The Northern Cardinal is probably my favorite bird. Its bright red feathers are striking against a backdrop of freshly-fallen snow and the melodic whistling of “wheet wheet wheet” always makes me feel like a friend is near. Paul Stein was able to get this remarkable shot of a male cardinal in Central Park of New York City, just as buds were forming in the spring. It appears to be a young adult, all puffed up and basking in the sunlight. The level of detail achieved is stunning, from the color variations to the textures in the feathers. I also enjoy how the focus is on the bird, with everything else fading into the background. Looking at this photo is almost like having the little guy sitting right on your windowsill to observe and admire.