A “Collage” of Cardinals

Cardinals Feeder Free-Fall IMG_1619_1

Reviewing my last couple weeks’ photos of winter birds, I realized I have accumulated a collection of cooperative Northern Cardinals – at least the males, the females still being rather shy. And often the pictures were taken in what seemed like the worst conditions – wind blowing so hard I wonder how the bird was staying perched. I can’t resist taking pictures of these bright, cheery fellows, especially this time of year when everything else looks less colorful.

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Although I have never seen a group of more than perhaps four or five cardinals at a time, the most common group “name” is a college of cardinals. Since I don’t have a picture of a college, I decided upon collage instead.

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Cardinal IMG_1563_1

Since I have started feeding the crows pretty regularly at Millennium Park, the cardinals have been showing up too. The male above was gutsy enough to get a peanut after much deliberation in the falling snow, a chorus of three crows watching him from above but (surprisingly) not chasing him away.

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The wind sometimes makes a mess of crests…

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Occasionally, a cardinal will engage the lens, rather than avoid it…

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Below, a couple more photos from Crabtree Nature Center, where the cardinals were everpresent…

CNC Cardinal IMG_1348_1

Cardinal IMG_1279_1

And my last cardinal looks to me like he’s smiling, on a sunny day.

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Back to Birds: Crabtree Nature Center

Feeder Mayhem IMG_1508_1

7 Species in 1 Frame!

Last week, I visited Crabtree Nature Center in the far northwest corner of Cook County, Illinois. I went twice, to try for reported good views of a female White-Winged Crossbill, a species I have barely seen on a few occasions. The bird had been seen visiting the feeders, and others had taken nice pictures, so I wanted a memorable look.

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Female and Male Downy Woodpeckers

I never saw the White-Winged Crossbill. Watching the feeders from the comfort of the warm nature center, however, was a mesmerizing experience. Birds came constantly to the feeders. If someone or something scared them off, they were back within seconds.

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American Tree Sparrow

I am looking forward to returning to Crabtree to check out the trails later in the year. But for now I am going to just fill up the rest of this post with a few more pictures taken last week.

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Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, House Finch and Northern Cardinal


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Pine Siskins


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Red-Bellied Woodpecke


Crabtree Nature Center Dove IMG_1332_1

Mourning Doves and Northern Cardinal


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White-Breasted Nuthatch


White-Throated Sparrow IMG_1617_1

White-Throated Sparrow


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Fox Sparrow