Friday, May 20, 2016

When the Commonplace isn't so Common: Northern Cardinal in St. Louis

Certain birds are very common, so much so that it can be easy to "not see" them while looking for the other more unusual birds. Crows, for instance, or European Sparrows. And then there are birds that are interesting to look at even though they are common and easy to find. In our area of California, I would put Yellow-billed Magpies in that category. They can be seen by the hundreds on a given day, but someone who doesn't live in California's Central Valley would find them fascinating, even a great thrill to see for the first time. That's the situation I'm in this week. I have spent very little time east of the Rocky Mountains, and thus I haven't seen a great many kinds of birds that are common and widespread across the eastern United States.

So it was that I was standing in the back yard of a house in the St. Louis area today, when I saw a Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) up on the wire. My hosts weren't overly excited to hear that there was a Cardinal in their backyard, as that is something that happens pretty much every day. But it was the first actual Northern Cardinal that I've ever seen (in person anyway; they're on a lot of Christmas cards that I get!). And one can't deny that they are one of the showiest birds to be found anywhere.
It was dusk, so the shots a bit fuzzy, but I'll be here for a few more days, and I will try to get some sharper shots!

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