The northern cardinal is very common in Houston and other parts of Texas we’ve visited. You can often hear it singing, see a flash of red go by, or see it perched on a high telephone wire (too far away for a good picture). It may be closer, on tree branch, but get the camera out, and it immediately hides behind the nearest twigs. They KNOW.
So it was a pleasant surprise to see this one at the magnificent Brazos Bend State Park, singing away in a tree and not rushing off. It had clearly seen us, but carried on regardless.
The attractive red northern cardinal is quite common in Houston (and all of the southern US states), but seems to have an uncanny ability to know when a camera shutter is about to be clicked, always absenting itself just before the said event. They are quite happy to be viewed nearby, so long as there is a barrier of twigs between them and you, such as in the featured image. As soon as there is a clear view, they just fly off, or possibly wait until the camera is pointed.
With a source of food around, such as the garden feeder we set up a year ago, they were a bit less wary, so long as you kept your distance. These were taken with mazimum zoom on Panasonic DMC-ZS15.
This is a vocal songbird and this website gives good examples of their calls.