Red Cardinals and Car Alarms

October 29, 2009

A red cardinal in Winter.

A red cardinal in Winter.

When I was teaching in West Virginia last June I saw my first Red Cardinals.  I didn’t realize that they were ground feeders and they would just be standing around on green grass, like little red ornaments, eating away out in the open.  They’re so bright that I had assumed their behavior would be more shy-like to protect themselves from predators.  Here in Washington State our state bird is the bright yellow Goldfinch, but you rarely see them because they are so shy.  They have to be careful because they are easily seen and they nest later then most other birds in our area.

Washington State's bird, the Goldfinch.

Washington State's bird, the Goldfinch.

Okay, so I mentioned this to some people that I was with, many of whom live on the East coast.  The comment in reply was that they were annoying birds.  I thought they were so pretty they couldn’t be annoying…Like our Stellar Jays here in Washington state which are bright cobalt blue and whose call is rather raucous.  They’re so pretty that their call is forgiven.

Anyway, I was looking up bird calls.  Yes, you can do that online at for free.  There has been a bird I’ve been hearing this last summer that I don’t immediately recognize  so I thought I would see if I could hear it at Audubon Guides.  I think I was hearing a Wrentit maybe.   Okay so I started just listening to birds because it’s fun (YES I get to do things for FUN) and I selected the Red Cardinal.   What a surprise!  Many parts of it’s song are what car alarms are taken from!  How sad that they would choose to make a bird call become annoying this way.

Stellar Jay

Stellar Jay


4 Responses to “Red Cardinals and Car Alarms”

  1. Pörrö said

    Ps. I loved the cardinals too, and some other colourful birds that I have not ever seen before.

  2. John said

    Oh yes, Red Cardinals are annoying. I hate these birds. They’ve destroyed a lot of my sleep. Wish I could get out with a shotgun and blast every one of them to bits. Its not like I hate animals. I love the call of the Northern Mocking bird and some others.

    • meredith11 said

      They sure are pretty though… We don’t have such red birds in the Pacific Northwest. But interestingly, our most colorful bird, the Stellar Jay which is a cobalt blue and black, is also very annoying when it calls. It’s a cross between a shriek and a squawk. They used to wake me up every summer morning when I was a kid and it was a rude awakening every day. Then I learned about ear plugs… though I don’t know, a bird that has had it’s call modeled by car alarms would be pretty annoying. Poor pretty things have a bad name because they sound like that.

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