Male Northern Cardinal

By | June 17, 2019

I photographed this male Northern Cardinal back in June 2018 at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I don’t photograph a lot of song birds at this refuge unless I can get a clean shot. The vegetation is so thick at this refuge that getting a shot that doesn’t have lots of clutter is difficult.

Male Northern Cardinal
A male Northern Cardinal at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

Northern Cardinal Facts

  • You will often see the male feeding the female beak to beak. This is a courtship behavior.
  • The Northern Cardinal is a territorial song bird. The male sings from a high place to defend his territory. He will chase off other males entering his territory.
  • The Northern Cardinal’s diet comprises primarily of weed seeds, grains, and fruits (up to 90 percent). It is a ground feeder. It feeds its young almost exclusively on insects.
  • Pairs mate for life, and stay together year-round.
  • The oldest wild cardinal banded by researchers lived at least 15 years and 9 months, although 28.5 years was achieved by a captive bird. (Source – Wikipedia)

How I Got The Shot – Male Northern Cardinal

I was parked on the side of the tour road at Miner’s Cove (Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge) when this male Northern Cardinal flew next to my vehicle, and I was able to get this photo.

I had my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera resting on a bean bag draped over the open window of my pickup. I was using a Canon EF 100 – 400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/200 of a second at f5.6 and the ISO at 1250. White Balance on auto. I was using single point, continuous auto focus with evaluative metering.

Author: Steve Creek

An Arkansas-based Wildlife Photographer specializing in the wildlife found in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

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