Nature Photography

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Portrait of a Lady

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Portrait of a Lady

Only a few female North American songbirds sing, but the female Northern Cardinal does, and often while sitting on the nest. This may give the male information about when to bring food to the nest. A mated pair shares song phrases, but the female may sing a longer and slightly more complex song than the male. Cardinals are very common throughout the eastern and southwestern United States in yards, gardens, woodlands, and deserts. They are the state bird for Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. Male and females stay together for life, and can be seen throughout the year in most places. *

The male cardinal is spectacular in an almost boastful way. Who doesn’t like the brilliance of their red feathers and regal crest? That said, I prefer the delicate, understated female. There is something so endearing about her. A silent strength and beauty that seems to say “Let the fellas strut with their shiny, red costumes. We ladies are just fine the way we are.”

* The Cornel Lab of Ornithology

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