The Northern Cardinal is a mid-sized songbird with a distinctive crest on the head and a mask on the face which is black in the male and gray in the female. The male is a vibrant red, while the female is a dull red-brown shade. The Northern Cardinal is mainly granivorous, but also feeds on insects and fruit. The male behaves territorially, marking out his territory with song. During courtship, the male feeds seed to the female beak-to-beak. A clutch of three to four eggs is laid, and two to four clutches are produced each year. It was once prized as a pet, but its sale as cage birds is now banned in the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. I was actually tracking a squirrel when this little female’s beak caught my eye through all the thorns and branches. She obviously didn’t feel threatened because she posed beautifully for me. I took this along my back yard in Rockaway, NJ USA. I used the Nikon D3100 and the 70-300mm zoom lens.