It’s a cardinal sin!

Never go out WITHOUT your camera tripod! It’s one of the number one sins, especially when you are trying to video Northern Cardinal Finches.

Northern Cardinal Finch

Photo by Wikipedia… Not by me! Thankyou Wiki!

Still I did manage a very wobbly bit of footage, and it does show you how gorgeous these birds are. When you see them in the green undergrowth they glow. The red of their feathers shines out from the mangrove, as they hop from branch to branch. Unfortunately only the males are red, the females being a dull beige colour (sorry girls!).

This one was seen while I was walking through the mangroves at our neighbouring island, Long Key. Cardinals are about the size of a blackbird and eat all sorts of things including beetles, cicadas, grasshoppers, snails, wild fruit and berries, corn and oats, sunflower seeds, the blossoms and bark of elm trees, and drink maple sap from holes made by sapsuckers (a type of woodpecker).

To finish, here’s a strange bit of “cardinal finch” trivia:

“The plumage color of the male cardinal is produced from carotenoid pigments in the diet. Coloration is produced from both red pigments and yellow carotenoid pigments. Northern Cardinal males possess the ability to metabolize carotenoid pigments to create plumage pigmentation of a different color than the ingested pigment. When fed only yellow pigments, males become a pale red color, rather than a yellow.”

Don’t ever say this website isn’t educational. I’m sure you can use that little gem at your next party to impress the neighbours! OK, maybe not…

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~ by Jane on February 14, 2008.

8 Responses to “It’s a cardinal sin!”

  1. That flash of red is extraordinary – you’re right, they do glow.

  2. Paula. Yes, a flash is all you get most of the time but they are so showy and stand out SO much. Not much camouflage! Jane

  3. I’ll remember that pigment “gem” Jane!
    No honestly I will.
    Honestly!

    Anyhoo… what MAKES them that glorious colour?
    You’ve told me already?!
    Oh. Sorry!

    To be briefly serious, they are stunners aren’t they?!
    Nice video again. I assume your high speed doo dah is working then?!

  4. Do they still have an American Football team named after the Cardinal? Can’t remember which one it is…
    Chris

  5. The Black Rabbit. Ha! Ha! Yes, stunners and yes the high speed doo dah is now working (yippee!) so expect a lot more video in the coming week. Jane

  6. Christine. Yes, they have the “Arizona Cardinals” football team and the “St Louis Cardinals” baseball team. Those little birds get about you know! Jane

  7. One of my kids once had a book about Cardinals in the garden, I’d never heard of them until then. I’m still not sure I entirely believe in them – so exotic!
    That video was good, considering the lack of tripod. Wonderful to see him hopping around like that.

  8. Dragonstar. Thanks for being kind. The film was pretty awful but I’m glad I got some footage. Such a bright and cheeky bird. Jane

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