Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Camouflaged Cardinal

This is a good time of year to get pictures of birds. The leaves are off the trees now and the birds are on the move. That means there are plenty of birds around, but not much to block our view of them. It's always like this in both late fall and early spring.

Keeping this in mind, I've been specifically going out and looking for birds. If you do it right, even having a dog with you won't upset the birds too much, and they'll fly over halfway close so you can get some good pictures.

I've been able to see all kinds of birds around me where I live now, maybe more than ever before. Today I bring you a female cardinal! I'll say that these aren't the best pictures ever of a bird, but they're my best pictures ever of a female cardinal.

The obvious difference between a male and female cardinal is that males are colored a brilliant red, while females are brown in color. For birds, males are usually the more colorful of the two. and this female happens to be very close in color to the tree she is perched in. It's almost like a kind of camouflage.

It wasn't easy at all to get these pictures because she looked almost like a part of the tree. The one thing that helped make this bird stand out was the movement. That's something any animal can never avoid. They all have to move at some point. And predators know that.

The predator with me was my dog, and she knew very well that there were birds all around us. She wanted very badly to chase them all, but she is already very patient and obedient. So my dog Isabella stayed very close to me, with only a few prompts by me.

I guess, in a way, I'm also a predator. I'm not trying to capture these birds in a conventional sense, but I am hunting them with the intention of capturing their images. Animals pick up on many of the things we humans are doing, better than we do.

Dogs may be the best at this. Isabella has begun to sense my intentions when we are out, so she doesn't tug on the leash much when I stop to take pictures. She even gets quieter than usual, understanding that this behavior is what I want from her.

Birds can sense that we are paying extra attention to them. They know that only a predator would do this. The birds were very cautious around us, and they were right to be that way. That behavior routinely saves their lives. They had nothing to fear from me, but the birds didn't know that.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!


  1. Beautiful shots as always. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


  2. I do feel like a stalker some time when I'm taking photos of things.

    She is a beautiful bird, and she is checking you out.

    Have a great Thanksgiving, Ratty! (It doesn't feel like you live a few States away, but rather here in Michigan still!)

  3. You have to label yourself a good man in order that the birds can identify you correctly.

  4. Nice capture my friend. They never pose much.

  5. Gotta love the cardinals. Pretty and well behaved.

  6. oh, how sweet of Isabella, please hug her for me, I do admire that she knows how to be quieter when you are taking pictures, shows her deep understanding and sharing your joy when out in nature. beautiful pictures.

  7. I like the glow- Happy Thanksgiving, Ratty- Hope you had a great one!