Visitors During our First Snowfall – Northern Cardinal

© Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.




Autumn is but a memory. Winter is here to stay. When that first snowfall of the year comes it’s almost magical. Those fluffy white snowflakes fall from the sky coating the landscape. In that moment, everything looks clean and white. It’s so pretty that you look out the window to watch the snowflakes fall. I was doing just that when I realized that my backyard was full of visitors. I stood there watching, amazed at how many different kinds of birds were darting around, trying to get to the bird feeder.




I ran to get my camera. The light was not great but I didn’t care. I jacked up my ISO and went for it. I don’t know why they were all there at the same time but I just started shooting, trying to capture as many as I could before they flew away. I was using my 70 -300mm lens because there was no time to set up my 150-500mm lens. I hope to set up some kind of blind so I can use a tripod and the bigger lens to capture better close-ups of these little guys.




I have never seen so many male and female Northern Cardinals in one place. This bird is also known colloquially as the redbird or common cardinal. The bright red male cardinals are usually easy to spot and I would occasionally see them at the feeder in the summer. Cardinals don’t migrate and they don’t molt into a dull plumage, so they’re still breathtaking in winter’s snowy backyards.




The female would fly to the fence or a branch near the feeder and then fly to the feeder when there was space. The male was more aggressive and would fly right to the feeder routing anyone on it at the time. Then he would fly to the large Pine tree in the yard or out of the yard, which made him farther away and harder to capture. I will post a few more pics of the other birds visiting that day in my next post.




I was able to get this close-up of the female Cardinal but it is my least favourite shot. I like the pose but unfortunately the background is just a mess of branches. I cropped the image and blurred as much of the background as I could. Most of the images are better viewed in the larger format so remember to click on the image.



6 thoughts on “Visitors During our First Snowfall – Northern Cardinal

  1. Love, lOVE Love the cardinals especially the females. they are so soft and muted but still have their little orangey red copeton. I painted a little watercolor, well two actually of a female Cardinal and they are gorgeous birds. Love the one in flight straight at you and the one on the branches too. I always try to use lots of DOF just for that reason.
    Have a great day
    peace n abundance,

    1. I love the beautiful red of the male Cardinals against the white snow and hope to capture more this season. I agree, the female is striking too. Usually, the females are a dull brown or grey. Nature has a strange sense of humour.

  2. Great shots, especially the flying bird. Do you know what f-stop and shutter speed you used to capture the movement of the bird’s wings?

    1. Yes, but remember that I was dealing with poor lighting conditions and trying to adjust my shutter speed at high as I could. I shot this image at ISO 2500 at f8 with a shutter speed of 1/160. Usually I would consider this a miss because the bird is blurred but I like the sense of motion and the effect on the wings so I went with it.

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