Virginia’s state bird can be difficult to photograph. The Northern Cardinal normally keeps at a safe distance from people so it’s hard to get really close to them. The male’s brilliant red color can also make exposure and even focus difficult at times. I captured this one in open shade and that seems to have resolved the color issues.
The first few years I had a bluebird box in the yard it remained empty. Then, just as I was thinking of taking it down, a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nested in it. Since then we’ve had bluebirds nest in the box every year, producing multiple broods. The female pictured here is feeding one of the juveniles from the first brood of this season. If the past is any indication we should get at least another two broods this summer.
People often assume this bird is a Red Headed Woodpecker. The confusion is understandable as the Red Bellied Woodpecker’s head is red on the top and back. By comparison the Red Headed Woodpecker’s head is red on the top, back, sides, and front. If you happen to catch a glimpse of this bird’s stomach you’ll see the red patch for which it is named.
Several Anhingas rest on an old wooden structure in the middle of the James River, near Richmond, VA. The hard winter light created a silhouette effect.