The Northern Cardinal, the Blizzard, and the Peanut

We’re having a blizzard today, possibly a foot of snow or more by tomorrow morning. I’m not complaining, though. I get to spend the day on the porch watching the birds at the feeders. This is the kind of weather that keeps the feeders busy.

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There are lots of Woodpeckers, Chickadees, and Goldfinches – but it’s the Northern Cardinals who keep drawing my attention. They go to great lengths to extract peanuts in the shell from my feeder.

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This makes me happy, as I had worried that the Cardinals would go missing once I stopped putting out sunflower and safflower seed. I stopped because sunflower and safflower attracted great voracious hordes of English sparrows who would eat everything in their path. English Sparrows love peanuts, but they can’t handle peanuts in the shell. Fortunately, the Northern Cardinals are not so easily deterred, and I am glad to reward their perseverance.

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Doesn’t it look like he is balancing himself with one wing? These feeders are not really made with Cardinals in mind. They are moire accommodating for bigger birds like Bluejays or pecking birds like Woodpeckers or Nuthatches.

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He can’t quite pull it loose – dang!

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Fortunately, there’s more than one way to skin a peanut.

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Resistance is futile, peanut!

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So close!

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Hurrah! The peanut is mine! And the English Sparrow looks on enviously from above.

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The Goldfinch is not impressed, however. He’s just really cold.

Seen any good bird antics lately?

86 Comments on “The Northern Cardinal, the Blizzard, and the Peanut”

  1. Nice — a good lesson in tenacity! I’m also drawn to some birds much more than others. The cardinals are standouts in your snow, so of course they draw the eye! I initially thought the red bird atop your feeder was alive as well, hahaha. ENJOY and stay warm.

  2. The hordes come here. Ugh… I love your pictures of the cardinal getting a peanut. I love action shots of common birds. It is so much more interesting that a portrait shot that has been done again and again. I hope you get to stay home today and watch your peanuts disappear.

  3. Wonderful photos! Thank you for sharing. I

    I’m about 5 hours south of you and was hoping for the 5-9″ of snow that was forecast but sadly we only got rain. Still, my cardinals were waiting on me this morning to fill the feeder. 🙂 I do so enjoy the birds.

  4. That looks seriously cold Jason, your cardinals are very striking especially against the snowy backdrop. We have just one female house sparrow visiting our garden, what I would give for her to nest here this Spring. I’ve read the decline here, 10 million less birds than 25 years ago is due to diminishing nesting sites and a decline in insects as a food source for sparrows. Whats happening over there that Sparrows are thriving?

      • I live about 50 miles outside of London in the UK. The House Sparrow population has fallen 60%. Studies have shown one cause is that chicks are starving due to lack of invertebrates as a food source. I had assumed there is a similar useage of pesticides in the UK as America and would like to understand why House Sparrows are so successful where you are but are in serious decline here and are now listed as a red status bird. In my own garden I garden organically, and provide as much habitat help as possible but still rarely see house Sparrows.

  5. You made my day with the photos of your Cardinal friends. I love Cardinals and almost never see them. So thank you for the treat (no pun intended). We have an ornamental crab apple, and it attracts robins this time of year. You can go days without seeing any and then all of a sudden there are 30-40 out there, and I find myself just standing at the window watching them.

  6. Great activity for a blustery day. We don’t have bird feeders due to our feline companions but I do enjoy watching birds in the trees. We have an assortment of bluejays, woodpeckers, crows, chickadees and starlings to keep us company. No cardinals this far north, I have to enjoy them virtually.

  7. Very, very cute Cardinal pics. The little guy really is persistent. I saw the snow you have been getting from here in Maui on the news, and our area has had the same. I am glad to be missing the snow, but airlines are canceling flights I heard. It won’t be too bad to be stuck in Seattle though.

    • They are called English sparrows in North America. Why they are called English and when they arrived here I’m not sure. They are an Old World Sparrow and considered a different grouping of birds from the New World Sparrows. Native sparrows I see in my garden include the white-throated and white-crowned sparrows, but there are many other North American sparrows.

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