February 14, 2013
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I wasn’t planning to make a post about Northern Cardinals today, but when I left for work this morning I heard the beautiful sound of a male Cardinal belting out its Spring mating call from the neighbour’s conifer tree. It was -11 degrees Celsius with a ton of snow and ice on the ground, but the sound of that Cardinal lifted my spirits and as far as I’m concerned now, Spring is here!
Here is a photo I took recently of a male Cardinal. It is the most recognizable of birds, and the iconic centre piece of many winter scenes.
(Click on the images to enlarge them, then use your ‘back button’ to return to the blog)
You have to love Cardinals. They are colourful, they have a nice song, and they display very interesting behaviour. They are smart and very wary, while being aggressively loyal when protecting and providing for their mates and young. When the Cardinals are nesting in our garden, they drive off the larger (and usually more aggressive) Blue Jays whenever the Jays are foolish enough to try to visit one of the feeders.
The female Cardinal is also very beautiful, but also quite a different colour than its male counterpart.
Nowadays in the Quinte area, we see lots of Cardinals – but it wasn’t always that way. Cardinal populations have increased greatly since 1970, and continue to grow. This great change is the result of bird feeding and warmer winters.
The Northern Cardinal is so well liked, it is the official bird of seven US States.
If you’d like to attract these gorgeous birds to your backyard, put out a feeder and keep it full of Safflower seeds. It is a favorite of these impressive looking songbirds – and the neighbourhood squirrels and starlings do not like Safflower!