New comer

A new arrival at the feeder.

A bit of a surprise, given how close the feeder is to the house.

This morning I went out to fill the feeder… the critters can drain the feeder in a day … I heard Mr. Cardinal out singing as brightly as his still somewhat wintry plumage.

A closer look, against the snow outside the window.

When he comes close, his head feathers are normally in their alert state!

I must go to buy bird feed later this afternoon. 


A reader has sent a fine shot of this jaunty little fellow:

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. PMcGrath says:

    Soon there will be enough there for a “conclave.” Or, at least, a “consistory.”

  2. David Wagner says:

    State bird of Virginia. Gosh, they’re beautiful!

  3. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    An apostolic visitation?

  4. PaulJason says:

    Ah yes the signaling of a great baseball season ahead.

    !!!Go Cards!!!

  5. Not Getting Creaky Just Yet says:

    My parents had a feeder in clear sight of the kitchen window at one house. There was a lilac bush about 12 feet from the window, and when the cardinals thought that the squirrels had eaten all their favorite bits, they’d go sit on the lilac bush and scold until somebody come out and filled the feeder. The little rascals are very bold.

    And cheerful to watch.

    best to all

  6. DeborahAnne says:

    Father thank you for sharing such splendid photos. The Cardinalidae is one of my favorites. Poor creatures are struggling here in California due to habitat loss and other factors.

    Deus Lux Mea

  7. As a kid in Rochester (NY), spotting a cardinal was a treat. Here in Ohio they’re much more plentiful. My kids don’t get why I get excited when I see one out the window.

  8. Patricia Gonzalez says:

    Wow, I just went to get coffee and there was a cardinal underneath our feeder too — they show up just as it’s getting dark, and early in the morning. The female sometimes accompanies the male. I just love these birds — when they appear, it’s like a smile from God. Bless their hearts.

  9. Brian Sudlow says:

    Can we have that one for Westminster? He looks brighter and more cardinalatial than the other candidates!

  10. theology reader says:

    +Very charming and handsome fellow and he looks quite intelligent.When looking at birds we get a sense of the life of angelic beings.
    +Was he named after the Cardinals or were the Cardinals named after him? I am reminded of the gospel line about the lilies who do nothing but are clothed with the greatest splendour in their dependency upon God.

  11. Paul B says:

    Cardinals (the prelates) get their name from the Latin word “cardo” meaning “hinge”. They are called this because they are the “hinges” which support the Roman Curia. Cardinals (the birds) were named after the prelates because their plumage was reminiscent of the brilliant red vesture of the prelates.

  12. little gal says:

    Of course the female cardinals are an unappealing shade of yellow. Just why is it that male birds have the superior colors?

  13. Cornelius says:

    What a honor it is for these creatures, among the smallest in God’s creation, to have merited a mention by the Lord in Matt 6:26. Every bird seems to carry the pride of Matt 6:26 in it proud pose – the way the lowest subject in a Kingdom struts around with pride if he is mentioned by the King in an address.

    And to be mentioned by the King of Kings . . . !

  14. QMJ says:

    Father, thank you so much for posting these. I have only had the great pleasure of seeing a
    cardinal two times. Your pictures have reminded me of how magnificent they are. Bellisima!

  15. John Enright says:

    You can actually say that you had a Cardinal over for dinner, Father! LOL! [I’ve had the other kind, too. But that is another story.]

  16. Annie says:

    These photos just made my day. I have not seen a cardinal in longer than I can remember. We abound with doves, sparrows, scrub jays, and magpies, but no cardinals. **sigh**

  17. Janet says:

    Ah, now that’s a bird we have lots of in Alabama. I love cardinals! But you have the better view of them, Father, with the snow and the evergreens. Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

  18. GOR says:

    Yes cardinals are beautiful and stand out – especially in the snow. We have a lot of them – usually in pairs or a mother and son (who sits on a branch while mother brings seeds to him!).

    My neighbor (a half mile away) always complains that they never visit him, but explains: “…it’s probably because I’m Lutheran and not Catholic.”…:)

  19. David Andew says:

    Fr. Z, you’re so lucky to be surrounded by such plentiful beauty!

    As an Ohio native, I miss the noble cardinal which doesn’t seem to be as numerous around this part of Minnesota as back home.

    To my ears their song is one of great joy and triumph.

    As French organist, composer and Catholic mystic Olivier Messiaen said, “Birds are messengers of eternal joy.”

  20. Irish says:

    Opening day is just a month away–go Cardinals!

  21. irishgirl says:

    Beautiful pictures of ‘their eminences’, Father!

    I love hearing the songs of Cardinals!

    Actually, the females are gray, not yellow….

  22. Daniel Latinus says:

    little gal: Male birds get the brilliant plummage for the most basic of reasons – to attract the females!

    Anyway, should a flock of cardinals be called a “consistory”?

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