Northern Cardinal Facts

The northern cardinal is a mid-sized North American bird which is well-loved because of its brilliant red color and prominent crest. It is a popular visitor to many backyards as it loves to eat from feeders. Here are a few northern cardinal facts…

Northern Cardinal Facts

The cardinal’s scientific name is Cardinalis cardinalis.

The lifespan of the northern cardinal is three to nine years.

The record age for a cardinal is fifteen years.

The cardinal appears to be prospering with the growth of cities and is being found further and further north.

The cardinal is an omnivore that eats fruit and seed in the main. It also eats insects.

The northern cardinal is the official bird of seven US states – Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

Cardinals are also known as “redbirds” (for obvious reasons!)

It is only the male cardinal that has the brilliant red color. Female cardinals are tan or gray.

Both the male cardinal and the female cardinal have bright orange bills.

Young cardinals also do not have the bright red plumage. They are similar in color to the female cardinal but have a gray beak.

Cardinals do not migrate.

Cardinals love to sing. They sing a range of different songs.

The male cardinal is known for aggressively defending his territory and will often attack other males.

The male cardinal will often fly into windows as they attack what they think is an intruder but is really their reflection.

The cardinal is a social bird and will mix with other birds.

Cardinals build cup-shaped nests from twigs, leaves, bark and grass and rarely use the same nest twice.

Cardinals can raise up to three broods in one mating season. They produce between three and six eggs at a time.

Baby cardinals remain with their parents until they are able to find their own food.

It is illegal to own a cardinal as a pet. It is also illegal to kill a cardinal as they are a protected bird.

Cardinals like to live on the edge of woodlands, in gardens, in swamps and in thickets by the side of rivers.

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