Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cool Bird Sighting of the Week!

I saw this bird sitting on a telephone wire today as I walked over to the fitness center to work out (well, not this actual bird, but one just like it). At first I thought it was some warbler with a ball of red fluff in its beak. Its head is the most brilliant red. It's ridiculously red. The strange bird hopped down from the wire and sat on a stone wall in front of a house. I was able to approach it pretty closely and observe its markings, and then it flew up to a roof, as if it were unsettled.
When I came home I searched through my North American bird book, all the while pretty sure that it was an escaped pet. Finally I found it online: A red-crested cardinal (Paroaria coronata), native to South America and introduced to Hawaii. It's a popular, although somewhat rare, pet bird. I went out again a little while later and looked around for it (with my camera this time) but there was no sign of it. I hope it gets back to where it belongs.
This photo is from a website for the University of Hawai'i campus at Manoa (near Honolulu), where the red-crested cardinal is apparently a common bird on campus.

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