These past few weeks we’ve been visited by a little female cardinal so she’s the #NatureDoodlewash I’ve made today. She’ll come and sit for a moment on the metal fence of our terrace and stare at us briefly before flying off to somewhere else. She keeps returning hoping we’ve grown more interesting, but sadly we haven’t and so she quickly flies on. Typically the male cardinal gets all the glory with his signature red feathers that grace every other Christmas card, but I’ve always found the female version more interesting, particularly at dusk when she reveals her hidden hues.
Another cool trait of the female redbird is the gift of song. Only a few female North American songbirds can actually carry a tune, but the female cardinal enjoys singing, often while sitting in her nest. She’ll share song phrases with her mate in order to communicate about when to bring food to the nest. Not wanting to only be part of a duet, she’ll break out into a longer and slightly more complex song in an effort to upstage her husband. She may not make it on all the holiday cards, but she’s damn determined to prove she’s no slack when it comes to vocal performance.
Cardinals can appear a bit odd during spring and early summer when both sexes become a bit obsessed with protecting their territory. As their hormones rage, you’ll find them attacking their own reflections in windows and the shiny bumpers of cars. Which makes them appear perfectly insane. But that simply adds to their charm. And I can’t help but smile when I see our little guest come and greet us. I wish I could tell her that I think she’s actually the more beautiful of the pair. You’re beautiful and jungle red is so out this year, I want to say. But I don’t speak cardinal. So, I just stupidly nod in approval while admiring the subtle beauty of a little lady redbird.
Join me throughout the month of June on a virtual nature hike! Show everyone what you love most in nature with a watercolor sketch or painting and tag your images #NatureDoodlewash so we can all enjoy it with you! I’ll create a featured artist gallery of our global hike at the end of the month!
World Watercolor Month is coming in July! Click here to learn more!
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Gamboge, Azo Orange, Pyrrol Red and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal
Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
60 thoughts on “Little Lady Redbird”
We have a blackbird with red wings that has a half a song – I’d love to see this one in real life. Thanks for the intro!
Thanks so much, Cynthia! 😃💕ooooo I love the red winged blackbird!
That is stunning, Charlie! I see tonnes of males but I don’t remember seeing a female. They are more interesting to look at. My favorite around here after the cardinal is an oreole but they don’t come by very often.
Thanks so much, Catherine! 😃💕Yeah, for some reason we’ve only seen this one female around and no male version. Ooooo Orioles are gorgeous!!
beautiful bird Charlie! I have never, ever seen a Cardinal…..:( I have always been amazed by their color. I truly love the fact that you appreciate the female. I don’t even know what they sound like, now I need to google it and find out.
Thanks, Margaret! 😃💕And what?! You’ve never seen one? Wow…you need too, they’re stunning in person. A really lovely bird in both genders.. Hehe
What a gorgeous little visitor, Charlie! Very cute.
Thanks so much, Tom!! 😃
LOL! We did have one of those crazy female cardinals that tried to peck our car mirrors. You sure captured this one’s beauty! ❤️
Thanks so much, Teresa!! 😃💕Yeah, that behavior is bizarre to watch!! Lol
Sung to the tune of The Entertainer:
Oh, my handsome male of the bright red crest,
When you come round to visit our sticky nest
Won’t you bring us a morsel of food,
A little nut or a seed,
Perhaps a berry or weed,
Something to sink our pointy beaks into
I know you’re tired as can be
Have posed all day for photography
But we’re hungry you see
And I’ve been minding kiddies
Not a minute to change this old dress
So if you want to preen my golden plumage
I suggest you appear at the tree top cottage
And remember to daddy is to be
More than a red-hued birdy
And start to hunt with more finesse.
Well, all that singing has put a little orange into my tail feathers.
Just wow!! This is awesome Sharon!! I just sang it! Hehe Love this!! 💕😃
You have to stretch the melody a bit.
Beautiful doodlewash of a beautiful bird – I’m loving the funky crest! How lucky you are to be afforded her company -she can’t think you’re that dull if she continues to visit! 😉 And the image of one scuffling with a reflection is quite funny. Perfectly insane indeed, but not exclusive to birds: my (perfectly insane) cat Oscar has swiped and hissed at his own reflection many a time! 😛
Thanks Jacob!! 😃Haha! You need to get a video of Oscar doing that…it’s YouTube gold!! Or at least post it for us!! Hehe
Oh, it so would! No doubt he’d enjoy the celebrity! Sadly though he doesn’t do it so much now – he’s quite old, and is less for boxing and more for sleeping!
I’m always drawn to the beauty of the female cardinal too. We have tons of them here, and I love them. You captured the essence so wonderfully Charlie O!
Awww thanks Jodi! 😃💕 They’re such pretty birds! Glad ya liked my doodlewash version!
I love their song, too. They haven’t been around this year though. Maybe later in the summer…(K)
Hopefully they’ll come back and sing for you, Kerfe! 😉
All of nature comes and goes it seems…
You painted her beautiful with all the love showing through. I like ver watching them in the spring as they flit about singing and acting coy with each other.
Thanks so much, Teri! 😃💕 Yeah, they’re really fun to watch! It’s nice they seem to like to hang out around our terrace. Hehe
We have a pair of Cardinals that have been hanging out in our yard too. I do think the lady is more attractive in her understated style. Your rendition is lovely too. 😊
Thanks so much, Nancy! 😃💕 Glad you agree! The one that visits comes at what photographers call ‘the golden hour’ and the sun at that time of day reveals so much color! It’s beautiful!
Gorgeous and subtle colors, Charlie. And a very interesting narrative.
Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕Glad you liked this!!
Nice detail and wonderful color!
Awww thanks so much, Carmel! 😃💕
I love your Cardinal bird. I’m sure we don’t have any bird like this in the UK, but we have a Robin redbreast which appears on our Christmas cards.
Thanks so much! 😃💕 Glad you liked this! The robin is beautiful as well! I actually almost doodlewashed one of those tonight! Hehe
We have a lot of cardinals visiting us too and they make a lot of noise but I have never hear them sing. Maybe they are just warning me away for the nest. Love your girl bird Charlie.
Thanks so much, Beth! 😃💕I think they refer to almost any sound as singing. Hehe…but yeah…they might have been warning ya! Apparently they’re crazy territorial which I didn’t know!
I believe it!
Lovely female Cardinal, Charlie! ❤️ We don’t get Cardinals here in the Pacific Northwest so enjoy your doodlewash even more! 😍🎨💕
Awww thanks, Jill!! 😃💕Yeah, I didn’t realize they didn’t end up out west until I saw a map of their migration. Well glad you enjoyed my virtual version!! Hehe😃
I love cardinals, just wish I could see one for real, sadly not a chance, they don’t live here! Lovely doodlewash Charlie 😀
Thanks Rebecca!😃💕 So glad you liked this!
She’s lovely, Charlie!
Thanks Marina! Appreciate it! 😃💕
Would love to see her. Great pic.
She’s a beauty in person! Thanks so much, JP! 😃
I’m so sad for all the people who don’t have cardinals! Charlie, you’ve done a beautiful job with this mama Cardinal, I just love them too. They are much more beautiful than the males. So glad you agree. I just love your posts, never knew that about the singing, always learn something here, Charlie. I may just try painting a cardinal, thanks for the inspiration. ❤️❤️❤️
Thanks, Laura! 😃💕I’m starting to realize I may be taking these lovely birds for granted having always grown up seeing them! You should totally paint a cardinal!! It would be brilliant!!
nice little bird
Thanks so much! Glad you liked it! 😃
Oh Charlie this is a great work beautiful bird I love the colors and the shadow! Well done! <3 😉
Awww thanks Carolina!! 😃💕These birds always make me smile!
Yes very nice!
I really enjoy this photo, very talented!
Thanks so much! 😃
If you have time would you mind looking at my blog? I’m just starting out and would appreciate some feedback.
Great start! Just post regularly and keep it up! My first month it was like I was talking to myself the whole time. 😊But eventually you find your audience! 😉
Thank you for the advice! It does kind of seem like that haha. Hopefully it’ll come in sooon enough
She’s a beauty and I agree her muted palette is so pretty. I love that you used sepia ink on her, she glows!
Thanks Cathe!😃💕 I’m really loving the sepia ink… I keep thinking it’s so dark and close to black and then I realize how different it is. Cool effects!
She is so lovely 😍
Awww thanks so much, Snehal! Glad ya liked her!😃💕
Gorgeous painting of a delightful subject. As always, your post is both informative and wonderfully entertaining. Thank you for being a bright part of the day.
Awww so happy you liked this one! Thanks, Haunani! 😃💕