A delightful flash of Cardinal red in winter

I’ve spent the two summers since I’ve started this blog ready to grab my iPhone or iPad for its camera whenever the Cardinal red flashed by the backyard of the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood Little Bitty shared by my dear wife Karen and I.

I’ve never been quick enough to get a good shot.

The delightful creatures have been just too darn fast.

So imagine my surprise when I spotted the red through the French door window on a January winter morning, grabbed my iPhone 6 from the top of my dresser, walked out to the top step and opened the door to the screened porch and to the right located our birds. Yes, I saw two.

But the sound apparently spooked them, and off they flew.

Patience, Mark. Yes, to the left of Good Neighbor Tim’s garage/workshop.

A mid-January cardinal or two in Syracuse, N.Y.

A mid-January cardinal or two in Syracuse, N.Y.

If you sit there, I will push the white button.

If you sit there, I will push the white button.

The bird flew further right, past Tim’s garage/workshop, so I adjusted and tried to zoom in closer.

Fast but now I have better technology.

Fast but now I have better technology.

The red moved again, and I discovered my camera was on the annoying square setting.

Wait, that's not just my two usual reds.

Wait, that’s not just my two usual reds.

I fixed that to the horizontal in time to see my birds — yes, I’ve figuratively adopted them already — land in the yard directly behind mine. To be joined by a handful of others. Winter cardinal bonanaza.

Join your friends, cardinals.

Join your friends, cardinals.

I maneuvered the camera position for the best shot possible, considering angle and the fence between us.

A little tree means a lot to these cardinals.

A little vine on a fence means a lot to these cardinals. I didn’t see any feeder nearby.

Looking at all the photos I took, the most cardinals I’ve counted in any one shot is five. We’ve never seen more than two together in summer.

What winter birds have you spotted where you live? Do you see the birds hanging out in big flocks like this, and if so, what sort of seen might you put out to attract them? Have you tried to photograph your neighborhood birds with any luck?

79 thoughts on “A delightful flash of Cardinal red in winter

  1. We had a bluebird earlier in the winter. They’re rare around here anyway, much less in the cold weather. I love cardinals – they always brighten up the scenery.

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  2. WOW! I mean, if I could adjust the font size to like 46, I’d be saying, “W.O.W.!.!.!” I don’t think I’ve ever seen more than two cardinals, either. Those are gorgeous! I hope they stay a while, and you can get more photos. One would think that with all my professional photography gear, I could get a decent photo of some birds, but sadly, I never have my 40+ pounds of gear handy when I see any birds worth photographing. *sigh* But I’m very happy for your photo success and a little jealous that you get so many of these beautiful creatures so close to your home. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Like several of your friends mentioned, Mark, I do miss cardinals. Surely, we have Larry Fitzgerald here the desert, but rare is it for me to see a splash of red perched on a tree. Cardinals do visit the desert but I never see them in my yard. Sad. Great shots, especially the group!

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  4. so pretty ๐Ÿ™‚ Am afraid I’ve never gotten into watching birds. I sound like the city girl I am when I say that while I appreciate nature, I don’t spend too much time enjoying. Am never willing to sit still and smell roses. Ha, if I stop moving, I will fall asleep.

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  5. You have to be ^o) to get a good pic. I can see how 8o| it would be to miss good shots. And how sad ๐Ÿ˜ฅ it would be to miss, and (u). But to get 5 of them together is pretty amazing (jk) and that would make you feel really happy (rotfl). And, I have spent a LOT of time on this comment. If it doesn’t come out like I want it to, I will be :-\ and very :’|. I would just (L) โค to see these little guys up close. :} (I'm crossing my fingers this comment will turn out right, if not please delete it. :@

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  6. During my squirrel photo shoots, I’ve got a few pics of the redbirds as well (And no, I don’t mean the hometown baseball team). It seems like the majority of birds I see around here who aren’t starling black are bright red cardinals…

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  7. What a cardinal bonanza!! Lucky you, Mr. B. It’s a treat to see them in the winter against the snow capped trees. Late November there was a family of bobcats in my back yard frolicking about. I got some pics but they didn’t come out very clear. Glad you are having fun with your camera. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. A fine gaggle of cardinals (or whatever they are called)! Birds are hard ones to photograph; they twitch about so much and flee. I often wind up deleting all my attempts. Never seen so many cardinals on one vine!

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  9. Nothing like a cardinal or a goldfinch in winter–the brilliant colors. But the finches are even faster than the cardinals! We used to see pheasants in our backyard growing up–the male is so gorgeous against the snow also. Do you have any of those near you?

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  10. So cool! Great shots. Wow, it was your lucky day to get so many in one pic. I also find it annoying when my iPhone shifts around when I’m taking pictures. It’s so easy to put it on a different setting, and it seems to always be on the one I don’t want right when I need to take a picture!

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  11. You are so lucky… 5 in one picture is amazing! But you are really lucky as I have never seen a cardinal out here in the desert of Arizona. Way to have patience…! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  12. You know what is cool, Mark? You are! This post went perfectly with the CBS moment of nature at the end of the Sunday morning show. They had cardinals, they were able to zoom in on the quieter and less visible female, golden cardinals with their little tufted heads. I liked your five or more red cardinals and wonder where their mates were? Hmmm… smiles!

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  13. Like Diana, I miss the cardinals I would see in the states. I haven’t seen one here in all the years I have lived here. Bluejays once in a while, when I visited someone. But they have not visited my backyard. All I get is magpies, wrens and hawks. Especially in winter. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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  14. at last! your vigilance and patience pays off. i’ve seen an occasional winter cardinal here and it always gives me hope that spring will return one day, even in the hardest days of the grey winter. i consider a sighting to be good luck!

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  15. Oh, I love it when the cardinals show up here (usually in mid-December)! We’ll sometimes have 15 – 20 of them gathered in our driveway…our driveway is apparently full of deliciousness. (???) I’m so happy for you that you were able to catch your little guys in pictures! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I saw up there that they’re the Ohio state bird…they’re also the North Carolina state bird. Funny since we only see them in NC for part of the year. Actually, now that I think about it, the whole concept of having a “state bird” is a little weird. Though no stranger than a state dog and state vegetable, I suppose. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Speaking of birds, I just took some very bad pictures of a huuuuuge flock of some sort of bird flying by our house…I’ll be sharing on Thursday. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  16. I think the cardinals are stunning birds – we don’t have any birds quite the same as them here. I love the birds that visit us – I never encourage pigeons though as they are a real nusiance and once you have them you can’t get rid of them.
    I miss the parakeets that used to fly by our old house but they don’t really belong here are will probably turn out to be a nusiance!
    Great photos – your patience paid off.

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  17. Cardinals are so awesome. I see them flitting about randomly. But what I can’t understand are the crows. They are here, no matter what. They never leave. And during the winter months they greet us as we go in to work cawing and mocking us as we enter the building. I much prefer the dashing red birds who lift our spirits. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  18. I’m a shameless and voracious bird feeder. My front and back porches are loaded with cardinals…I love them!
    Did you know that a cardinal in the backdrop of snow is supposed to remind us of our loved ones who have passed away? I like to think that they are my grandmas coming to pay a visit.
    Great pics!!

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  19. The red cardinal is the Virginia State Bird! And they are the most skittish of all the birds at my feeder. Maybe they’ve had to develop that instinct because they do stand out so dramatically in the winter landscape. Mine hide in bushes, dart out to the ground under the feeder and get some seeds, and dart back into shelter. Really tough to get a good shot of them.

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  20. I love cardinals! The tree outside my apartment had branches that came right up to my upstairs window where they would perch. Apartment management pruned the tree recently, much to the disappointment of the cats. The cardinals and blue jays are still out there but not as close as before.

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