According to The Audubon Society the Cardinal was given its name because the
deep red color of the males resemble the color of the robes of Roman
Catholic Cardinals. Both sexes sing clear, song patterns,
which are repeated several times, then varied. Some common songs are
purdy-purdy-purdy, whoit-whoit-whoit and wheet-wheet-wheet.
The female lays three to four eggs pale green eggs that
are spotted red/brown in a cup shaped nest. Incubation takes 12 to 13 days.
When hatched the chicks are naked except for sparse tufts of grayish down
and eyes closed. Young fledge 10 to 11 days after hatching.
In the United States, the Northern Cardinal is the
mascot of a number of athletic teams. In professional sports, it is the
mascot of the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball and the Arizona
Cardinals of the National Football League. In college athletics, it is the
mascot of many schools, including the
of Louisville, the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Ball State
University, Illinois State University, Lamar University, the Catholic
University of America, Wesleyan University, Wheeling Jesuit University,
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, North Idaho College
and Saint John Fisher College. It is also the state bird of seven states,
more than any other species: North Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois,
Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia.
The Northern Cardinal is a mid-sized songbird that is 8 - 9 long with a
wing span of 10 - 12. As can be seen from the pictures, the Northern
Cardinal has a distinctive crest on the head and a mask on its face which is
black in the male and gray in the female. The male is a brilliant crimson
red with a black face mask over the eyes, extending to the upper chest. The
color is dullest on the back and wings. The female is fawn, with mostly
grayish-brown tones and a slight reddish tint on the wings, the crest, and
the tail feathers.
birds, both male and female, are similar to the adult female until the fall,
when they molt and grow adult feathers.
Northern Cardinal is found in woodlands, gardens, thickets, shrub-lands, and
swamps. It is a common bird in suburbs and is a frequent visitor to backyard
bird feeding stations.
It can be found in southern Canada Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia and
east, through the eastern United States from Maine to Texas and south
Cardinals are year round residents and really dont have formal migratory
Cardinals primarily eat seeds, grains, and fruits, however; they do eat
insects to a lesser extent. Parent birds feed nestlings mostly insects.