Sunday, December 18, 2011

One legged cardinal

                                                                          photo, Diane Carnevale

Male cardinals are so pretty in the landscape with their bright red jackets and tend to get all the oohs and aahs at the bird feeders, but the female cardinals are quite pretty too, with their modest red feathers. Both the male and female sport mysterious black bandit masks and have punky red plumed mohawks. This particular lady is very special because she has only one leg—notice that there is not indication of a left leg in this photo. I only noticed this oddity because she flaps her wings a lot to keep her balance on the feeders. I'm not sure what happened to the leg; a cat perhaps, or was she born that way? This is her second year with us and since cardinals live up to 15 years we hope to see her for years to come. Oh and in case you ever wondered, early settlers in America named this bird after the red-robed Cardinals of the Catholic Church.


  1. I came across your post and picture of the beautiful female cardinal with just one leg, and this has given me hope for our new friend,"Rocky"!
    We to noticed a male cardinal that was bouncing as he moved across our deck while he was enjoying some different seeds we put out. We have began to watch for him daily and even named him Rocky! He is always alone which saddens me. I've also read some about one-legged birds, and they typically live without much companionship.
    With all of that said, he brings happi ess to myself and my family, and we make sure he has plenty of food available.
    Wouldn't it be something if the female from the above post and Rocky could find one another❤. That's not likely, but one can hope..right?!

  2. Diane,
    Im the female cardinal still visiting? Also..what type of food do you put out?
    Thanks again for your post with the photo attached.Id love to attach a picture of "Rocky", but it didn't give me that option or perhaps I over looked it :)

  3. Enjoyed your post. I have a one legged female cardinal and after seeing her now on the fifth day, I think she will be a survivor. She does have a male partner who is with her constantly. Have set up several feeding areas high and low with her balancing in mind and safety. Had no idea cardinals live so long. We have them year round so I’m hoping my female will make it thru our Northern Virginia winter. Thanks for sharing your post — it has encouraged me to help as much as possible.


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