The blue Cardinal.

A guy emails that he saw a blue Cardinal. What gives?

A Steller’s Jay comes to mind. But those birds live three thousand miles west of the guy’s town in Maine. Can’t be.

Still, birds don’t always play by the rules.

What if a Steller’s Jay took a nap in the back of an 18-wheeler at a Utah rest stop? The trucker drives off and four days later the bird flies out in Maine.

Or… Maybe a guy in Maine is spray painting his garage blue. A Cardinal flies through the spray. Unthinkable?

Ed Abbey said, “The unthinkable is always thinkable.”

Okay. Two theories so far. Maybe the bird’s a hitchhiking Steller’s Jay. Or it’s a red Cardinal that got painted by a spray gun.

You have a better idea?

FOOTNOTE (May, 2015): The above post was written in June of 2012, and seemed interesting at the time. How could a Steller’s Jay be so far out of its range?

Since then, we occasionally hear from readers who honestly report “blue Cardinals.” Comments from these people are shown below. We received one just this week.

We have no idea what’s going on. Are these all Steller’s Jays? Are they really blue Cardinals?

This is a question for experts. If an expert should happen to stumble across this site, and see all the comments below, we hope that person will shed a little light on the subject.

Meanwhile, thanks for your observations.

74 Responses to “The blue Cardinal.”

  1. Joey says:

    I live in North Louisiana and saw my first on July 3, 2015. It was the exact shape of our typical red cardinal but this bird was bright blue always down to his beak.

  2. Hadley says:

    I live in Llano TX and last week I closely saw a blue bird with blue beek shaped like a cardinal but smaller 10ft from me at eye level. I recently started taking interest in the birds around here and knew that it was my first spotting and decided to look it up online. I went to two thorough sites one of Texas specifically and one global and could not find match. I found this site and feel better about my sanity. If I see it again I’ll try to get picture to share

  3. Hadley says:

    Ps It looked different than the one in your picture and had brown wings

  4. June says:

    I saw a blue Cardinal last week in Whistler BC Canada. Thought I was losing it or that they were local to the area. Definitely was not a “blue jay” as I am very familiar with these

  5. Philip says:

    I was out early about 7am with my binoculars looking for the white does and their fawns and what looked like a blue cardinal lit not tofar from where I was standing. I got a good look at it and after research I have come to the conclusion that it was a ultramarine Grosbeak that had migrated up from South America. I have only seen it once but it had a smaller point of feathers, on top of it’s head, than the Cardinal or Jay. Like a Bluebird, when it opened it’s wings and the morning sun hit the bird it lite up like neon!

  6. Philip says:

    I apologies I left out some pertinent information. I live North of Atlanta in Loganville and it was White tail deer I was out looking for with the binoculars. I have tons of birds on the ranch but I had never seen anything like this one.

  7. Dhimat says:

    I saw a blue Cardinal today at Libertyville, IL. It doesn’t resemble with the picture above. It’s looks like any other Cardinal but sky blue hook and tail. The rest of the body is light grey

  8. sherry mitchel says:

    I have a blue cardinal at my bird feeder today. Central Oregon. I have seen more then a few since moving here 20 years ago

  9. ellen says:

    I spotted a blue Cardinal with my sister right outside our living room window on October 15th 2015 at approximately 12 o’clock noon it was in Calgary Alberta.

  10. jean annala says:

    I live in Western Wyoming(Diamondville, Wy) .On Oct 13, 2015 I was out feeding the birds and I noticed this beautiful bird. I looked up blue cardinal and it was a match. I have lived on my ranch for 69 years and never saw a blue cardinal migrate through. He has been here for 4 days now, and I hope he will fly off because the snow is coming.

  11. Cindy oxberger says:

    I live in Roberts Idaho and just seen my first two blue cardinals here today October 27 2015 couldn’t actually believe I was looking at them didn’t know they exist

  12. Cindy oxberger says:

    And I’m not seeing things I know a red cardinal from this blue one the pic on this site is exactly what I saw

  13. Cindy oxberger says:

    This is Cindy again and I just looked up the pyrrhuloxia bird images and it is not what I saw

  14. Cindy oxberger says:

    It’s me again cindy not only did I see two but there are 5 that I counted

  15. Myk & Lynn says:

    My wife saw a outrageously pretty bird in out back yard , she said she thought he may have been a small crow that had turned blue but she knew that was not right, she talked about it on and off trying to describe him to me last night ( Nov 3rd ) but I was just not getting the picture.

    WE both just saw him in broad daylight just now. Nov 4 2015 2:35 pm It’s a CARDINAL! he is pefect shaped Cardinal and has a dark Blackish blue head with the full Cardinal look, and then right down his back he fades to royal blue! I am off to see if I can snap a pic. We live in the Birds Of Prey sanctuary here in Idaho. We get to see some pretty exotic looking birds here but I have never seen a bird quite like this one

  16. Greg says:

    We have a pair of these beautiful blue birds
    lookingin our yard. They are fun to watch and the most beautiful birds we have seen.

  17. Greg says:

    We have a pair of these beautiful blue birds
    lookingin our yard. They are fun to wa

    These. Birds have just shown up since the last of Oct. I. Thought they were crows.
    They like to eat dog food. The call they make is a little weird.If they need to go
    South for the winter l hope they do it would be terrible to lose any to the cold.

    tch and the mosut beautiful birds we have seen.

  18. Jed says:

    Saw one in my backyard by a feeder, 15′ away

    Similar to this pic, but very separated colors like a cardinal, black and deeper blue than in this pic.

    Milwaukee Oregon, 11-29-15
    1:30pm in good light.

  19. A Cardinal flew in to my glass door, killed him a Beautiful Bright Red & black, But on its back were some Beautiful Blue feathers….never seen a Cardinal this close up before, do they all have blue feathers on back? Nobel, Arkansas

  20. Tawnya says:

    I saw a blue cardinal yesterday up in the Sierra Blanca mountains in the Ruidoso, NM area. We had gone up to the Monjeau Fire Lookout Tower and I saw one fly and land on a branch up there. I had never in my life seen a blue cardinal before and found this page while trying to find out if I was seeing things or not.

  21. Dora says:

    i saw one in my front yard on Christmas day

  22. April says:

    I saw 2 blue cardinals and 3 red ones today

  23. Bubba says:

    I just saw a blue Cardinal in my backyard. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen one. I live in Shelley Idaho.

  24. Roady says:

    I have several birds that look like the Cardinal blue jay but they look much bigger than any of the pictures I’ve seen. I live in Northern Arizona. is it possible it’s a different bird?

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