12 Fun facts about the Cardinal

The Northern Cardinal, scientifically known as Cardinalis cardinalis, is a colorful and charismatic bird that is native to North America. These birds are well-known for their bright red feathers and distinctive crest on their head. Here are some fun facts about the Northern Cardinal:

1. The Northern Cardinal is the state bird of seven U.S. states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.
2. The bright red color of the Northern Cardinal is a result of the pigments in their feathers, which are derived from the food they eat. A diet rich in carotenoids, such as those found in fruits and vegetables, leads to brighter feathers.
3. Male Northern Cardinals are the only ones with the bright red plumage. Females have a reddish-brown coloration with a touch of red on their wings and tail feathers.
Northern Cardinal Pair Perched on Driftwood
4. Cardinals are monogamous and mate for life. During the breeding season, male cardinals will feed their mates while they are incubating eggs.
5. The Northern Cardinal is a non-migratory bird, meaning that it stays in the same geographic region year-round. However, some individuals may move to higher elevations during the winter months.
6. The distinctive crest on the head of the Northern Cardinal serves a purpose. It is used in communication, both as a sign of aggression and as a way to signal interest in mating.
7. Northern Cardinals are not afraid of humans and can often be seen at bird feeders or in residential areas. They have adapted well to urban and suburban environments.
8. Cardinals are one of the few bird species that sing throughout the year, including during the winter months. It has a distinctive call that sounds like “cheer, cheer, cheer” or “birdie, birdie, birdie.” The male will often sing from a high perch to defend his territory.
9. Cardinals have a unique way of finding food. Instead of searching for prey visually, they listen for the sound of insects and other small animals moving through the underbrush.
10. Cardinals are known to be aggressive toward their own reflection. If they see their reflection in a window or mirror, they may become territorial and attack it.
11. In Native American folklore, the Northern Cardinal is often seen as a symbol of good luck, and its feathers were used in rituals to bring luck and happiness.
12. Cardinals have been observed engaging in a behavior known as anting, where they rub ants on their feathers. It is believed that the formic acid in the ants helps to rid the birds of parasites.

In conclusion, the Northern Cardinal is a fascinating bird with many interesting traits and behaviors. From their bright red plumage to their unique calls and courtship rituals, these birds have captured the attention and admiration of many people throughout history.

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