This is the way he looked last week.
I’m still wondering if we are breeding a new kind of Cardinal here in Uxbridge, Massachusetts. Yesterday, I met the lady of the family and today, the babies showed up. Yes, orange babies. I think we were their first eating appointment post-nest. They still had their dark baby spots and pokey, pointy feathers on their heads and necks. Meanwhile, Orange Dad is turning red, but his beak is still orange. Do I know what this means? No, but I’m not sure anyone knows what it means. I do have more pictures.
Next, yesterday’s shot of Mama Orange cardinal who has a really huge beak. I almost thought I was looking at a parrot with a beak that big. Maybe she is a recent nestling too? She has pointed little feathers on top of her head, so she may be very young. But look at that orange beak and wings!
And now, introducing a baby orange Cardinal. Most baby animals are adorable, but baby birds are not very cute, especially not these guys. It’s hard to believe that these awkward baby birds will grow into either great big orange Cardinals, or big red Cardinals with orange beaks … or some combination of the aforementioned. It was one of those days when I was shooting directly into the sun. Yes, I know that a polarizing filter would help, but when you are shooting birds or other wildlife, you don’t have time to screw your polarizing lens onto your lens. By the time you’re done, your photograph has flown away. Two shots came out acceptably well. The rest were all burned out on top. There is a time of day when it’s nearly impossible to shoot at that angle, and this was it. It always seems to be right at “dinnertime” at the feeder.
So now we have two generations of orange but maybe turning red later in life Cardinals. Is this just a color aberration or are we breeding a new species of Cardinal? Well, it wouldn’t really be a new species. It would at best be a color variation on a standard Cardinal. But that’s still pretty cool. Our very own color variant. Can we name him after me? Or maybe just name them Serendipitous Cardinals. That would fit on several levels.