Christmas Cardinals

The Northern Cardinal is probably the most iconic bird in America when it comes to Christmas.  Perhaps its his brilliant red plumage and her golden buff beauty.  Pair that up with an icy background with conifers and lights, or snow gently falling in the foreground, the result is nothing short of magical.

Here in south Texas near the coast, snow eludes us.  Never mind getting loads and loads all at once, like the one recently out east near Buffalo.


The Great Buffalo Dig-out Photo credit: Gary Wiepert
The Great Buffalo Dig-out
Photo credit: Gary Wiepert

Our temperate Gulf Coast climate means the background is either green or brown.  The last time we got any freakish decent snow was in 2009 and it all melted by the end of the day.

Northern Cardinals are residents of the Texas Gulf Coast, no matter what their name suggests.  They are no less stunning in my own backyard and the couples and their offspring are very committed to one another.  The problem is not with the portrait subject, per se.  It’s the lack of “pretty” opportunities to capture this most beautiful bird in our most “blah” natural setting.

I’ll give you some examples.

Soggy Mama
Come on! I’m takin’ a bath here!
Daddy Cardinal and Recent Fledges
Give her your best side, kids. Business ends DOWN.
Newly Fledged Northern Cardinal
What? Is the hair out of place or somethin’?

Perhaps with a new long lens in my bag of tricks, I’ll can work a bit harder for that perfect Northern Cardinal shot for 2015.  In the meantime — and better representing Peace, Joy, and Love of the season — I’ll borrow from someone else, who’s done a much better job capturing the moment.

Male and Female Northern Cardinal Photo credit: Wild Birds Unlimited
Male and Female Northern Cardinal
Photo credit: Wild Birds Unlimited

Now that’s a Christmas card photo!

View these and other birds full-res at SmugMug.

6 thoughts on “Christmas Cardinals

  1. Cardinals sadly don’t live in our region, but the robins just came back though. They show up for about a month, in a big flock f 20 or so. First, they clear off all the pyracantha berries, then move over to the persimmon tree, and lastly strip off all the remaining fruit from my ornamental Calery pear. They are a delight to watch!


    1. The American Robin is an equally stunning bird! No doubt your garden is home to many regular varieties, Melissa, judging from the many different plants you have there. Enjoy them all however you can.


  2. Nevermind the snow, they puff up nicely for cold weather photos as well. Maybe if they accidentally made it inside in the summer and the AC blew on them against the painted interior wall…


    1. Ha! We’ve had birds accidentally fly into the house before, but I’m usually so busy trying to get them OUT I don’t think to grab the camera.

      I’ll nail my beautiful cardinal. Next year.


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