The snowstorm over, it’s quiet, except for the wind. A cardinal shelters in a barberry bush, as red as the berries had been.
Seven cardinals—three pairs and a lone male—take turns drinking from the stream, then perch in the lilac’s bare branches, four feet apart.
Cloudy and cold. A cardinal perched in the lilac sings softly, barely opening his beak. The sound of a freight train laboring up the valley.
Overcast and cold. Juncos hop down the snowy streambanks for a drink. A female cardinal flies past—the extra red in her open wings.
Heavy cloud cover. A flash of red from a male cardinal cutting through the yard. Gray heads of goldenrod almost shine in the gloom.
Two faded contrails in an otherwise clear sky. A cardinal sings his spring song, which bears a very strong resemblance to his winter song.
Sun through thin clouds. A flash of red as a cardinal emerges from bathing in the stream. Two ravens croak back and forth, high and low.
A yellow gash appears in the clouds to the east and heals up again. The cardinal attacks his reflection. Military jets howl over, unseen.
Steady rain. The cardinal makes two sorties against his reflection in the window and retreats to the shelter of the cedar tree.
The cardinal attacks his reflection then sings in triumph. The Cooper’s hawk skulks out of the woods like a ninja. Today I’m the cardinal.