8.02.2010

The Cardinals


Don't ask me how I got this photograph--by happy accident. But when I saw it on my screen, I thought of how accurately it captures the essence of cardinal. They're the shyest birds at my feeder, careful about coming close, careering off if there is movement nearby. They seem to travel in pairs, and the male always arrives first. Unlike the goldfinches and sparrows, who swoop in greedily, with little concern for ambient danger, the cardinals arrive in stages, landing first on the large maple at the other side of the garden, then diving into the branches of the pine nearby, where they hide for a while and scan the territory, and then finally making their way to the feeder. They never stay for long, but I'm going to adjust the food to see if that helps matters. I love the depth of his red feathers and his bright tufted crown, but I like even more the understated elegance of hers, that subtle wash of "greige", a grey-beige, with just a touch of beeky brightness. The cardinals are always clicking to one another; they seem quite protective of each other, and attached as a couple.

I was inspired to do my own clicking to the Wiki genies, for more information, where I learned that Northern Cardinals are of the passerine family. They are perching birds, whose feet have three toes forward, one directed backwards, so that they can grip vertical surfaces. They can sleep while perching, a handy trick I wouldn't mind adopting (adapting?) as it might be useful, after those nights of insomnia, to make up for sleep deprivation by snoozing at my perch in front of the computer.

10 comments:

Teresa Hatfield said...

What a lovely photograph! Sometimes accidents turn out to be the best of all. Judt beautiful.
Teresa (Splendid Sass)

pve design said...

My most favorite bird as I am a Kentuckian, and the state bird is the cardinal.
Lovely shot.
pve

Streams Full of Stars said...

What an amazing shot! Seeing a cardinal always creates 'inner joy'! Have to tell you that the discovery of your blog has been a true serendipity and, happily, it led to your book which I have been trying to read very slowly in order to savour it. Have reached p. 247, so things are getting tense - as I really don't want it to end. Your writing is simply wonderful, Dominique, and your book will become a treasure to keep on the bedside table - on sleepless nights - along with Daisy Goodwin's anthology "101 Poems that could save your life". They will be great companion books! Thank you - and please - keep writing....

Karena said...

Dominique,
Wonderful image you captured even if it was by chance!

Karena
Art by Karena

Christina L. said...

Very Impressionistic. Monet would be proud!

Snappy Di said...

We have more cardinals than I can count. One evening I watched as 8 or 10 swooped around our front yard from tree to tree... it appeared to be a male, female and their young. I love the way they call to one another, clicking throughout the yard.

Di

Les said...

Lovely abstract photo!! The white images look almost like origami. Perhaps birds in flight?

Our cardinals love safflower seed. I made the switch from a mixed variety when the Grackles were hogging the feeders.

I've been following your blog for quite some time now. I fell in love with your writing after reading Around the House and in the Garden and am waiting for the perfect time to read Slow Love. I think the time has arrived.

Sarah Ross said...

I have been spending a good bit of time this summer watching a cardinal couple feed at my feeder...the male brings a seed to the female who waits, wings aflutter and impatient, perched on the window sill, and puts it in her beak. He repeats this 10 or more times before they find something better to do. I am not sure if the female is a mate or an offspring, but it is touching to see all the same.

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