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Posts Tagged ‘male Northern Cardinal’

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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Like a runner at the starting blocks, this male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) was tensed as he prepared to push off from the top of a dead tree yesterday morning at Huntley Meadows Park.

What a beautiful way to start the spring.

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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A bright red male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) was buried in the bushes on Monday at Huntley Meadows Park. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get an unobstructed shot. I attempted to will the cardinal to move to a new spot and amazingly it flew to a perch on the upper railing of the observation deck and posed for me.

Maybe telepathy works!

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As winter days become increasingly drab and colorless, I particularly love seeing the bright colors of the male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), like this one that I spotted high in a tree at Huntley Meadows Park this past weekend. Many birds blend in so well with their surroundings that they are difficult to spot—that is certainly not the case for the bold male cardinal. Throughout the winter the cardinal is with us, helping to keep our world from becoming completely monochromatic.

Northern Cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) that I spotted on Saturday at Huntley Meadows Park seemed to be in an awkward feather phase that gave him an almost clown-like appearance.

I suspect that the cardinal feels as self-conscious as the average human male going through puberty.

Northern Cardinal

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday morning I had a portrait session with a male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) who wanted to update his presence on social media. Nowadays, he said, it takes more to attract a mate than merely putting on displays and singing loudly and he wanted to set himself apart from his rivals.

We tried a number of different poses in an effort to give him an artsy, mysterious look that would simultaneously suggest vulnerability and passion. We even tried a full-body portrait, because he knows that some of the lady cardinals are interested in more than just his handsome face.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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