The Northern Cardinal is a North American bird in the genus Cardinalis; it can be found in southern Canada, through the eastern United States from Maine to Texas and south through Mexico. It is found in woodlands, gardens, shrublands, and swamps.
The northern cardinal is a mid-sized songbird. It has a distinctive crest on the head and a mask on the face which is black in the male and gray in the female. The male is a vibrant red, while the female is a dull red-brown shade. The northern cardinal is mainly granivorous, but also feeds on insects and fruit. During courtship, the male feeds seed to the female beak-to-beak. A clutch of three to four eggs is laid, and two to four clutches are produced each year. It was once prized as a pet, but its sale as a cage bird is now banned in the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
The diet of the northern cardinal consists mainly (up to 90%) of weed seeds, grains, and fruits. It is a ground feeder and finds food while hopping on the ground through trees or shrubbery. It eats beetles, cicadas, grasshoppers, snails, wild fruit and berries, corn (maize) and oats, sunflower seeds.
The Northern Cardinals are very popular and favorite of the public because their wonderful appearance and strikingly beautiful colors. I’ve been blessed to have several cardinal families nesting in my backyard. It’s always a treat to see them flying around looking pretty and ready to pose for my photos.
“My neighbors never cease to ask me, what do I do to attract them?. I don’t know what to tell them anymore!”
Text and photographs © HJ Ruiz – Avian101