Tuesday, November 7, 2017

RBA: NORTHERN CARDINAL in Cranbrook - Nov 7/17- Feb 27/18

UPDATE: This bird was accepted by the BC Bird Records Committee in December 2017. It is the FIRST confirmed record for the province of British Columbia.

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.

Provenance was 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 lent credence for the 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.

*On Dec 5th a Hoary Redpoll was found by Danny Tyson in the same yard. The bird is still present as of Dec 7th as well.*

The Northern Cardinal was last seen in the same location on Dec 8th.

The bird was not relocated on Dec 9th or 10th, despite multiple observers looking.

The bird was relocated on Dec 20th in a flock of Common Redpolls, at a feeder at Lorraine Schmidt's home in the 200 block of 13th Ave S.  Please view the feeders from the back lane. The homeowner doesn't want the address published online but contact the RBA for the address, if you plan to go searching for it.

The bird has not been seen since Feb 27/18.

CBC radio did an interview with Katrin Powell (homeowner who found the bird) and you can listen to it HERE (starts at 33:55).

You can also read a newspaper article about this bird from the "Cranbrook Daily Townsman" HERE.

Female Northern Cardinal in Cranbrook - Photo: Michael Klotz
Female Northern Cardinal in Cranbrook - Photo: Ilya Povalyaev


  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 !