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We’ve been having some spectacular spring weather and the birds have been all a-flutter!

Monday was the first day in a very long time I felt inspired to haul out my 600mm lens (the ‘big gun’) equipped with my 1.7x teleconverter. Earlier on in the day I had spotted an Oriole high up in the tree-tops with the hopes of scoring a photo. No such luck on the Oriole but, I did manage to catch a few shots of the elusive male Northern Cardinal, despite his best attempts to thwart my efforts!

Here they are for your enjoyment. 🙂

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40 Comments

  1. Great pics! Do they dive bomb your windows too? There are some immature cardinals here that attack the window daily.

    • Thanks, Derrick!

      Not these guys so much as they tend to stay further back in our landscape where we have platform feeders.

      Sooooo where’s your shot of the cardinal attacking the window? 😉

      • Did you not read how long it took me to catch a picture of a little lizard!? LOL.

      • Ha! Yeah, I guess if they all made it too easy, we’d lose interest… 😉

  2. #8 is a beauty. I like the little spectral highlight in the bird’s eye and I like the dark background. The lines of the branches also lead nicely to the bird. Nice shot!

    • Thank you, Mike! Very kind of you to say! Always good to see a new face here in the comments! 🙂

  3. 600mm?! Jeez-o-Pete that’s some serious fire-power!
    I love cardinals… but they’re so wary… (and I’m so slow yet twitchy) I can never catch them. Great shots, M.P.! 🙂

    • Walk softly and carry a big…er…lens… 😉

      Yes, wary is a good way to describe ’em (hence the need for the 600mm and 1.7x teleconveter). I feel like a papparazi when I use that lens!

      Thanks so much, Sig! 🙂

  4. Love #8 and #9! #8 looks like he’s posing and #9 is so neat – never seen one puffed up like that!

    • Isn’t he purty?? 😉

      These were taken over the course of several hours. We were out, enjoying the day, resting the foot, and when I would hear the Cardinal’s song, I would get up and see where he was at. Most times he’d hide in the trees (like the puffed up shot). I was very pleased when he would actually head into a (somewhat) clear area!

      Thanks, Karen! 🙂

  5. Oh, these are beauties, Tracy and 600mm, lucky you 🙂 Cardinals don’t live in our country so I’m glad that I can admire them at you photos. Thanks for posting.

    • Thank you, Tomas! 🙂

      Yes, I am a very lucky girl with that lens (aside from my 105mm macro, it is my absolute favorite!).

      No cardinals? Hmmmm, well that is probably a good thing as they are so very shy that you spend many countless hours chasing them with no results! I’m glad I could provide you with your Cardinal ‘fix’. 😉

  6. Stunning shots all of them Tracy, but I personally REALLY love No 4.

    • Aw, thanks, Bri. I’ll take ‘stunning’ any day! 🙂

      As you can see, I had trouble selecting a favorite. I’m hoping there is something here to suit everyone’s taste! 🙂

  7. Wow, a 600 lens? I’m not familiar with a teleconverter, must Google. I hope you get the Oriole! I’ll be on the look out for the ones that migrate through our backyard. Gorgeous cardinal!

    • Yeah, it’s a beautiful piece of equipment that lens! (It should be for what it costs!)

      Teleconverters are cool things. They multiply the focal length of the lens, so in the case of the 600mm, my effective focal length is now 1000mm. The trade off is they will eat up some light (1.5 stops in the case of the 1.7x) so shooting in good light is a must.

      Me, too! We didn’t see ANY Orioles last year so I am very excited that they have returned this season. They are here earlier than usual, and judging by the song I’m hearing, I am guessing the male is doing his very best to attract a female! They build the neatest nests – would love for them to build one in a spot I can shoot. Granted – it will be 35 feet off the ground but with this lens I just might be able to capture something interesting.

      Thanks, Becky! 🙂

  8. Very nice photo show! I’m not good at birds so it’s always nice to enjoy someone else’s beautiful shots.

  9. WOW, Tracy, 1000 mm – You are lucky – and indeed heavily armed 😉
    Amazing shots you got of the red beauty – and he was not afraid of the weapon??

    • Thanks, Truels!

      Hehehehe…yeah…I guess I am. 🙂 I imagine by now the resident birds are used to the ‘big black eye’ in the yard. The bonus with this lens is that I can be fairly far away from my ‘prey’ so they tend to act more natural. Also, I have learnt the proper techniques for maneuvering around the landscape with such a beast so as to cause as little disturbance as possible.

  10. Wonderful photos, Tracy. How fascinating that you only have to go outside your house to see a colorful bird like this, – I would have to go to the zoo. Does it sing nicely? I suppose it is hard to describe it´s song in writing, but you are so talented so I expect to see a try… 😉

    • Thank you, Birgitte! 🙂

      Years ago I made a concerted effort to attract wildlife to our yard (planting specific trees, shrubs and plants, adding water features and a variety of feeding stations). Now, I am reaping the rewards of that effort! We get new species of critters every year and I am still completely amazed and fascinated when it happens.

      The Cardinal’s song isn’t really one of the prettiest, but it is distinct. You know it when you hear it. I couldn’t even begin to describe it but, if you go to this link and scroll down the page a bit you will see a ‘Typical Voice’ audio bar and a PLAY button.

      http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Cardinal/id

      It is a great example of the song/calls I hear in the yard every day. 🙂

  11. These are fantastic! Can’t wait to see the oriole when you capture him. 🙂

  12. I enjoyed visiting the link you put up for the Cardinal’s song. They could sure use your pictures as they are much prettier than theirs. My little guy has been very elusive but he has begun to use the feeder. I think he must be an offspring of last years visitor as he seems to be still getting all of his color.

    Love and Kisses

    • Thanks, mom! Glad you enjoyed it!

      That site is my go-to site for all things birds. It really is great for identifying unfamiliar species and distinguishing similar birds from each other.

      Kisses back! 🙂

  13. Those are gorgeous! So glad you decided to pick up that camera again!
    Our resident cardinal has been in hiding ever since I snapped those pictures for the scavenger hunt! (I think he might have learned that from my uncooperative kids!)

    • Thanks so much, Michaela! I had to come back sometime, right? Just need the proper motivation these days.

      I do hope your red guy learns his place! 😉

  14. He is a handsome lad indeed. That setup of yours gets darn good images. Might have to rent one of those babies some day.

    • Ever wonder what it must be like to go through life that pretty?? The male ‘Super Model’ of the birding world, for sure. 😉

      It is a sweet set-up! YOU would love it!

      Thanks for the comments, Scott! 🙂

  15. Well done, I have no luck with nature shots (which seems shameful for a biologist), but you sure do.

    • Ha! Sweet of you to say, Robert!

      I imagine that, because of what you do, shooting nature is simply too much like work!

  16. He is sooooo beautiful, as are your shots of him!! I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a cardinal in person. Lucky you to have them where you are 🙂

    • Thank you, Amber! No matter how often I see them, I still stop and say ‘Look! There’s a Cardinal!’

      Yeah…they are that pretty… 😉

  17. the cardinals were majestic and beautiful. great pictures.

  18. Just stunning, as usual. Nice work, Tracy.

  19. Your cardinal has a wonderful mohawk. I’ve heard they bring good luck to the people whose yard they grace with their presence. I have a pair in my yard, but I don’t have a 600 mm or teleconverter.

    • He does, doesn’t he?

      Hmmmm, good luck, you say? I did not know that. Not sure I believe but these days, I could use all the luck I can get!

      Thanks for the info! I love learning somthing new!


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