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Bearpath9
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01/09/2021 06:06AM  
Yesterday afternoon, I looked out at my feeder and was astonished. At least a dozen cardinals were scattered around the feeder. At one point there were nine on the ground, two at the feeder, about three or four on the fence, and I could see two in the brush behind the fence. Almost all were males, I counted two females for certain. Most of the males were almost black on their backs, with red on their fronts, a couple were brilliant red all over. I don't know if this is normal, but it sure was fantastic. I don't have anything special in the feeder, the usual songbird mix along with some extra oilers to attract cardinals, but not enough to generate this type of activity. Whatever the cause, it was great.
 
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Arcola
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01/09/2021 06:52AM  
That's pretty awesome! I've had as many as 5 at my feeder, but closer to spring. What blew my mind was yesterday morning I heard one singing his "Hey, I'm over here; lets start a family" song. That's about 3 weeks early around here.
 
01/09/2021 07:40AM  
The partial black ones are juvenile Cardinals.

In the middle of a snowstorm many years ago i had a similar experience at my feeders.

Thanks for sharing!
 
Bearpath9
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01/09/2021 08:04AM  
Did a little research. Apparently in the winter cardinals will gather in flocks of up to twenty birds. I usually have two families in the summer, and I have seen young being shown my feeder by their parents. Both families seem to nest in pine trees in my neighbors yards-one to the east and one to the west. Not disputing you, airmorse, but these seemed awful big for juveniles. Do the juveniles molt the black feathers in spring ? Perhaps they were females, though the feathers were darker than the usual brownish color that I have seen on the females in the summer.
 
01/09/2021 08:48AM  
Bearpath9: "Did a little research. Apparently in the winter cardinals will gather in flocks of up to twenty birds. I usually have two families in the summer, and I have seen young being shown my feeder by their parents. Both families seem to nest in pine trees in my neighbors yards-one to the east and one to the west. Not disputing you, airmorse, but these seemed awful big for juveniles. Do the juveniles molt the black feathers in spring ? Perhaps they were females, though the feathers were darker than the usual brownish color that I have seen on the females in the summer."

No worries Bearpath.

Did it look like this.



 
01/09/2021 08:52PM  
I have two nesting sites that have been in use for over three years, one in shrub just outside my office window. Lots of smiles from them. I have noticed the more mature birds have a bright orange beak, and several males have black feathers on their backs in the winter months. The fully mature males are notably larger and do stay more red.
I had a flock come in during a snow event a few years ago, but generally they come two or three at a time to feed.
Arcola, love those songs. Looking forward to that.
 
Bearpath9
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01/10/2021 08:21AM  
airmorse: "Bearpath9: "Did a little research. Apparently in the winter cardinals will gather in flocks of up to twenty birds. I usually have two families in the summer, and I have seen young being shown my feeder by their parents. Both families seem to nest in pine trees in my neighbors yards-one to the east and one to the west. Not disputing you, airmorse, but these seemed awful big for juveniles. Do the juveniles molt the black feathers in spring ? Perhaps they were females, though the feathers were darker than the usual brownish color that I have seen on the females in the summer."


No worries Bearpath.


Did it look like this.



"


To my untrained eye, those both look like juveniles, maybe male since I don't see the female type color on the beak, and the reddish feathers on the back indicate to me a male bird.
I tried to get some pics of them yesterday, but only 4 or 5 showed up, and that was in the morning. The big group showed up at about 4:30 in the afternoon, which means from where I am close to sunset, and of course it was cloudy so it wasn't the best conditions. And naturally my camera needed a battery charge on that day. I'm not to concerned about age and gender, I was just so amazed at seeing so many of these birds at one time. If they do it again, and if I can get some pics, I will post them. Whatever else, it was pretty darned cool.
 
jhb8426
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03/11/2021 10:54PM  
Throughout this last winter I've regularly had groups of a dozen or so cardinals almost daily at my feeders. I have four large pine trees in the yard that seems to attract them as well. Finches and juncos seem to accompany them regularly.
 
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