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, 2017): 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.

111 Responses to “The blue Cardinal.”

  1. Charles says:

    Saw one today, blue Cardinal, 27 may 2017. Baltimore Md

  2. Cecelia Hoff says:

    I have both Blue Jays and blue Cardinals in my yard female and males

  3. Jacob W says:

    Saw a group of these on the trail near my home today, Centreville VA.

  4. Steve J says:

    OK… This is odd, but I found this page by searching for a “blue cardinal.” I have a frequent visitor who, for all intents and purposes, looks like a gray cardinal with blue around its head. I have eastern blue jays, mockingbirds and male/female cardinals all the time. The bird I am referring to also has a beak shaped like a cardinam(rounded). I know Western Blue Jays as well, and it’s not a jay. Blue Jays and Mockingbirds have sharp beaks. I live in central North Carolina

  5. Alyssa Mitchell says:

    We saw one of these unique birds in Raleigh, NC at the outdoor art museum! Our first thought was blue bird and then we saw the tuft on top and we’re confused, this bird pictured is definitely the one we saw!

  6. Brett Mohler says:

    Probably a blue grosbeak, we do see them occasionally in
    Northeast North Carolina, very pretty bird and yes they do very closely resemble Cardinals.

  7. Benny Huff says:

    We have a blue headed cardinal that frequently comes to our feeders. We watched him molt this spring and it started with just one very blue feather. Now the entire head and neck is blue and the rest of him is bright red. We are on the edge of the piney woods in East Texas. I hope to get a photo soon. He is very skittish and I missed an opportunity today.

  8. Leah says:

    June 25, 2017 We have had a blue cardinal at our cabin on lake Courd’Alene in Idaho. I have never seen one before. Is this usual for the area? I am a Montana girl and have not seen this bird before. How can you tell the difference from the Stella Jay?

  9. G Canady says:

    I have two shots of a “blue cardinal”. It has a Cardinal-like beak, slightly smaller body with a Rust color on it’s wings.

    I’m in Central Arizona.

  10. Hilary says:

    Saw a blue grosbeak a couple weeks ago here in southwest Minnesota. It was so cool!! It looked like a blue cardinal, what a treat!!!

  11. Dona says:

    i just had a Northern Cardinal sitting on my fence staring at me. Before he flew away he turned around and I noticed that the feathers on his wings were like an iridescent blue. The blue feathers started a quarter of the way down his wings. Has anyone else seen a red cardinal with blue wings?

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