Friday, 21 November 2008

Feathered Friends

The two species of birds presented today are not located in the western part of Canada.

[1] 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.

[1] Northern Cardinal male

Size: 8 ¾ inches (the pairs I have seen were in the 5 inch range, with the youngsters being much smaller)

[3] 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: [1]-outdoors2magic CC=nc-flickr, [2][3]-qmnonic CC=flickr.


A said...

Good idea to present us birds, those are adorable and give a new button color to your blog.

Charles Gramlich said...

We've seen indigo buntings here, although they are passers through and not native. Very beautiful creatures. We have a "lot" of cardinals here. We've sometimes had as many as 25 to 30 in our backyard where we feed them, although sometimes there is some fighting going on among them. They are also very pretty.

Cloudia said...

Wonderful birds, what a pleasant "jolt" to see even their images. BLUE! Bird of happiness? Yes, today for me at least.

Cardinals are seen in Kona Coffee country on the big island. Spectacular when posed among red coffee "cherries" (the beans are inside!). Squawky- bold birds!
Great post, Barbara

Gary's third pottery blog said...

we are lucky to have some Cardinal nesting pairs around here---the prettiest flash of red on a winter day in the snow!

The Grandpa said...

The cardinal is one of my favorite birds. I love it's song. It's also the state bird of Ohio where I grew up. Saw a painted bunting once just outside SAvanah. That was a thrill. Thanks for the pictures.

Barbara Martin said...

Marie, I like a variety of birds, but the Cardinals have an interesting way of communicating with one another. My lovebirds learned to imitate the Cardinal's song, so many times I was tricked into going to the window to see where the birds might be.

Charles, the Cardinals that fight must be the males as they are quite territorial.

Cloudia, I sold a lovebird that was a mutant pied/Dutch Blue: one half was Dutch Blue and the other half yellow pied, with the blue breast separated from the yellow by a straight line from the peach colour of the neck down over its belly to the tail feathers. I'm sorry now I didn't take a photo to post. He's doing fine in his new home.

Gary, they are very pretty. I place the discarded birdseed mine leave for the wild birds outside, and in the winter, the Cardinals are among the first to pick out their treats.

Grandpa, you're very welcome.

Shelley Munro said...

We didn't see a lot of birds when we visited earlier in the year. These are bright and colorful. We have some interesting birds in NZ (lots of flightless birds) but most of our birds have dull coloring.

Philip said...

Barbara thanks again for sharing this, these birds are so cute !!
I really like that one in the snow
"Northern Cardinal" beautiful red colour !!

Webradio said...

The birds are very pretty, with beautiful colours...

Anonymous said...

As usual, beauty on your blog, your birds are beautiful. Thank you.

RuneE said...

I don't think any of these animals are present here. We have clearly missed something.

Barbara Martin said...

François and RuneE, the Northern Cardinal remains in Canada year round while the Indigo Bunting is migratory, flying to a warmer climate in the winter.