Hi Everybody!!

Hi Everybody!!
Welcome to my Hometown!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Hi Everybody!!
I selected the Male Cardinal to celebrate Father's Day as he is, by all accounts, one of the better Dads in the Backyard Bird Community. This bright red bird is responsible for more humans noticing birds than any other songbird! There is alot of conversation on why they are red or how they are red. My observations of the birds have shown me that all the males are red and can turn the volume up on the red or tone it down, all in an instant. They win the females by the seed treats they bring to her, not how red they are! The Dads feed the little brown babies and bring them out to the feeding stations when it is time. The young ones get their spotty red feathers in a week. About 3 weeks more they are completely red and masked on the eyes. (Situations vary in different locations). Anyway, here in Texas, we are celebrating the arrival of the second set of nesting babies of 2013! They could have 4 or 5 nestings this year. I have lost count already!
People tend to identify color according to the visible light we see with our human eyes. Other animals/mammels/birds/insects/etc. see different light than we do. Hawks do not see red. Likely this cardinal is blue to them. Your photostudy tonight is the backyard cardinals here on Rainbow Creek with me. Enjoy!

Your Father's Day Surprise Guest is the head injured cardinal from last week. My surprise is that he made it! Yet, here he is scalped, but on the mend and eating.



The Northern Cardinal is a mid-sized songbird with a body length of 20–23.5 cm (7.9–9.3 in) and a wingspan of 25–31 cm (9.8–12 in). The adult weighs from 33.6–65 g (1.19–2.3 oz), with an average 44.8 g (1.58 oz).[6] The male averages slightly larger than the female.[7] The adult male is a brilliant crimson red color with a black face mask over the eyes, extending to the upper chest. The color becomes duller and darker on the back and wings.[8] The female is fawn, with mostly grayish-brown tones and a slight reddish tint on the wings, the crest, and the tail feathers.[9] The face mask of the female is gray to black and is less defined than that of the male. Both sexes possess prominent raised crests and bright coral-colored beaks. The beak is cone-shaped and strong.[8]Young birds, both male and female, show the coloring similar to the adult female until the fall, when they molt and grow adult feathers.[10] They are brown above and red-brown below, with brick-colored crest, forehead, wings, and tail.[4] The legs and feet are a dark pink-brown. The iris of the eye is brown.[4] The plumage color of the males is produced from carotenoid pigments in the diet.[11] Coloration is produced from both red pigments and yellow carotenoid pigments.[12] Northern Cardinal males possess the ability to metabolize carotenoid pigments to create plumage pigmentation of a color different from the ingested pigment. When fed only yellow pigments, males become a pale red color, rather than a yellow.


The Northern Cardinal is a territorial song bird. The male sings in a loud, clear whistle from the top of a tree or another high location to defend his territory. He will chase off other males entering his territory. He may mistake his image on various reflective surfaces as an invading male, and will fight his reflection relentlessly. The Northern Cardinal learns its songs, and as a result the songs vary regionally. It is able to easily distinguish the sex of another singing Northern Cardinal by its song alone.[13] Mated pairs often travel together


Newly hatched

At one week old

Female feeding a chick
Pairs mate for life, and they stay together year-round. Mated pairs sometimes sing together before nesting. During courtship they may also participate in a bonding behavior where the male collects food and brings it to the female, feeding her beak-to-beak.[15] If the mating is successful, this mate-feeding may continue throughout the period of incubation.
Males sometimes bring nest material to the female cardinal, who does most of the building. She crushes twigs with her beak until they are pliable, then turns in the nest to bend the twigs around her body and push them into a cup shape with her feet. The cup has four layers: coarse twigs (and sometimes bits of trash) covered in a leafy mat, then lined with grapevine bark and finally grasses, stems, rootlets, and pine needles. The nest typically takes 3 to 9 days to build; the finished product is 2–3 inches tall, 4 inches across, with an inner diameter of about 3 inches. Cardinals do not usually use their nests more than once. The female builds a cup nest in a well-concealed spot in dense shrub or a low tree one to three meters (three to ten ft) off the ground. The nest is made of thin twigs, bark strips, and grasses, lined with grasses or other plant fibers.[19] Eggs are laid one to six days following the completion of the nest. The eggs are white, with a tint of green, blue or brown, and are marked with lavender, gray, or brown blotches which are thicker around the larger end.[11] The shell is smooth and slightly glossy.[19] Three or four eggs are laid in each clutch. Eggs measure approximately 1 x .75 inches in size.[11] The female generally incubates the eggs, though, rarely, the male will incubate for brief periods of time. Incubation takes 12 to 13 days.[19] Young fledge 10 to 11 days after hatching. Two to three, and even four, broods are raised each year.[19] The male cares for and feeds each brood as the female incubates the next clutch of eggs.[17]
The oldest wild Cardinal banded by researchers lived at least 15 years and 9 months, although 28.5 years was achieved by a captive bird. Annual survival rates for adult Northern Cardinals have been estimated at 60 to 65%;[20]however, as with other passerine birds, the high mortality of juveniles means that the average lifespan is only about a year.

Relationship with humans[edit]

Fledgling at a box feeder
The Northern Cardinal is found in residential areas throughout its range. Backyard birders attract it using feeders containing seeds, particularly sunflower seeds and safflower seeds. Although some controversy surrounds bird feeding (see bird feeder for details), an increase in backyard feeding by humans has generally been beneficial to this species. It is listed as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. It has an estimated global range of 5,800,000 square kilometers (2,239,392.5 sq mi) and a global population estimated to be about 100,000,000 individuals.[1] Populations appear to remain stable and it has not reached the threshold of inclusion as a threatened species, which requires a decline of more than 30 percent in ten years or three generations.[1] It was once prized as a pet due to its bright color and distinctive song.[9] In the United States, this species receives special legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which also banned their sale as cage birds.[21] It is also protected by the Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds in Canada.[22] It is illegal to take, kill, or possess Northern Cardinals, and violation of the law is punishable by a fine of up to 15,000 US dollars and imprisonment of up to six months


"Why So Red, Mr. Cardinal? NestWatch Explains

By Jason Martin and Robyn Bailey
In many parts of North America, handsome male Northern Cardinals are already singing to attract mates. A bird so visible in the winter landscape begs the question, “How does a flame-red bird that nests close to the ground manage to be so common?”
But how does the male get away with being so colorful? The flamboyant males sing from high perches and do not trade their breeding plumes for a drab winter coat—they seem like obvious targets for hawks. It turns out that male cardinals are probably bright and loud for the same reason: to advertise what good mates they’d make.
According to the Birds of North America Online, brighter males have higher reproductive success, hold better territories, and offer more parental care. The intensity of a cardinal’s redness is related to what he’s been eating. So when females see a bright male, it’s a signal that he’s healthy and holds a good territory. (Interestingly, recent research by Amanda Rodewald, the Cornell Lab’s new director of Conservation Science, shows that this relationship may be getting less reliable for cardinals in urban areas, because of the novel food sources available in town.)"
The above is only an excerpt of the Complete Article. Please visit the page link to view the complete article and learn more about the NestWatch program. Link:  http://www.birds.cornell.edu/roundrobin/2013/03/05/why-so-red-mr-cardinal-nestwatch-explains/

The Grassy Knoll feeding station at Kates Cabin

(Father and new baby)

...this is brendasue signing off from Rainbow Creek. See You next time! Hope all Dad's had a Great Father's Day.
 Hope all Dad's will be Great Dads!
Dare to make a Difference in Your Child's Life!
 My Images, My Birds, My Backyard-Edited in Picasa Program

Dad's Squirrel Fountain and the tail end of the Day!