Naturally Speaking: Cardinals

Jerry Davis

Photo by Jerry Davis

All the nesting, laying, feeding and fledging are of little concern right now. It’s the beginning of winter feeding, snow falling, and in the not-so-distant future shadow window boxing on sunny side windows.

Cardinals will take food in most ways, ground feeding, and feeder eating when all's covered with a dusting of snow.

That explains the popularity of seeing male (and female) cardinals highlighted by a showing of green grass, a dusting of fluffy snow and a perch thrown in for contrast and getting the bird out of leg-deep drifts.

Red is the longest wavelength in the electromagnetic spectrum, so the feathers we see as red have a pigment that absorbs all the colors except red, which when it enters out visible spectrum, we see as red.

It sounds complicated, but what it does is produce one of the most popular birds coming to feeders when there is snow covering autumn’s debris.