When you use the word "cardinal" around here, you could be talking about either the bird or the bush.
Here's a closeup of some of the blossoms on our cardinal bush this year.
Cardinal bushes are also called Weigela (their genus), and you have 3 guesses (the first two don't count) as to why they are called "cardinal" bushes! ;-) There are several species of this plant, and I'm not sure which species we have but I'm guessing that it is Weigela vanicekii, although Weigela florida is also a close match. Ours seem to be "redder" than the florida species though.
Below is another shot of of a part of our cardinal bush, with both buds and flowers.
Next up is the first and only shot of a male Northern Cardinal, the bird. The scientific name is easy to remember: Cardinalis cardinalis.You just have to love it when the genus and species are exactly the same! These birds are migratory, but many of them do overwinter in our area here in Western NY state rather than fly south for the winter. They are basically seed eaters with thick, strong bills, but can be opportunistic if they happen across a juicy looking bug.
It's not a great shot because these birds are a bit flighty (yes, pun intended), and I was only able to photograph this one through the window of the kitchen door - I had to word extremely fast to even get this shot.
The female cardinal was a bit less disturbed by my presence, but I still had to snap off some quick shots without having the time to fully focus and zoom my camera. Here's what I came up with.
You can see that the male's coloring is much different than the female's. Males always have sooooo much RED! But of course, they both have that distinctive head crest.
Another shot of the female cardinal that prefers to pick seeds from those scattered under our feeder rather than out of the feeder directly.
And that wraps up another photo shoot for me as I keep trying to photograph as many different nature subjects as I can. Little by little, I'm getting experience, and hope to produce better photos more consistently than the present. Wish me luck!