The male Northern Cardinal is at its best this time of year. In the winter months when the landscape turns its most drab, the Cardinal’s red plumage actually becomes brighter. It’s as if the Cardinal was sent along to provide a flash of color just when we need it most.
Last weekend, on a birding walk along the Potomac in Northern Virginia, the trees were bare, skies gray, and the river itself ran a somber brown. We started walking back to the car without seeing a single bird. Suddenly two male Cardinals swept by and perched in the trees just ahead.