Winter birds – Northern Cardinal (male)



Winter Birds – Cardinal

I knew it wouldn’t take too long for my favorite backyard bird to show up. My little bird friend was quiet a handsome fella while perching and waiting for his turn on the bird feeder. It was extremely easy to spot this little guy because of the contrasting colors – red feathers and white snow. This particular Cardinal was easy to photograph. I’m not sure if the weather slows them down while at the feeder, however I did notice a change in behavior in comparison to feeding in the spring/summer. I found it much easier to photograph this particular bird who, in the warmer months, is usually hard to lock focus.


Noticeable Behavior

It took about 45 minutes for this cardinal to show up (before the other cardinals) when I first put the food in the feeder. I noticed that when it landed it didn’t hop from branch to branch much like it did in the spring/summer. At first I thought maybe it was just “tired” or wasn’t in to big of a rush to eat. After about two minutes it made its way to the feeder and grabbed a bite and was on its way. Soon after a few more cardinals appeared. All of them were exhibiting the same laid back and slower movements as the cardinal before. After I noticed the actions in the other cardinals, I concluded that this may be their behavior in the winter. I haven’t come to a solid conclusion because this is my firs winter actually observing them, it was interesting to see them at a much slower pace than during the spring and summer time.


The Camera

I used a super telephoto lens for this picture and almost had it at its maximum focal length. The ISO was a bit higher ( I usually shoot between 100-600). I also used a faster shutter speed. At the time I set the camera, I wasn’t aware that the cardinal wasn’t going to be its usual jumpy self. I ended up choosing a shutter speed that I normally use in the spring/summer. The other settings were adjusted accordingly. As always, I used a sturdy tripod to reduce camera shake and the amount of exposures need to capture an acceptable photo.

On a final note

There were quite a few cardinals that came to visit me this particular day. It was a big surprise to me to see how slow and calm they all seemed to be. I have my theories of why they could have been moving a bit slower:

  • Had a previous meal
  • conserving energy in the winter time
  • not as many known predators around during colder months
  • taking time to gather as much food as possible

Those are just a few of my guesses. either way it goes, I am glad that they were able to take the time out, relax, and grab a nice bite to eat on a cold winters day.

Spark creativity by capturing the world around you one photo at a time


Tamron 150-600 at 460mm, 1/640sec, ISO 2000

#nature #winter #birds #wildlife #cardinal

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