Species Spotlight: Northern Cardinal

Species Spotlight: Northern Cardinal

With the cold winter weather that is pummeling most of the continental United States, we can’t help but think about the iconic winter birds. The Northern Cardinal can be seen year round in backyards, forests, and open woodlands. Since this wild bird species doesn’t migrate and mull, the sharp red color is often a welcomed sight. To welcome these feathered friends close enough for your viewing pleasure, offer them a delicious meal of their favorite black oil sunflower seeds in any of the Perky-Pet® seed feeders.

The Northern Cardinal is one of the most popular wild birds and is one of the easiest for birding veterans and amateurs to identify. But there’s a few features of the Northern Cardinal that makes them even more intriguing.

Northern Cardinal fun facts

  • cardinal in treeThe female Northern Cardinal is one of the few female songbirds that sings. Females can often be heard while nesting in high perches and will share song phrases with their mate.
  • The nest of a Northern Cardinal pair has four layers: twigs, leafs, bark, and grass. The male will collect the materials and the female will spend approximately a full week building the nest that has an internal diameter of three inches.
  • Have you ever witnessed a cardinal attacking their own reflection? This is a common occurrence during the peak of breeding season when Cardinals become extremely territorial. Some male cardinals may spend hours fighting fiercely with their own reflection.
  • The expansion of people, neighborhoods, and subsequently backyards have positively aided the Northern Cardinal species.
  • While the Northern Cardinal is seen year round, the time of year influences how they travel from place-to-place. You’ll see these wild birds traveling in pairs during breeding season. However in the fall and winter, cardinals will travel in flocks as large as several dozen.

If you haven’t already, add the Northern Cardinal to your backyard bird watching list. Become a great Citizen Scientist and help wild bird research by recording their feeding habits, nesting, song, and more as you see it in your yard!

Northern Cardinals often attack their own reflection in mirrors and windows.


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