Pretty in Red – Northern Cardinal


One of the prettiest, flashiest birds in this area is the Northern Cardinal, (Cardinalis cardinalis).  I photographed this male at the bird blind at San Angelo State Park when I was out there recently.  With the overcast, cloudy skies acting as a diffuser, the colors really popped.

Northern Cardinal

I photographed this bird with my Canon 7D with Canon 500mm lens mounted on my tripod.   Exposure 1/800 sec. @ f7.1, -0.3EV, ISO 1250.  Center-weighted metering and aperture priority.  Distance to subject approximately 35 feet.  Shot in RAW with post processing in Photoshop CS5.

Click image to see an enlargement.

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38 thoughts on “Pretty in Red – Northern Cardinal

  1. Vacationing from Western Canada in Texas Hill Country (FEB) and observed what we thought were Northern Cardinals until we saw an article in March edition of Texas Highways about Pyrrhuloxia. Because the birds we are seeing are not near as red as in your photo we are wondering if they could be Pyrrhuloxia. How can you tell the difference.

    Thanks and great photos

    • Hi,Jim, thanks for visiting my blog. The Pyrrhuloxia is gray in color with some red on the breast and wing feathers. However, the female Northern Cardinal is very similar. So, to see the difference between the two, the Cardinal has an orange beak, whereas the Pyrrhuloxia has a yellow beak. That goes for either sex.

      I appreciate your comments and compliments. I hope you will visit again.

  2. Bob…great shot. Cardinals are so colorful. I have a bunch of them hanging in my backyard now, just wish we had some white snow to add to the background. Not sure what is going on here in Illinois……January 28th and no snow!!!! unbelievable. Love the bird theme on your site and I’m hope to follow along…..

    • Thank you very much, Jim. I am glad you are enjoying my blog. I agree with you, cardinals really look nice in the snow, but alas, we rarely get any of that here. And when we do it doesn’t stay but a few hours.

  3. Very pretty in red. 🙂 Great photo, Bob.

    I recently observed a green colored bird here, but I don’t know what it is. It was beautiful.

  4. Beautiful wee bird – the most exotic and flashy we get in the uk would probably be the kingfisher – which I don’t think I’ve spotted in the wild for more than ten years.

    Great to have some colourful visitors.

  5. Red is the color that always says “go” in the bird family. I just finished painting cardinals and they are now in Tucson, AZ at the Gem and Mineral Show. Great Shot..Notice new website address. We changed the name of our site…

  6. Red is the color that always says “go” when it comes to the Birds. I just finished painting Cardinals and they are now in Tucson AZ at the Gem and Mineral Show. Great Shot…

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