Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

3 March 2020

This week as days lengthen and temperatures rise just a little the Cardinals have started uttering their distinctive spring territorial calls up and down the tree-lined roads and gardens around our home. Although it could be a month before the snow melts and two months before leaves start to appear on the trees, the fact that these colourful birds have started to think spring thoughts is encouraging. When we came to Quebec from the UK back in 1998 the first Canadian bird I was really conscious of appeared on the feeder in our new garden the morning after we moved in. It was a stunning male Cardinal and I was hooked. Females are of a more muted colour range, which causes many people to think they are a different species, but equally delightful. Usually a pair will raise two broods of young each summer – occasionally if conditions are propitious some will raise three through the youngsters of the final nest will have to grow up fast if they are to get through the winter ahead.