I had a really hard time yesterday trying to bring the color out in the orange Cardinal’s feathers because the sun bleached them so effectively. I could see it, but it was pale compared to what my eyes had seen. But this morning, it was a whole different story. He came back. It was shady and now you can see how really orange he is. You can also see, even on these pictures how different the color is where the sun was directly on the feathers. It’s a huge difference.

A truly orange Cardinal

It can take hours before you get anything even remotely similar to what your eyes saw. It take a lot of time and the result, while interesting, are never exactly what you were looking for. It’s frustrating to want to get what you saw to show up on screen. It’s frustrating, slow work and half the time, I don’t like the result and toss it anyway.But today was great. Almost all the pictures were exactly what I saw: orange, more or less the color of our orange Jeep Renegade. Just like this picture.

Maybe Jeep came to our home in the dead of night and used wizardry to change the Cardinal;s feathers to match our car? Nah. I don’t think they need sales quite that badly. Or maybe they do. Times are pretty hard for car dealers these days. Pretty hard for almost everybody. 2020 will never be anyone’s “good old days.” Right now, we are in survival mode and the birds are one of my few releases. Here are more. All very orange.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all plus a big helping of cynicism.


  1. We have a rather red cardinal here, and the brown one too. Spotting the red one is easy. I keep binoculars out back so I can spy on them sometimes and see who else is out there. I always thought it was just sparrows and robins, but there really is a variety of visitors.
    Woody has left our tree along this year and is knocking on one near the corner of the block. All those years I watched cartons I thought woodpeckers were almost as big as people. They are small and hard to spot.


    1. It depends on the woodpecker. There are a few really big ones. We have one of them on this property. He’s REALLY big and not one of our feeder birds. You only see these guys on trees. The smaller ones visit the feeders.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You need a camera with a longer lens. And maybe a feeder. They have them that attach to your window. They can’t see you, but you have a great view of all of them. If my kitchen windows weren’t broken, I’d put one in. Unfortunately, I’d have to replace the windows first.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe a cardinal’s been breeding with a yellow bird. I see cardinals all the time around here (state bird and all), but they’re always so bright red you’d be blind to miss them types…


    1. This is what they call “Leucistic” which really means “wrong colored feathers.” There are quite a lot of them among various species. When I first saw him fly by, I thought “Oriole”? But he doesn’t look anything like an oriole, other than the orange. When Owen saw him, he said “He look exactly like a Cardinal, but he’s orange.” That’s when I got serious about looking for “wrong colored birds.” And sure enough, I found a lot of them.

      No one knows why it happens. It’s not cross-breeding and it doesn’t seem to be an inherited mutation, though it is a mutation.

      It would be very cool if it WAS inherited. We could be the beginning of a whole new species: Northern Orange Cardinals, born and bred in Uxbridge, the former home of William Howard Taft. Two reasons for fame!


    1. I keep hoping it turns out to be an inheritable mutation. It IS a mutation and it happens to a lot of birds. When you see a bird and you say “HUH?” … good chance you’ve just seen a “leucistic” bird. No one knows why it happens, but I think it would be great if we became the founders of a new species of Cardinal … the Great Orange Northern Cardinal. Whoo-ee!

      Liked by 1 person

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