Sunrise and Singing Cardinals at the Bluffs: Feb 5, 2022

On December 21, 2021, the sun rose at 7:46 am. Today it rose at 7:27 am as days get longer. Winter is clearly the best time to see the sunrise if you don’t want to be out of bed unreasonably early.

Here is how it looked from the beach at Scarborough Bluffs on this morning of -15 degrees.

I am fascinated by bird song and have spent much of my life trying to discern exactly what differentiates the call of one species from another.

We had several cardinals singing during our walk this morning and many other species will join in the chorus as we approach May 24 – the traditional “most species” day in the Toronto area.

How to describe a cardinal song? Here is what various bird guides say:

  • clear slurred whistles, lowering pitch
  • what-cheer cheer cheer etc.; birdy birdy birdy
  • woit woit woit chew chew chew chew
  • pichew pichew pichew tiw tiw tiw tiw tiw tiw

To me, the cardinal has a definitive sound just as a violin or flute have a definitive sound. I listen for that sound rather than any chew chew chew etc. pattern.

Northern Cardinal (male)

Interestingly, female cardinals also sing.

Northern Cardinal (female)

Other birds:

Downy Woodpecker (male)
Trumpeter Swans
Canada Geese on the birdfeeding rock
Red-tailed Hawk
Canada Geese and Mallards
Canada Goose

Park scenes:

St. Augustine’s Seminary
Wind waves in the snow

Today’s group:


Yesterday’s post had a photo of a male Hooded Merganser.

Hooded Merganser (male)

I received this comment:

Hi Miles! 
Loved your photos today – you captured the cold!!! Icy birds. I sent a friend a pic of a hooded merganser and they sent me a pic of “Beavis”. I will never look at hooded mergansers without seeing
this in my mind now. Ha!  


Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.             – Robert Frost (1874–1963)

Miles Hearn

2 thoughts on “Sunrise and Singing Cardinals at the Bluffs: Feb 5, 2022

  1. Kathy Edgar

    Miles, what beautiful photos and such interesting observations about bird songs. You are so right. Words don’t do them justice.


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