Friday, November 9, 2012

Pic of the Day

Northern Cardinal • Cardinalis cardinalis, male

PyrrhuloxiaCardinalis sinuatus, male
     Pyrrhuloxia, Cardinalis sinuatusCatalina State Park; Tucson, Arizona: Every one in North America is familiar with the Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, but many easterners are unfamiliar with the Pyrrhuloxia, Cardinalis sinuatus.  Both birds are members of the family cardinalidae, along with grosbeaks, buntings and the Dickcissel.
     The pyrrhouloxia ranges from the Rio Grande Valley on the Texas coast, west through the big bend, through southern New Mexico to eastern Arizona, and south.  This range overlaps the northern cardinal.  Some often mistake the male and female pyrrhuloxia with the female northern cardinal.  One easy way to tell the two apart is the pyrrhuloxias deeply down curved bill.  The pyrrhuloxia also has a grayer plumage than the cardinal.
     With every trip I take, I make a mental list of target birds to shoot.  This past summer I had the pyrrhuloxia on that list (for the fourth time).  I had taken shots on previous trips, but I was never happy with the results.  But, while visiting Catalina State Park in Tucson, Arizona this past June, I found this male singing on various perches in its territory.  After watching the bird make its rounds to its various sing perches I repositioned my self near the one with the best lighting.  
     Like clock work, the pyrrhuloxia moved from perch to perch until he arrived at the one my lens was trained.  Once he alighted and began to sing I had no problem getting the shot.  After numerous attempts over the years, I finally got a shot with which I was happy!

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f4,  1/1,250 @ f8


  1. ...congrats on your new target bird! I would love to see a Pyrrhuloxia too.

  2. Hi Kelly,

    They were just GREAT!, I could have watched them all day. If you get out that way Catalina State Park is a must see. You will be able to see a lot of desert species in one location.

    Also, thanks for the comment on my previous willet post.

    Just read your post on the Black and White Warbler. I can hardly wait for spring at Magee Marsh, hope to see you there. ......... Bobby