11. Such a handsome couple! They really are lovely birds! Thank you!

  12. Love your captures of the Northern cardinal! Wow, my goodness, these skies are so stunning, it looks like a painting! About your comment, have no idea if they already have measures of precaution in place for the rising water levels (the Netherlands), for it would affect half of of the country! Thanks for your concern:) Many thanks for your beautiful All Seasons post and have a great week!

  13. Hello. Awesome photos. It is a beautiful bird.

  14. They are beautiful birds, aren't they?! We usually get a pair in mid-winter (now!) but I haven't seen them. There is some food about, though. The evergreens are dropping their seeds.

  15. Great pictures. Wish we had a colourful bird in the winter. - Margy

  16. The Cardinals are very vibrant striking birds Kenneth. Love the landscapes with reflections. Have a good week.

  17. That's clever, combining them with the cardinal flowers. I see cardinals in my yard as long as I keep feeding them. I have to take feeders down in April because they draw bears.


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