Bird of the Week (2/9/2014): Northern Cardinal

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This topic contains 59 replies, has 33 voices, and was last updated by Junior Barnes Junior Barnes 7 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #5004394 Report Abuse
    Jill Staake
    Jill Staake
    Keymaster

    Welcome to our first Bird of the Week post! This is a place to learn a little bit more about your favorite species and share your own photos and experiences. We’re starting this week with the ever-popular Northern Cardinal.

    Range: Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) don’t migrate, so you’ll see them throughout the year from New England to Texas. Interestingly, Northern Cardinals have actually expanded their range over the last one hundred years – they used to be more of a southern bird, especially in the winter. But as backyard bird feeders became popular, they started to push further and further north each year, and now have a much bigger range. Here’s a map of their range from the Birds & Blooms Northern Cardinal page:

    ID: Medium-sized songbird with a 12-inch wingspan. Males are bright red with black “face mask”, females are brown with some reddish accents. Both have a distinctive crest on their heads.

    Song: Cardinals are easily recognized by their “cheer-cheer” call. They also use loud “chip chip” calls to communicate with each other. Hear these songs on the Birds & Blooms Northern Cardinal page by clicking here.

    Backyard Feeders: Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) are frequent visitors to backyard feeders throughout their range, but they prefer to use only platform or hopper-style feeders. You won’t find them on cling-style feeders that smaller birds use. They love black oil sunflower seed, but will also readily eat safflower seed (which squirrels will avoid in some areas).

    Nesting: Cardinals nest in trees and shrubs, almost never in nest boxes. They also rarely re-use a nest. They lay 3-4 speckled eggs, which the female incubates for up to 2 weeks. Once they hatch, though, nestlings grow fast and sometimes fledge in just 7 days.

    Fast Fact: Why call it “Northern” when it’s frequently seen in the southern U.S.? There are actually three species of cardinals, and the other two are found much further south. The Vermillion Cardinal (Cardinalis phoeniceus) is found in South America, while the Pyrrhuloxia or Desert Cardinal (Cardinalis sinuatus) is found in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico.

    Now it’s your turn to share! Tell us stories about the Northern Cardinals in your own backyard, give us any tips you have about feeding or attracting them, and share a photo or two!


    Jill Staake (florida33girl@gmail.com)
    Birds & Blooms Community Manager
    Tampa, Florida Zone 9b

    #5004420 Report Abuse
    CatsBirds
    CatsBirds
    Participant

    And the range of colors as they are growing and molting are sometimes very unique…We have had little ones a couple of years now…and it always amazes me at their colors..and sometimes just really ugly…lol

    We have some that you know are here more than one winter… as they know which feeder has the BOSS in it..

     

    The change can really be something to see.

     

    But grow up so beautiful..

     



    Sharon, Catsbirds, Community Team Member
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    #5004429 Report Abuse
    fishseddyNYzn5A
    fishseddyNYzn5A
    Participant

    A male cardinal feeding one of his young.



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    #5004586 Report Abuse
    margba
    margba
    Participant

    <b>Beautiful, Jill, sharon & Judy!  Who doesnt enjoy seeing them in their backyards!</b>


    #5004627 Report Abuse
    theLark_IN_5
    theLark_IN_5
    Participant

    Dinner for two for two in courtship

     


     photo larkiegif.gif

    #5004671 Report Abuse

    mememouse
    Participant

    When we lived on the midcoast of Maine,, we rarely saw any cardinals but here in south western Tn,, we see a lot !!!  they  drive my cats nuts,,lol..



    #5004709 Report Abuse
    Carol Johnson
    Carol Johnson
    Participant

    My understanding is after they mate they can lose their feathers not the prettiest bird at that time…


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    #5004750 Report Abuse
    narnian
    narnian
    Participant

    I have found that the cardinals in my area love to use bark from my grapevine to use in making their nests.

    Did you know that the female bird sings too? She sometimes sings a different, and louder song than the male.


    #5004827 Report Abuse

    trudy1180
    Participant

    Hmmm stole this idea from me. I had this almost exact posts that I did every week when this board was more active then it is now. For fact one of the editors of Birds and Bloom emailed me and asking me if I would let them interview me etc to put in their magazine because of the post. I said sure. But never heard anymore. I was considering starting it again, but two late now.


    #5004923 Report Abuse
    Stelios
    Stelios
    Participant

    We have resident cardinals on the property.  Every year they bring their young to my feeders.

     


    Stella
    Community Team Member

    #5004985 Report Abuse
    Brian J
    Brian J
    Participant

    I am looking out my window right now at around 14 of them, always a bright spot in our back yard, we love them.



    Have a wonderful day and feel free to check out more of my photography here,
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/53805123@N05/

    #5005017 Report Abuse
    SunshineNY6
    SunshineNY6
    Participant

    Easily one of my favorites.  When all is white up here, a bright spot of red is so welcome.

     

     

     


    Find more about Weather in Rochester, NY

    #5005182 Report Abuse
    willowlady_TX_1952
    willowlady_TX_1952
    Participant

    Oh,what beautiful shots of one of my favorite backyard birds!

    Taking a sun bath and waiting for us to turn on the sprinkler.

    Babies in the nest in my gate arbor

    Are you talking to me??  LOL!

     


    I cannot control the wind,but I can adjust my sail to reach my destination.

    #5005392 Report Abuse
    Paleface
    Paleface
    Participant

    Northern Cardinals are no doubt one of my favorite birds. I grew up in the south so this was one of the first birds I learned to identify. Love their beauty and habits.  I love how the Dad will help feed the juveniles while Mom starts a new brood.  

    Just one of many photos of this cool bird taken in my yard/garden….

     


    http://jean-livingsimple.blogspot.com (The Joy of Bird Watching and Living a Simple Life)
    Jean in NW Georgia

    #5005406 Report Abuse
    Marge_in_Michigan
    Marge_in_Michigan
    Participant

    Having a little breakfast…

     



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