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New Jersey photographer posts cardinal photos for COVID-19 victims

cardinal photos
A sampling of photos from Rick Fichter’s “Cardinals for Coronavirus” Facebook page.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Rick Fichter was both a bird photographer and a tattoo artist, working from his shop in Pennsauken, New Jersey, which lies across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. After New Jersey’s governor issued a stay-at-home order on March 21, Fichter closed his shop and now stays home, photographing his backyard birds.

Recently, Fichter decided to memorialize everyone from New Jersey who dies due to COVID-19 by sharing photos of cardinals in their honor. He posts one new cardinal photo on Facebook for every Garden State resident lost to the pandemic. As of April 15, he has posted more than 2,800 images.

View Fichter’s Cardinals for Coronavirus page.

The state is second only to New York in the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths.

He has taken all of the photos since the day his tattoo shop closed. And they’ve all been taken while following social distancing guidelines from his home in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Why cardinals? Lots of people, as you may know, take solace in the beauty of cardinals after loved ones pass away. And, Fichter notes, “I have done a ton of cardinal tattoos to memorialize those who have passed.”

He also writes that “you may think sometimes that scrolling through the cardinals they are the same, but I assure you every shot is different just as every human that was lost is different. Yet we are all the same.

“Cardinals are a constant reminder of hope and such a beautiful bird to commemorate and memorialize each soul who has passed from this dreadful virus.”

You can see Fichter’s photos of other birds (as well as cardinals) on his website and his Instagram page.

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Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall is the editor of BirdWatching magazine and BirdWatchingDaily.com. He joined the staff of BirdWatching (formerly Birder’s World) in 2000 and has worn many hats over the years: reporter, story wrangler, photo editor, managing editor, and now editor. Originally from Omaha, he lives with his wife and two daughters in Milwaukee and holds a Bachelor’s in journalism from Marquette University. You can reach Matt at (617) 706-9098 and [email protected].

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