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Word Acts: The Cardinal, Northern

Lawrence Willson describes the bird that is the color of papal authority.

Redbird 20-23 cm long;
male, scarlet red, crested head
black face, thick red beak; female,
red-tinged on crest, wing & tail

Found year-round on our deck, this dandyís
the color of papal authority;
given its name, you would think religious,
so regal itís the state bird of seven;
yet in none does it vote, that we know of

Nests 2-4 whitish, greenish or
bluish eggs marked by brown, red-brown or purple
this bird seems to lay fickly;
feeds on seeds, fruit, grains, berries, assorted critters,
from the deck, sunflower seeds

Aggressive, territorial and yet
quite a melodic songster, regaling
the listener with loud varied tones of
what - cheer, cheer, cheer; purty, purty, purty
then wooiit wooiit wooiit wooiit, chew, chew, chew, chew;
mates are known for their duets,
dual males, for their duels

Puffed up in winter, it could be
an opera contender,
with slurred whistles, hope itís not
on dope, like an odd rascal


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