Tuesday, November 7, 2017

RBA: NORTHERN CARDINAL in Cranbrook - Nov 7-20th

A female Northern Cardinal was found by Katrin Powell and Greg Ross at 9:50am on November 7th-2017. The bird was in the front yard of their home at 213-17th Ave N., as it visited her feeder with black-oil sunflower seeds. It was present for 40 mins.

If accepted by the BC Bird Records Committee, this would represent a first confirmed record for British Columbia. Provenance will have to be considered, as cardinals are kept as cage birds in some areas. However, they have been reported in Alberta and confirmed by the Alberta Bird Records Committee as vagrants. Northern Cardinals have also bred successfully in Alberta and the first confirmed breeding record there was 2009. BC has a hypothetical record from Prince George in 1994 that was never confirmed and a carcass of one was found in March 2014 in Nanaimo.

The time of year and the part of the province where it showed up bodes well for a vagrant. Also, this is the time of year (late fall/winter) when many eastern vagrants show up out west. The other thing that lends credence for this bird being of wild origin is that it is a female. Most (but not all) caged birds from collectors (not breeders) are male.

The public is allowed to look at the bird as it visits the feeder in the yard from the sidewalk. Please respect other homeowners in the area by not blocking driveways and not pointing binoculars at homes. Please do not trespass on the homeowner's property or yard. 

The bird has been viewed by multiple observers coming to the feeder at their yard. It has also been seen across the street, sitting in the brush adjacent to Joseph Creek.

The bird continues in the same location as of Nov 20th.

Female Northern Cardinal in Cranbrook - Photos: Ilya Povalyaev
A Northern Cardinal, a rare treat in a Cranbrook yard! - Photo: Katrin Powell


  1. The NOCA female is still in the yard, (under the back feeder) for the second day. Birders are welcome to view from the street.

    1. Thank you kindly Greg for opening your home to the public it's very generous of you :). Congrats on a great find once again! Glad she is hanging around so long !