Monday, January 7, 2013

WEEKLY MUSE: Cardinals

Male Cardinal 
I just returned, once again, from the HOOSIER State. You remember which state that is, don’t you? INDIANA!

And while I was there, a HUGE snowstorm blew its way across the state, leaving nine inches of snow in its path. I loved it!

But what I loved even more were the bright red Cardinals who would dash from snow-covered tree branch to snow-covered tree branch, searching the landscape for food.

Cardinals are easy to see any time of the year because of their bright red feathers, but they are even more stunning against the white snow.

Looks like we’ve spotted another MUSE, and we didn’t even need our binoculars. Let’s take a closer look at these crimson aviators we call CARDINALS and see what we can uncover.

Here are some general facts that I found:

Cardinals live mostly in the Eastern United States. They are NOT migratory, which means that they do not travel due to seasonal climate change. They stay put. Take a look at the video below to watch a Cardinal at a bird feeder.

Cardinals are average sized birds. They are eight to nine inches long and have a wingspan of ten to twelve inches across. The male is brilliant red with a black face and orange beak. The female is tan with highlights of red. She has a black face and orange beak.

Female Cardinal
Both male and female Cardinals are excellent songsters, which mean they chirp beautiful tunes to each other.

Cardinals eat a diet of mostly weed seeds, grains, fruits and sunflower seeds. They also sip the sugary sap from maple trees. Maple syrup, anyone?

Now, here are the most interesting CARDINAL facts that I uncovered:

Roman Catholic Cardinal
Cardinals get their name from early European settlers who thought this bird’s bright red plumage reminded them of the Catholic Cardinals’ bright red robes. Cardinals are also referred to as redbirds.

In the Eastern United States, people LOVE Cardinals. In fact, seven states claim the Cardinal as their state bird: Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

And… Have you ever heard of the St. Louis Cardinals? Or the Louisville Cardinals? Or the Arizona Cardinals? Cardinals are such a popular bird that several sports teams use the bird as their mascot. I don’t blame them! I would, too!

This leads me to the most interesting fact I uncovered. Cardinals can be very territorial, meaning that they will tirelessly defend the area they call home. And if they see their reflection in a window, they will even “fight” themselves by charging at the window.

Do I sense an ANGRY bird??? Maybe that is why the Cardinal was chosen as one of the lead characters in the video game, Angry Birds. Take a look at the fun video below to see the Cardinals and other birds cast in this popular game.

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your main character was a blue cardinal?

WHAT IF your main character had a GIANT cardinal and traveled on the Cardinal’s back?

WHAT IF Cardinals were extinct, but your main character found one?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

The word of the day is “climate”. Here is the definition: the average weather conditions of a specific regioin including temperature, precipitation, humidity, sunshine, and cloudiness.

1 comment:

  1. what If A Cardinal had a phone?
    what if a Cardinal had a laptop?
    what if a Cardinal had a soft bed?
    what if a cardinal could understand us?
    what if angry bird was not based on cardinal?

    by Celeste B