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21 Simply Stunning Bird Photos of Cardinals

Cardinal birds are among the most popular and beloved in America, and these gorgeous photos make it easy to see why birdwatchers love them.

Cardinal on a snowy branch surrounded by red berriesCourtesy Paul Hersey

Red Cardinal Bird and Red Berries

“Contrary to most people, I look forward to snow storms, when the bird activity increases dramatically. While the colors of nature are generally subdued in winter, the cardinal shows up against a white backdrop of snow. I captured this male cardinal with a Canon 20d and a Canon 70 to 200mm lens in my backyard in Vermont,” says Paul Hersey. Learn how to attract cardinals.

female cardinalCourtesy Janine Martin

Female Cardinal in Winter

“This female Northern cardinal bird sat on this pine tree waiting for her time at the feeder,” says Janine Martin. If you see a cardinal, here’s what it means.

cardinals at bird feederCourtesy Sharon Cuartero

Feeder Friends

“I never saw this Northern cardinal pair close enough to photograph them together in the same frame. When one was on the feeder, the other was on the look out elsewhere. On one cold morning in early winter, however, I captured the male approaching the feeder just as his mate made her exit to a nearby fence post,” says Sharon Cuartero. Discover the best bird feeders and birdseed for cardinals.

cardinal in snowCourtesy Kelly Beall

Shake Your Tail Feathers

“One of my favorite places to watch the birds is from my kitchen table. I have a large tree right out back and the birds go crazy when it snows. I snapped this image of a Northern cardinal with my Nikon D3400. You can really tell just how much fun this cardinal was having, hopping from branch to branch and getting his beak deep into the bird seed, which was covered with snow!” says Kelly Beall. Follow these simple tips to attract more winter birds.

cardinal in treeCourtesy Karen Lynch

Tree Topper

“I took this picture in my backyard while I was watching an approaching storm. The sky was getting darker and the wind was picking up. Suddenly this cardinal appeared and sat in the tree nearby and watched with me for a very short time. I had my camera with me, so I got this picture before he took off again,” says Karen Lynch. Check out cardinal gifts for redbird lovers.

female cardinalCourtesy Bernard Creswick

Drying Off After a Bath

“Several families of cardinals visit my feeder throughout the year. This female cardinal perched on a nearby stump in the sun, presumably to dry her feathers after a bath. I snapped several frame with my Nikon D7100 with a Tamron 150-600mm lens at 500mm before she took off. The female cardinal sometimes gets overlooked compared to the more vivid male, but this pose reveals some of her hidden beauty,” says Bernard Creswick. Here’s how to attract birds to use a birdbath.

cardinal in pine treeCourtesy Ronald Washington

Perching in a Pine Tree

“This was my lucky day because my favorite songbirds are cardinals. The only problem was that this particular bird wasn’t showing up in my backyard. So what I did was came up with the idea to play cardinal birdcalls. It worked. Within 30 minutes, cardinals start showing up from everywhere,” says Ronald Washington. Psst—have you ever seen a yellow Northern cardinal?

cardinal on bird bathCourtesy Leah Hallett

Bird Bath Hair

“I was looking outside my window where the bird bath is, and saw this majestic looking male cardinal. I’d been taking pictures out the same window earlier in the morning so my photo gear was close by and ready. Truly a rare occasion to have a beautiful bird posing in a great spot,” says Leah Hallett. Meet the pyrrhuloxia: desert cardinal of the Southwest.

white cardinalCourtesy Diane Atterson

Leucistic Cardinal

“This white male cardinal lives at the Living Museum in Newport News, Virginia,” says Diane Atterson. Check out more photos of white cardinals and leucistic birds.

cardinal in spring flowersCourtesy Alan Hailston

Cherry Red Cardinal Bird

“This past spring, I noticed a male cardinal visiting my double cherry tree every morning. My goal was to get a picture of the red cardinal surrounded by the pink cherry blossoms while they were still in bloom. After two weeks of waiting, I was lucky to get this image,” says Alan Hailston. Don’t miss the 51 best spring bird pictures ever!

cardinalCourtesy Sheila Babin

Strike a Pose

“I used a Canon Rebel T2i to capture this photo of a male cardinal. I make my own suet and the birds love it! This cardinal had been eating from the suet feeder when he dropped down to this fence post to work on a sunflower seed. Once he finished he looked up to the feeder, ready to fly back up, and I caught him in this pose,” says Sheila Babin. Do cardinals mate for life?

female cardinalCourtesy Shawn Parson

Ready for Her Closeup

“This is a photo of a female northern cardinal bird at my deck feeder in Coolville, Ohio. It was taken with a Canon Rebel t5 with a 300 mm lens,” says Shawn Parsons. What does a cardinal’s call sound like?

cardinalCourtesy Joe Martin

Patient Cardinal Bird

“I have a feeder in my yard in Grand Island, New York, and the timid Northern cardinal was patiently waiting for his turn,” says Joe Martin. Discover the 3 types of seeds and feeders birds love best.

cardinals sharing seedsCourtesy Anne Sipe

Sharing Seeds

“I chose this picture of cardinals because it’s a bird behavior we don’t always get to witness. I shoot with a Canon 5si Rebel EOS,” says Anne Sipe. We asked the bird experts: Check out sweet photos that show how birds flirt and attract mates.

cardinal on teacup feederCourtesy Vicki Schabel

Tea Time

“I have made made several bird feeders, and this is one of my cardinals eating from one of them. I so enjoy watching them from the window!” says Vicky Schabel. Learn how to make your own DIY teacup bird feeder.

cardinals on fenceCourtesy Carol Estes

Cardinals on the Fence

“This wasn’t a normal day with my camera. Just about every male and female cardinal from the surrounding area came in to feed after a harsh blizzard. My fence is usually popular with neighborhood birds waiting their turn to eat, but this was a very special moment,” says Carol Estes of LaPorte, Indiana. Psst—you’ll love these winter bird photos.

northern cardinals spring birds Cindy Thompson Bnb Bypc 2020Courtesy Cindy Thompson

Kissing Cardinal Birds

“I was birdwatching in my backyard when I caught a flash of red in a tree to my right. I whipped my camera over and got just one shot of a male cardinal feeding a seed (looks like kissing, right?) to his pretty mate. It wasn’t until I looked at the photo in the computer that I noticed the tiny chipmunk on a nearby branch,” says Cindy Thompson.

cardinal birdCourtesy Rebecca Granger

Spring Cardinal

“Cardinals, some of my all-time favorite birds, visit my yard every day year-round. During the spring, they often perch in my blooming crabapple tree. I love this time of year when birds sing and blooms show their beauty,” says Rebecca Granger of Bancroft, Michigan. Check out 7 backyard birds that eat berries.

cardinal birdCourtesy Anita Stevens

Curious Cardinal

Anita Stevens shared this adorable photo of a cardinal in an inquisitive pose. He seems to be wondering about the identity of this mystery bird. Learn about a rare half male, half female cardinal.

cardinal birdCourtesy Marty Maynard

Sunrise Cardinal

“I sit on my back porch waiting and hoping to get a shot of a red cardinal bird. I was about to give up and go in when this one landed and stayed for a long time,” says Marty Maynard.

cardinal bird in snowCourtesy Deanna Mayhew

Snowy Cardinal Scene

Deanna Mayhew of Crocker, Missouri, says, “Northern cardinals are always a welcome sight. They decorate the landscape with a pop of red as they sit atop the branches like fluffy ornaments. They’re so refreshing when it’s dreary.” Check out 15 of the snowiest bird photos ever!

Lori Vanover
Lori Vanover is the senior digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor's degree in agricultural and environmental communications from the University of Illinois. Lori enjoys growing vegetables and flowers for pollinators in her backyard gardens. She also is an avid bird-watcher.

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