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Posts Tagged ‘female Northern Cardinal’

I never cease to be amazed by the balance and flexibility of birds, like this female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) that managed to reach down and grab some poison ivy berries this past Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I am probably going to return to that refuge today, because I am not sure if it will be open in the upcoming days if there is a shutdown of the federal government.

Northern Cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I love Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis). The bright red of the male cardinal helps to lift my spirits throughout the winter when the world seems almost monochromatic. In terms of beauty, though, the more subdued coloration of the female cardinal is arguably even more impressive.

This past weekend I encountered several cardinals as I was exploring the frosty fields of Huntley Meadows Park in the early morning hours. I was focused on some sparrows in a patch of vegetation when suddenly a female cardinal flew in. I quickly adjusted my focus—I was focusing manually at that moment—and tried to steady my breathing as I took the first shot below just before she flew away.

A little while later, I caught sight of some movement out of the corner of my eyes in a stand of cattails. The red of a male cardinal is pretty hard to camouflage, so it was easy to spot him, but I was a little surprised by his pose. Somehow it looked more like the pose of a blackbird than that of a cardinal. Even though I was pretty far away, the cardinal seemed to be intently staring at me and didn’t seem too happy about my presence.

Cardinals are common where I live, but I never grow tired of photographing such ordinary subjects, seeking to discover and share the extraordinary that can often be found in the ordinary.

Northern Cardinal

northern cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Early yesterday morning there was a coating of ice on much of the water at Huntley Meadows Park. Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) were taking advantage of this new surface to forage for seeds in the lower parts of the vegetation growing out of the frozen water.

The bright red one is immediately identifiable as a male. The other one looks like it could be a female or an adolescent male. As is often the case with birds, male cardinals start off looking like females before they acquire their adult plumage. I’m leaning towards it being a female because of the color of the bill—with younger cardinals, the bill is often dusky rather than bright orange.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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The subdued colors of the female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) seem to be perfectly suited for the late autumn, when the muted shades of the fallen leaves seem to dominate the landscape.

female Northern Cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Now that springtime leaves and blossoms are reappearing, birds in the trees are getting harder for me to spot. Earlier this week I was happy to find this semi-hidden female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) at Huntley Meadows Park.

One of my friends asserts that female cardinals are more beautiful than their more boldly-colored male counterparts—it’s hard to disagree with him.

Northern Cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Do you prefer the bold color of the iconic male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) to the more subtle coloration of the female cardinal or are you on the fence?

“Fierce” is the word that came to mind when I first saw the image I had shot of this female cardinal with the spiky red Mohawk hairstyle and don’t-mess-with-me glare. Although I took this photo at my local marshland park, the simple wire fence gives it a kind of urban feel that seems appropriate for this subject.

I wonder if she has body piercings or a tattoo—it wouldn’t surprise me if she does.

female Northern Cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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