The two species of birds presented today are not located in the western part of Canada.
 Indigo Bunting
Size: 5.5 inches
This bird prefers brushy pasture, open woodland, and forest edges and clearings. It is also found in orchards, weedy agricultural land and at roadside edges. The diet is mainly insects, and builds a cup nest of grass and bark strips into the branches of a tree or bush and lays 3 – 5 pale blue-white eggs. The female incubates these for 11-14 days and the young leave the next 9-11 days after hatching.
 Northern Cardinal male
Size: 8 ¾ inches (the pairs I have seen were in the 5 inch range, with the youngsters being much smaller)
 Northern Cardinal female
The Cardinal mates for life and will return to the same breeding area each year and mated pairs communicate with complex songs. A nest is built above the ground with a loosely woven cup of twigs contains 3-4 pale green eggs with brown and lilac spots. The eggs are incubated by the female for two weeks, with the male providing food and assisting with the feeding. Hatchlings are ready to leave the nest 9-10 days later and the parents may produce a further 2 or 3 broods during the season. It feeds on the ground, in the open, foraging for insects, fruit, and seeds; often visiting feeders for sunflower seeds.
The Cardinal is a bird I had never seen in a natural habitat, but only from picture books. When I did observe them, to my surprise they were so tiny as to be overlooked during a casual glance.
Research: A Field Guide to the Birds of North America by Michael Vanner.
Photo Credits: -outdoors2magic CC=nc-flickr, -qmnonic CC=flickr.
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