Nature photographer Travis Bonovsky has a knack for spotting birds “doing their thing,” just about any time he walks out his front door. Although common in many parts of the country, the northern cardinal’s red plume never fails to thrill—especially in the dead of winter. Bonovsky explains why he took this particular picture: “Many birds that thrive in colder climates, such as the northern cardinal, use a technique of periodically ‘puffing up’ their feathers to stay warm. This practice creates more air spaces between their layers of feathers and thus traps more body heat.” The cardinal pictured in the photo above (in contrast to the photo below, also taken by Bonovsky) posed to illustrate a good example of the practice!
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