Naturalist’s Corner – Cardinals!

Naturalist’s Corner – Cardinals!

Posted January 8, 2020

Written by Kyla Isakson

The northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a songbird that lives in most of the United States. They typically live in evergreen trees and thick bushes, which is where they establish their territory, or the area that they live in year round. Since northern cardinals stay in their territories, they do not migrate during the winter unless the status of resources drastically changes. Northern cardinals eat seeds and fruit, and they especially like black sunflower seeds.

Like many animals, northern cardinals exhibit sexual dimorphism, which means that male and female cardinals have different physical characteristics. Male cardinals have bright red feathers covering their bodies with a black ring around their orange beaks. Females have brownish feathers with red accents on their wings, crest, and tail. Both male and female cardinals have a crest, which is a cluster of feathers that stand up straight on the top of the head.

Male and female northern cardinals call to each other often, so keep an ear out to hear their sounds! For more information and to listen to their calls, check out The Cornell Lab of Ornithology!

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