The male and female American Goldfinch usually wait until the trees have adequate foliage to camouflage in before they begin flirting about and nesting, respectively. The male, shown here front and back, is very bright yellow with black tail and wing features and a black crown.
The female (not shown) has no black on its head and has a brownish yellow underbelly and brown wing and tail feathers, but is also very camouflaged in bare branches and Spring leaves of the trees.
Cardinals have been gloriously prevalent in our backyard this Spring!
Here is the female partner of our fabulous pair gathering nesting twigs for her work along the Maumee River bank. She takes on most of the nest-building duties. She is more careful to stay hidden, using her camouflaging feathers.
Although the beautifully red male does contribute a few items to the nest now and then and visit the female to check her progress and offer encouragement, his main objective is to guard the operations. And he makes no bones about his presence, standing tall and alert and visible. From his heights, he continuously watches over his female partner and whistles and signals to her whatever messages are necessary.
While bright red male Cardinals seem purposefully to expose themselves on open branches, possibly to make attracting females easier, the girls stay more hidden in brush and tree branches. In many incidences, that makes them harder to photograph.
In fact, since earlier in the Spring this season, I’ve gotten one good chance at capturing a female in the only place I’m able to photograph — the backyard of our apartment building.
Female Cardinals are a good example of how bright coloration favors the male in the bird world, probably for the reason mentioned above: being the mating aggressor, the male needs to be seen more readily for purposes of necessary attraction.
In the second photo, this same female has gone down closer to the riverbank (note the rocks) in search of nesting materials. She holds a tiny branch in her beak.
Last Summer we twice experienced a flock of Cedar Waxwings visiting our backyard, once in May, and again later in the season. But this year, they have been few and far between, although apparently not far away, as I caught this beauty with nesting and/or food material in her beak as she passed through.
The black mask for which the species is known is clearly visible in this close-up.
Learning to whistle like a Cardinal actually gets results in luring those birds to perch closer to your camera range. They work their way closer to you as you continue to whistle in reply to them. Here are a few decent shots I got of our Cardinal friends visiting the riverbank trees behind our apartment building.
The fellow in the large left photo below was caught preening, and I thought he looked more like a parrot when I captured him in this pose fairly close in front of me on a low bush on the riverbank.