Showing posts with label Northern Cardinal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Northern Cardinal. Show all posts

Monday, June 11, 2018


Patience Pays Off
Photo by “Caveman Chuck” Coker
Many backyard birdwatchers love to watch the Cardinal. It is the state bird of Kentucky and beloved by many. Also known as the 'redbird' it really spices up the scenery with a beautiful bright red color that is offset by its bright yellow beak and black around the eyes.

This is the male Cardinal we are talking about. The females have a more brownish color with hints of red. This enables them to blend in with their surroundings while sitting on the nest.

The Northern cardinal really stands out against the green and brown backdrops of the summer months. They stand out even more against a fresh sheet of new white snow. They winter within the U.S. and have a tendency to move North to Northeast when during late summer or early fall.

Cardinal Eggs
They are known for breeding in residential areas as well as in thickets, undergrowth, and dense shrubs. Redbirds are monogamous breeders with eggs that can be in a variety of colors. Some eggs are bluish, some grayish, and some a greenish-white. The eggs are marked with purples, grays, and browns.

They lay these eggs in a nest that can range from well lined to scarcely lined. The nests can be compact and firm or quite flimsy. They will use many building materials for their nests like-

• Leaves and Interwoven Paper
• Weed Stems
• Pliable Twigs
• Hair
• Fine Grass
• Bark Strips
• Rootlets
The chicks will develop from an Altricial state (helpless, blind, and naked). The Cardinal diet consists mainly of insects, seeds, and fruits.

Additional Information For Back Yard Bird Watchers

It was in the 50's when feeding birds out in the backyard became popular. It has been estimated that the annual expenditure for feeding birds out back in this country is over a half billion dollars. Nearly one out of three households contribute an average of 60 pounds of bird food yearly.

This might make it seem as if some species were dependent on us for their existence. While we are able to help in areas of need scientists believe that no species would become extinct if our handouts were to stop tomorrow. They foresee no drop in populations either.

The Northern Cardinal along with some others like the-
  • • Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  • • Tufted Titmouse
  • • Mourning Dove
  • • House Finch
Have all been the beneficiaries of range expansions due to human supplemental bird feeding. Some birds like the Mourning Dove have found migrating no longer a necessity with so much food being readily available. The rest of the bunch are still working their way Northward every year.

The generosity of backyard bird feeding individuals can sometimes pull a few weak birds through the tough times of winter. After a heavy snow or an ice storm, natural foods can become inaccessible.
Bird Watchers will notice their birds increasing their visits to the feeders during harsh winters.

Studies have shown certain small birds like chickadees can actually add around 4% more fat when they feed on sunflower seeds rather than their natural diets of berries and conifer seeds.

The drawback to the feeding stations is when they attract weakened birds that are carrying disease. Aspergillosis is a potentially deadly infection found in some molds on bread or damp grain. When birds inhale the mold that has been infected with Aspergillus fumigatus it can result in death.

Mating Displays
The male and female will stretch out their necks. With erect crests, they will begin singing softly and be swaying back and forth from one side to the other. The Cardinal is truly a backyard bird watcher delight.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Romantic Songbirds of Spring - The NORTHERN CARDINAL

This beautiful bird is the only member of the cardinal family found in the northern hemisphere thus referred to as the Northern Cardinal. It is named a named "cardinal" after the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, who wear distinctive red robes and caps. They are native to the near arctic region. They are found throughout eastern and central North America from southern Canada into parts of Mexico and Central America.

English: female northern cardinal
Female northern cardinal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In spring this romantic male bird courts his future mate by feeding her seeds. When the female agrees to become his mate they sing to each other. During courtship they may also participate in a bonding behavior where the male collects food and brings it to the female, feeding her beak-to-beak. If the mating is successful, this mate-feeding may continue throughout the period of egg incubation. Mated pairs often travel together.

The Northern Cardinal is a territorial songbird. The male sings in a loud, clear whistle from the top of a tree or another high location to defend his territory. He will chase off other males entering his territory. The Northern Cardinal learns its songs, and as a result, the songs vary regionally. It is able to easily distinguish the sex of another singing Northern Cardinal by its song alone.

Both sexes sing clear, whistled song patterns, which are repeated several times, then varied. Some common phrases are described as purdy, purdy, purdy...whoit, whoit, whoit, whoit and what-cheer, what-cheer... wheet, wheet, wheet, wheet'. They has a distinctive alarm call, a short metallic 'chip' sound. This call often is given when predators approach the nest, in order to give warning to the female and nestlings. In some cases it will also utter a series of chipping notes. The frequency and volume of these notes increases as the threat becomes greater.

Northern Cardinals are preyed upon by Cooper's Hawks, Loggerhead Shrikes, Northern Shrikes, Eastern gray squirrels, Long-eared Owls and Eastern Screech Owls. Predators of chicks and eggs include milk snakes, coluber constrictors, Blue Jays, fox squirrels, red squirrels and eastern chipmunks.

The adult Cardinal's diet consists of weed seeds, grains, insect snail berry and fruit eaters. It eats beetles, cicadas, grasshoppers, snails, wild fruit and berries, corn and oats, sunflower seeds and the blossoms and bark of elm trees,. Cardinals drink maple sap from holes made by sapsuckers.The cardinal is a ground feeder and finds food while hopping on the ground through trees or shrubbery. During the summer months, it shows a preference for seeds that are easily husked but is less selective during winter, when food is scarce. Northern Cardinals feed their young almost exclusively on insects.

You can do a lot to help Northern Cardinal flourish:
1. Create nesting habitat near edges of woods, hedgerows, and vegetation around houses...
2. Install pole feeders high enough so preying animals cannot reach it.

3. Garden to attract cardinals and other songbirds year around by including these flowering plants:
sunflowers, delphinium, daisies. heliopsis, liatris, penstamon, bee balm, goldenrod, purple coneflower, tickseed, phlox, coneflower, cosmos, spider flower, aster, four o'clock, bachelor's button, phlox and snapdragon.

These flowering plants produce seeds that attract and feed songbirds throughout the spring and summer months.

    Dr. M. Wolken Ph.D. is an educator and environmentalist helping to inform and encourage you and your children to explore the wonders of nature. Visit to experience and get involved in saving Mother Nature's wonderful world.
    Article Source: EzineArti