The other day I woke up to the sound of the Northern Cardinal singing from the top of the pine tree in my parents back garden. It sent a thrill through me on hearing it my first morning back in Ontario. I jumped to the window to scope out where the distinctive music was coming from. It did not take long for me to spot it as its plumage against the early grey winter backdrop made it stand out like a Royal Mail pillbox. This bird is a perfect combination of familiarity, conspicuousness, and style - a shade of red you can’t take your eyes off.
I’ve been keeping an eye out for it since. That song is so familiar to me, and yet it has also become somewhat foreign. I’ve been away from it for a long time, which makes this special creature's call on returning that much clearer and noticeable to my ear.
This bright red bird, exotic to some, sings confidently from the branch. The sound is carried across the neighbourhood, and over the rooftops, and drifts into the overcast February sky. It heralds in a new day, and anticipates the spring to come. It does what it is made to do, and is not shy about it.
I fathom this small creature that brings brightness during the relentless Canadian winters. For me, it carries with it a sense of hope every time I see it and hear its uplifting song. Hope and promise - and joy! I’m happy to be reacquainted with it on this winter visit to Niagara.
To listen to this special bird's call, click here.