Earlier today, as Myladylove and I enjoyed breakfast, she suddenly sat her teacup down and pointed toward the fence bordering the side yard. "Look at all the redbirds in those bushes!"
The high wooden fence marking the downstream boundary of the property, about 150 feet from cottage, is partially obscured various evergreens, saplings, and a few more mature trees—a nice brushy tangle which furnishes secret nest sites for thrashers, wrens, and cardinals during the summer, shelter for all species during winter's storms, and a fine escape hatch for feeder birds whenever the Cooper's hawk swings by looking for lunch. On the branches of several of the smaller trees, and the tips of the evergreen, I saw numerous splotches of red, like scarlet rubies scattered against the falling snow.
Twenty, twenty-five male cardinals? Maybe—and maybe twice that number when you added in females. "I'm getting my camera," I said and headed for the hallway, knowing full well there might not be a single redbird there when I returned, though the round trip to my desk and back to the windowside table would take only a handful of seconds. Still, if you're going to call yourself a photographer, you have to try.
As I feared, a number of the cardinals moved elsewhere during my circular dash. But several stayed put…and the photo I've posted was the first frame I snapped the instant I got back to the table. You'll have to take my word that there were at least twice the number of redbirds in the same small area initially.
You can also take my word that the above pix contains seventeen birds—ten cardinals, three titmice, two chickadees, one tree sparrow, and one starling. Or you can double-click to enlarge and count for yourself. (Here's the only hint you get—there's only one bird in the evergreen, the rest of those blobs are leaves.}