Cardinal Pose

There is a word that best describes the male cardinal in the height of mating season: red.

When you put a bright red bird anywhere at all it stands out, and it stands out in the brightest possible way. The male cardinal certainly stands out. With his bright, bright red feathers, black face-mask and bright orange beak, he is about as red as can possibly be. When you pose him a tree, especially a very green tree, the contrast is striking and absolutely beautiful.

This male cardinal was photographed in southern Arizona, just north of the Mexican border. I especially adored the way he stayed perfectly still for me, and it was almost like he was indeed posing for me. Now and then he would turn this way or that, so as to best catch the sun, and from that session Cardinal Pose was created.

Scientists are not sure why the males are so bright red. One school of thought says that this actually helps camouflage the cardinal: perhaps it does. Another says it helps the females select the best males for breeding, and this has promise. Whatever the reason, though, this fine fellow is beautiful beyond compare.

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