Northern Cardinal in Winter
This photograph of a northern cardinal reveals the beautifully subtle ambiance of soft whites and gray tones of a cold winter’s day that seems even more muted by the dramatic splash of red from a visiting male northern Cardinal’s puffed-up plumage.
The male Northern Cardinal is perhaps the perfect combination of familiarity, conspicuousness, and style: a shade of red you can’t take your eyes off. Even the brown females sport a sharp crest and warm red accents. Cardinals don’t migrate and they don’t molt into a dull plumage, so they’re still breathtaking in winter’s snowy backyards. In summer, their sweet whistles are one of the first sounds of the morning.
The northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a North American bird in the genus Cardinalis. It can be found in southern Canada, through the eastern United States from Maine to Texas and south through Mexico. It is found in woodlands, gardens, shrublands, and swamps.
As you may have guessed, the common name, as well as the scientific name, of the northern cardinal refers to the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, who wear distinctive red robes and caps. The term “northern” in the common name refers to its range, as it is the northernmost cardinal species.
The northern cardinal is a mid-sized songbird. It has a distinctive crest on the head and a mask on the face, which is black in the male and gray in the female. The male is a vibrant red, while the female is a dull reddish olive. The northern cardinal is mainly granivorous, but also feeds on insects and fruit. The male behaves territorially, marking out his territory with song. During courtship, the male feeds seed to the female beak-to-beak.
This makes a great stock photograph to add to your collection. It is available as high resolution download and is in the public domain (CC0) as noted by the original source. It may be used in your personal and commercial projects without attribution but a link back here would always be nice.