Pictures of Cardinals in Winter


Female Cardinal in the Snow

I decided to start doing posts on things people type in the search box in their browsers. The last post, Do Birds Shiver When It Is Cold?, was also a search I get often, but none beats Pictures of Cardinals in Winter. Not hard to imagine why since cardinals are some of the prettiest birds in the snowy northeast. So let’s have a look at some in Niagara Falls State Parks.

Monday’s post showed birds in my backyard photographed both from inside the house and then going outdoors. You can see a difference in birds that regularly visit home feeders. What might a difference be then?


Male Cardinal on a branch in winter.

Cardinals are shy birds and often are not birds to come in close to people, especially in a forested area. I did have one male come right up to my feet and stop to look right up to me. I had a baggie of food at my feet and it was as if he was saying, “Open that bag up and let me in.” He was a little close for my lens, but I still snapped his photo anyway.


Can’t you take a hint here? Open up THAT BAG or I will peck my way in!!!

He even brought me a seed to make sure I knew exactly what he wanted.


Checking out the opened baggie.

I opened the bag with him inches away, and let the seed trickle out. For about fifteen minutes, while I was taking photos of other birds, him and his mate dined at my feet.

One wrong step...

One wrong step…

I was hoping not to back up and step on one. The photo below was the female looking at the seed I just laid in front of her mate.

I do hand feed the wild birds here, but I have never hand fed a cardinal. I should have tried since this pair was so close.


Now honey, just ask nicely.

Cardinals usually sit back and wait until all danger is neutralized or absent.  I guess I am not viewed as a danger when having seed in a baggie for them. It is understandable they are wary though because they are a bright red target for hawks and other predators.


I must admit, when it is 0° outside and covered in snow, birds take more risks than normal to take food from people. All the cardinals in this post came to me for food. I have been feeding birds in these woods for years and they have come to know me. They even recognize my Jeep.


When they see me park the Jeep, they will follow me through the woods to where I feed them. You can see by their expressions, they anxiously await the seed.


Before the males come to check out a food source, the females will arrive first. Females are also wary, but seem to be the braver of the pair. Sometimes, like above, a male will venture in first.

I have hundreds of photos of cardinals in the snow , many of which have been seen here on GWGT. I like to flood the market with cardinals! Many are taken in the woods of Niagara Falls State Park. I like to believe they enjoy my photography sessions.


In the woods, the cardinals are better protected against hawks by the tree and shrub cover afforded by this habitat. They do glow in the darkened woods and are still very easy to spot.


The sun does peek in through the trees, so some photos are brighter than others.


What I find is if I catch the birds off guard, I get some interesting expressions. It is getting harder and harder to get them in interesting poses when they know me so well. I may have to find a new spot to photograph the wild birds.


Some cardinals look pensive and others look like they are having a bad day. At least these two gave me an interesting look in the photos!


Angry looking Cardinal in the snow

I have a post coming up on birds giving me the look above. I often wonder what goes through their minds.

Starting in February, I have my Conservation Landscaping posts coming up. It shows how the birds live naturally and how you can take tips from nature to have them visit your garden. Conservation Landscaping is not about birds, but it does encourage all kinds of animals to your property.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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34 Responses to Pictures of Cardinals in Winter

  1. Nick Hunter says:

    Very nice photos and story. My favorite is the portrait on a twig with a soft white background. I installed sections of small, dead, northern white cedar .trees and dead apple tree limbs around my feeders, not just as perches, but also to provide that specific photo op.

  2. pepaulmier says:

    Beautiful pictures, cardinals are one of my favourite birds and I find that the female is so pretty too, usually female birds lack colour but not the cardinal.

  3. Beautiful as always and such expressive faces.

  4. kerlund74 says:

    Wonderful birds, great captured!

  5. As a child Cardinals and Blue Jays were my favorite types of birds. Beautiful images!

  6. Jet Eliot says:

    Stunning photos, and I liked hearing about your intimacy with the cardinals.

  7. Merilee says:

    I love the fact that they know you. They know your Jeep. It’s sweet and in a way, a great honor to be included into their world like that!

  8. A feast for the eyes, Donna.
    I’ve been watching my pair all morning as they feed. I’ve also been painting (but haven’t posted them) a number of watercolor sketches of cardinals.
    I’m quite taken with the beautiful golden tones of the female, accented by her magenta feathers. She is much more beautiful than given credit for, especially against the snow.

  9. meander1 says:

    Count me amongst the predictable…I loved these photos and the accompanying copy. Your work is a much appreciated gift.

  10. Beautiful photos! I love the way you are able to capture the different poses of them. Yes, they certainly know you for them to come that close to you for the seed bag.

  11. lulu says:

    What an absolutely perfect photo!!

  12. janechese says:

    Cardinals have often been a favourite on Christmas cards over the years.I can see why.Used to see them in our back yard when I lived in Ontario, Canada years ago. Do not have them in the west except for an occasional wanderer so appreciate the visual treat today. Even your branches are right -on. thanks for sharing .

  13. quarksire says:

    don’t see many cardinals in colorado 🙂 .. very kewl post and kewl shots also 🙂 .enjoyed the read ! 🙂 .. Q

  14. lucindalines says:

    I never thought of birds as adorable before but these two sure are.

  15. Cardinals in the snow are really an iconic winter image for this part of the world. You have to wonder what evolutionary purpose is served by devoting energy to growing into that bright red color – especially when, as you say, it makes them an easy target for predators. But it does make them dramatically beautiful in winter!

  16. Les says:

    I love that they know you and your vehicle. Survival instincts make for some interesting adaptations.

  17. Pat says:

    Beautiful photos of these delightful birds.

  18. acuriousgal says:

    That is so great, Donna….look how close that Cardinal is to you, just amazing. You know I loooove Cardinals and your pics! I think you just might be Mother Nature in disguise…..shhhhh, I won’t tell! Have a great night! ~Barb

  19. Ree says:

    How lovely! Your narrative is wonderful for these amazing pictures.

  20. I can’t believe how close you were. So amazing. “Flood the market with cardinals” That’s great!

  21. Donna! Your photos and descriptions of the daring-do of Mr. Cardinal and his mate totally filled me with joy!!! Thank you!!

  22. Whenever I see a Cardinal I think of my husband’s grandma:) Beautiful Captures!

  23. Sonja says:

    The Pied Piper is at it again! These photos are just the best and why not–they’re portraits of friends. I so appreciate that you are so generous with your knowledge.

  24. Gorgeous with the contrast of the colourful birds against the snow. 😀

  25. franzisofie says:

    Fluffy birds. 🙂 They are very cute. Nice photos!

  26. Absolutely superb photographs of the Cardinals. Amazing is it not that these birds can sense your intention when they see your jeep coming. Is this intuition or a Pavlovian response?


  27. Annette says:

    Just gorgeous! It’s really about time you send me a couple, they’d look so nice in my garden 😉

  28. mariekeates says:

    What beautiful photos. I wish we had cardinals here in England.

  29. Phil Lanoue says:

    Super shots of the always pretty cardinals in wonderful winter settings!

  30. I am gobsmacked over these, seriously Donna. The first one in the serious is so perfectly composed I have no words. Oowedo, sigh. Margie

  31. great photos. cute storyline! 🙂

  32. Lovely post! As a lover of birds and one who mixes feed puddings from WF bulk department, I salute you! This winter has been harsh, and I am so happy you trudge out to feed your feathered friends. Here they feed on my terrace wall. Having wild birds in our lives makes us better people. Check out my blog tomorrow for my recipe for LaSauce Bird Buffet! 😉

  33. Well they certainly see you coming and know who has food….next to the falls, I love your cardinal pics…these are so adorable…love the expressions and fab colors.

  34. Denise says:

    Lovely birds. So wonderful that they recognize you and follow you.

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