Monday, April 9, 2012

A Brazilian Beauty - Red Crested Cardinal

After reading Al Mercer and Rich Williams' recent post (see original post link here) for this strange looking bird from Olympic Centennial Park , I was in doubt how a bird native to Brazil and was introduced to Hawaii in 1930, showed up at our local park. Saturday evening, I read another email posted by Gus Kaufman, Jr., I decided to try my luck on Easter to see if I can find this beauty. With Gus's wonderful help on direction, where to park and how to get to the possible sighting location, I marched to COP on Sunday morning .  Gus mentioned he saw the bird at around 11:30 AM, I know I have to be at the park no later than that time point as bird's behavior is often predictable, this escapee's appearance is a wonderful surprise to all birders.

Red-crested Cardinal, aka Brazilian Cardinal ...Click foto to enlarge

I was not alone at the COP. There were two other birders (they preferred not to be named) were anxiously searching this bird when I got to the park. They greeted me with a warm smile and we all knew what they were searching for and they told me they have not had any luck this morning. I suggested we split into two teams and looked around ground and low tree as cardinals like to forage on ground and low brushes. I even brought a big bag of mixed seeds because I had no idea if this Brazilian beauty eats what seed or if he or she eats only tacos :) 

After spreading seeds all over the place (thank god, there is no police around), with less than 5 min, this beautiful Red-crested Cardinal flew into my eye level and landed on a tree about 10 feet from me. And that was 11:45 AM, as per Gus, he saw this bird at 11:30. I was stunned by this bird's beautiful plumage and more surprised that she did not get scared away by me standing so close to her. As far as I could remember my finger kept snapping for the next 10 min. The other two birders also came back and I waved at them and gestured them to come towards me. I could see how happy they were when they saw this bird. I stayed for another hour and got a lot of HD videos and she again, showed up at 12:55 PM. Though both sexes look similar, I think this bird is a female because I saw her picking up nesting material and flew to a nearby tall tree! That made me wondering if there is a pair ....

As soon as I parked my car, I kind of knew today might be my lucky day because FREE parking on holiday :) I hope you enjoy this post.  --Happy Birding! -- Linda


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  1. Linda, It was your lucky day! Fabulous capture of this striking bird.
    I will try to get down to COP soon!

  2. Thanks Jean! Let me know if you decide to come down here. I know this bird will stay around COP for a while but just not sure how long and I really hope I can see more than one :)

    1. I spotted 2 of these on 4-12-12 in my backyard in Kennesaw GA.

  3. vzmaggie,
    Have you reported your sighting on ebird? Or if you have taken pictures? Red-crested Cardinals are not sexually dimorphic so they are very likely to be a pair!

  4. Are these birds still around? Going to be heading from West Tn to East Tn soon and would be willing to think about making a detour if they are still around.

  5. HossC, I am sure she is still there. If it's not too much trouble for you, I will encourage you to stop by the park. Good luck!

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