Northern Cardinal Calls


Cheer cheer cheer or purty purty purty rings out in the woods, sung by both sexes and heard year round. Winter resident cardinals will sing on a bright sunny winter’s day, the calls heard from the understory plants of forests and home gardens. Yes, if you want Northern Cardinals, make sure to have a garden rich in twiggy branching plants for shelter.


During the breeding season…

male cardinals may sing 200 or more songs per hour in the wee hours of the morning. I wonder how they have the energy to mate after that one man show?

They have 16 different calls too, including the metallic chirp like when a hawk shows up. This got me thinking how cheerful these birds are to the winter landscape. While I think of them as cheerful, they have many other moods as well. Check out the bird expressions. Not everyone is pleasant, some are serious and others a little grumpy. It was -10° out by the river, so I guess a little show of displeasure is warranted. Plus I ran out of seed so the masses were a bit rowdy.

Just take a look at the brightly colored bird in the snow. It really is like a beacon to a marauding hawk. Cardinals don’t even molt into a dull winter plumage as so many birds do. They learned to stay near bushes under cover in winter in case hiding is necessary. So plant those understory shrubs if you want them near.


You just can’t have too many cardinals in winter. Purty, purty, purty birds.


On Nature and Wildlife Pics, more cardinals, a plethora of cardinals. Can you believe they are all different too? I am the cardinal whisperer…

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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23 Responses to Northern Cardinal Calls

  1. Chas Spain says:

    Amazing photos Donna. It must be beautiful to see these birds in the snow – a living Christmas tree.

  2. thesaltygardener says:

    They are all so beautiful! I love cardinals.

  3. This reminds me how much I enjoyed watching the red cardinals visit my friends’ birdtable on a Thanksgiving visit to North Carolina. You’ve really captured grumpy, indignant, perplexed and nonplussed in these purty birds!

  4. Great beauties – and so wonderfully showcased!

  5. menomama3 says:

    Aha! Now we know your secret to fabulous bird photography – food!

  6. libbylottie says:

    I love the look of a white/beige/brown winter scene with the pop of cardinal’s red…..looks “photo-shopped” – but thankfully it’s real!

  7. A fabulous collection of these beautiful brilliant red birds. They are hard to get right due to their coloring and you’ve done wonderfully.

  8. Excellent images! 🙂

  9. alesiablogs says:

    Red! One of my fave colors! Looks so nice on the birds! I have seen some here in the country! A bright red That is mesmerizing!

  10. Debbee🐝 says:

    Soo, soo, soo beautiful! I grew up in Buffalo, moved to Florida after I was married and now reside in Denver where we have no cardinals…I miss them very much. Your pics brought back many great memories, you are a fantastic photographer…Thank You😉

  11. debsgarden says:

    These are my all-time favorite birds! I enjoy their presence in my garden year-round. One thing I love about them are their good manners, with each other and with other birds, though there may be some mild fighting when two males are interested in the same female! Pairs mate for life. I once saw a male feeding a female a seed, even though it was not breeding season. And I have seen cardinals feeding baby birds of other species. Your photos are wonderful, as always.

  12. hoehoegrow says:

    What wonderful birds they are. We visited the USA last Spring and saw our first Cardinals. How exciting it was to see that flash of brilliant red in the trees!

  13. Your photos are so spectacular, love the gorgeous shots…On my initial birding trips I found I was too slow to catch sight of them while they were sitting, roosting (I can’t image what it takes to get such beautiful photos). The guide I was with gave me several sources to learn the bird calls so I could identify them by sound and use the calls to focus my vision before they took flight. That really made a huge difference, at least for me, and birding became really enjoyable.

  14. Good point about the understory plants for shelter. In my back garden the cardinals favor an old Deutzia and an overgrown Japanese Yew.

  15. Donna, the Cardinal Whisperer, you are too!!! 🙂

  16. aussiebirder says:

    I just adore the colouring of your cardinals Donna! and the little peek on their heads. We do not have them down under, so it is lovely to view such well captured pics of them here. Thanks!

  17. Pat says:

    Beautiful birds, especially in winter.

  18. They are fabulous, aren’t they? I’ve always enjoyed your sweet female cardinal at the bottom of your posts. I actually find the female cardinals more beautiful than the males (which I realize is unusual). There’s something about that sage/chartreuse color, combined with the touches of red. Anyway, they’re all beautiful, and they amaze me with their plentiful songs. 🙂

  19. Indie says:

    Gorgeous pictures! There is nothing prettier in winter than a cardinal framed by snow covered branches. The expressions on their faces cracks me up though – I always think of the cardinals in my yard as ‘grumpy old men’, since they perpetually look displeased.

  20. I must have enough twiggy branching plants in my garden as I have several cardinals. They seem to visit in male-female pairs. I only wish I could capture them as well as you do, Donna. P. x

  21. I think of the cardinal as your special bird, and they certainly pose well for you.

  22. I live in Arizona, and have not seen any cardinals, but I really enjoy your sharing. These little birds are so cute, and I never knew their colors are every color of red.

  23. One of the most beautiful birds especially in winter….I love their songs.

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