Friday, January 30, 2015

One Bird, Two Bird, Redbird, Bluebird*

I think this cardinal is eating snow.
My mother-in-law always referred to cardinals as "redbirds". She was from Alabama, and apparently most southerners refer to cardinals as redbirds. I had never heard of that before. I thought that maybe my mother-in-law just didn't know the specific name of the cardinals so she gave them a nickname of "redbirds". And then I found out that other friends and family members from the south also refer to them as "redbirds". After all, we have "bluebirds", too. Such a simple name for these beautiful birds.





Female Northern Cardinal
The male Northern Cardinal is a bright red color while the female cardinal is mostly brown with areas of red on her tail, wings, and crest. They have crested feathers on top of their head. The cardinals do not migrate and they also do not molt into a dull color. They have a reddish-orange, large beak which is designed for seed-cracking.

The juvenile cardinal (both male and female) look like the adult female except they have a black beak. A few years ago, we were fortunate to observe cardinals bringing their immature cardinals to our bird feeders and feeding them.

This is a trumpet vine next to one of our bird feeders. 





Northern Cardinals can be found in backyards, parks, woodlots, and forest edges. They build their nest in dense tangles of shrubs.


The Northern Cardinals are also a songbird and sing a variety of different melodies.





If you want to attract cardinals to your feeders you might want to purchase some black oil sunflower seeds. We usually purchase a mix of various seeds that appeal to several birds. Cardinals also eat fruit and insects.




This was an unusual winter for us because we have seen so many cardinals at one time at our feeders. We usually only see maybe one or two pairs of cardinals, but this year we have had at least four pairs at one time at our feeders. I think the reason we only see so few at one time is because the males are so protective of their mate and territory (the cardinals mate for life).



There is a suet/seed feeder higher up on the tree and these cardinals are looking for seeds that have fallen.

This bird, in defending its territory in the spring, will chase away other males, and will also attack car mirrors, and reflections in windows thinking that it's another male. We had one that did this for several weeks in the spring.

Not a great photo, but in this photo there are four male cardinals which is very unusual for us to see them altogether
(and a woodpecker on the suet and a sparrow on the feeder).

The size of a cardinal compared to a sparrow.



The Northern Cardinal is the state bird of seven states.




















This was taken right after we had a heavy snowfall.






And for the bluebird part of this post? 

Bluejay

Earlier this week my husband, Ted, was snowshoeing out back and came across some bluebirds sitting in a tree at the edge of a hedge row. While he attempted to get a little closer to get a better photograph of them they took off.

Bluebirds
We had a bluebird in our yard last winter in December, but they don't visit our feeders. I'm not sure why.








While I am still at a beginning level of photography, one of my gardening/blogger friends recently posted some information on bird photography. Here is a link to Donna's blog post at Garden Walk Garden Talk: Stuff Beginning Photographers Need to Know When Shooting Birds. Her post is excellent and her photography is amazing.


*Note: I got the name for the title of this post playing on the words of Dr. Suess' book: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish!

Thanks for stopping by! 
Hope you enjoyed our visiting friends!
Feel free to leave a comment~


16 comments:

  1. I love watching the cardinal.I have a yard full of them.I feed them safflower seed,which they love,and the squirrels don't.Great photos!

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    1. I'll have to get the safflower seeds. I didn't realize the squirrels didn't like that. Sometimes the squirrels can be pests, especially the red squirrels. Thanks for the tip, Chris.

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    2. Wild Birds Unlimited also makes a suet with hot sauce in it,that the squirrels hate! It's actually funny to watch new swuirrels take a bite of it!

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    3. I'll have to check out the suet with hot sauce. I bet that would make for some pretty funny photos of the squirrels as well. Thanks again.

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    4. I love the pictures!! I never have only one pair of cardinals here... the male has become less skiddish this winter. and I think that's squirell's cousin is here :) I 'll have to try the safflower too

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    5. Thank you, Pat. I'm glad you liked the pictures. I have a lot of pictures of cardinals so it took me awhile to go through them all. I agree with you. It's been such a hard winter that the cardinals have become less skiddish.
      I can't believe how many squirrels we've had this year.

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  2. Great pictures , as usual you and Ted do a great job

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    1. Thank you, we're glad you liked them.

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  3. I just love all of the cardinal photos! I especially like the photos of the birds in the pine trees.


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    1. Thank you, Ann. Yes, the cardinals show up so bright against the dark green background. And the snow, too.
      Somehow this comment got moved down the page. Don't know how that happened.

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  4. Love all the cardinals there. We have loads living right behind us and sometimes they come looking for seeds falling from the suet here too. Great shots Sue!

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    1. Thank you, Donna. I remember chatting with you about the bluebirds that visit your gardens in winter. I was surprised that there were some living up here, too. I'd love to be able to attract them to our feeders.

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  5. The cardinal is my favorite bird and almost is like a mascot for our area. Very beautiful photos, Sue. Also good information on them.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. The cardinal is also my favorite bird as well. We are lucky to have them in our area. I think the Northern Cardinals are a little more wary then the cardinals you find in the south.

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  6. I love all the cardinal photos. They look so lovely against the white snow and you have captured them so beautifully!

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    1. Thank you, Lee. I have a lot of photos of cardinals and it was hard to decide which ones to include in this post.
      They are so fun to watch, too, with all their antics. Thanks for commenting.

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