[caption id="attachment_92" align="alignnone" width="968"] Male Cardinal[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_93" align="alignnone" width="660"] Male Cardinal hiding in brush[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_94" align="alignnone" width="1453"] Juvenile Cardinal[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_95" align="alignnone" width="513"] Juvenile male Cardinal transitioning to adult plumage[/caption]
To me, nothing says Winter in Upstate New York quite as much as a bright red Cardinal. These large song birds live here year round, but are most visible in the Winter when the leaves are off the trees and the snow is on the ground. They love to hide in the thicket, or behind layers of branches, but their bright red coloring usually gives them away. In the Springtime, during mating season, the male Cardinal will often leave the shelter of the brush and tree branches to sit at the very top of a tree. He will sing and call for hours to try to attract a mate. In the Winter, the Cardinals are much quieter but also much easier to find. So if you're feeling that Winter is a little too much some day, just go outside and look for a Cardinal. You can't help but have your spirits lifted by this brightly colored, beautiful bird.