Northern Cardinal – Cardinalis cardinalis
It’s a treat in the middle of winter, with snow all around, to catch a glimpse of a bright red cardinal perched in the middle of a winter wonderland. Cardinals are non-migratory birds. Most cardinals live within a mile of where they were born. The northern cardinal can be found in most parts of the United States. Cardinals tend to live at the edge of woodlands and in the vegetation near houses and gardens. The male cardinal will aggressively defend its territory. In fact, a male cardinal may even defend its territory from a reflection of itself in a window or a mirror!
Cardinals are songbirds and the male uses its call to attract a mate. Cardinals, unlike most northern songbirds, the female also sings. Females will often sing from the nest in what may be a call to her mate. Cardinal pairs have song phrases that they share. If you listen carefully, on the first sunny days of late winter, you may hear the cardinal’s song. It sounds like ‘cheer, cheer, cheer’ or a short ‘chink’ sound.
Cardinals are known for their bright red color, but only the male is red. The female is a dull brown or olive color with dull red on her wings and tail.
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