PEI

'They're such a beautiful bird': Rare cardinal spotted in western P.E.I.

A woman who put bird seed out in her yard in St. Chrysostome, in western P.E.I., was thrilled she ended up attracting a rare bird.

'I ran across the house and was lucky enough to capture a photo just in time'

Dan MacAskill, with Nature P.E.I., says though cardinal sightings have increased they are 'still quite a rare bird to see in P.E.I.' (Julia Kilbride)

A woman who put bird seed out in her yard in St. Chrysostome, in western P.E.I., was thrilled she ended up attracting a rare bird. Julia Kilbride said she screamed with excitement when she noticed the female northern cardinal in her backyard. 

"There it is, a cardinal, I squealed so loud," Kilbride said.

"I ran across the house and was lucky enough to capture a photo just in time." 

Kilbride spotted the bird Monday afternoon and shared the photo on Facebook and Twitter. 

Kilbride thinks the female cardinal has come to her yard on two different days. (Julia Kilbride)

Kilbride said she was motivated to put bird seed out because of the harsh winter weather. She said she felt sorry for the birds and a squirrel around her yard. She says she is not an avid birder, but described the female cardinal as gorgeous. 

"She has the tiniest bit of red on her mohawk and her wings," Kilbride said. 

"I'm not a birder, I dream of being one."

'They are quite rare'

An Island birder confirms northern cardinals aren't common on P.E.I. 

"They are quite rare," said Dan MacAskill, who organizes bird counts on the Island and is a co-ordinator for Nature P.E.I.

"We're just at the outside edge of the range."

'Anybody that gets to see one here, it's a treat, because they're so rare,' says MacAskill. (Julia Kilbride)

MacAskill said on P.E.I. it's definitely exciting when cardinals are spotted. 

"They're such a beautiful bird," he said. "Anybody that gets to see one here, it's a treat, because they're so rare," he said. 

Cardinals more common in recent years

MacAskill said in the last few months there have been about seven or eight reported sightings of cardinals.

"The numbers have come up a little more over the last five or six years," he said. 

"Thirty years ago we might get one or two in the whole year."  

He said usually the rare birds don't stick around too long.  

Hoping for more 

Kilbride is hoping the cardinal won't leave too quickly.

She reported another cardinal sighting on Wednesday and has picked up a couple of bird feeders in hopes that might help keep the bird around. 

She said she's heard lots of feedback after posting her photo. 

"It's been a good conversation of how much everybody wants to see one and dreams of seeing one."

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