18 Amazing Cardinal Bird Facts You Didn’t Know (2022)

18 Amazing Cardinal Bird Facts You Didn’t Know (2022)

  • Reading time:16 mins read

Cardinals are one of the most beautiful wild birds on the planet, yet it might be difficult to find one that is not moving or flying around. Cardinals are known to be shy and non-aggressive birds, and this is true of them.

It will be easier for you to grasp how cardinals function in the wild if you learn some interesting facts about them.

Male cardinals get their red feathers from food

1.  Male cardinals get their red feathers from food

The male northern cardinal is easily distinguished by his totally red coloring, whereas the female northern cardinal has tan feathers with a crimson wash across the chest.

Individual females, on the other hand, have varying degrees of the red wash characteristic. Cardinals have various colored beaks depending on whether they are male or female, with males having red beaks and females having orange beaks. A pigment called carotenoids is present in the feather structure of males, and they ingest the carotenoids through their diet. This results in the red hue of males’ plumage.

A genetic variant known as xanthochroism causes vivid yellow northern cardinals to appear on rare occasions, and these birds are known as xanthochroism.

 

Cardinal Birds Kiss Very Often

2. Cardinal Birds Kiss Very Often

Once the Cardinals have selected their mating pair, the male Cardinal plays the lead role in feeding its female. During courtship, the male finds seeds and feeds them to the female using a “beak to beak” method.

This shows the love and affection between the two can be portrayed as the two birds kissing each other.

3. Cardinals are omnivores

Birds that are omnivores are birds that can eat both plants and animals, and hence are classified as such. What do cardinals eat on a daily basis? Cardinals like eating a variety of foods such as seeds, fruit, blossoms, and insects.

Cardinals are frequently seen in backyards and on porches, consuming bird seed from bird feeders. Cardinals will also hop and forage on the ground, searching for seeds in low-lying shrubs and bushes, as well as in trees.

Throughout the year, cardinals benefit from suet, a high-calorie kidney fat derived from sheep or cattle that supply nutrients. When insects become scarce or non-existent in the winter months, this is a problem. Suet is an excellent substitute for providing energy to cardinals. Cardinals also eat grains such as oats, buckwheat, millet, and bread crumbs, as well as fruits and vegetables.

Some cardinals suffer from bird “baldness”

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4. Some cardinals suffer from bird “baldness”

The sight of cardinals with their heads shaved does not make for a nice sight. Although parasites are believed to be the primary cause, other specialists, such as Eastern Kentucky University ornithologist Gary Ritchison, are skeptical.

Ritchison has personally handled thousands of cardinals, including some bald cardinals, during the course of his career. “There were no major lice or mite problems among any of the birds,” he says of the afflicted birds.

An odd moult pattern, according to him, is to blame for this phenomenon. McGill University in Quebec naturalist David Bird, author of the 1999 book The Bird Almanac, and his colleague Rodger Titman make a compelling case for the atypical molting hypothesis in their book. This unexpected loss of feathers could be a result of the bird’s response to a traumatic injury.

5. Northern Cardinal has many other names

Northern Cardinal Also called the Common Cardinal, the Virginia Nightingale, and even the Winter Redbird, the red bird, the Northern Cardinal is predominantly called the Cardinal.

Cardinal is One of the most easily identifiable species, having a showy appearance and distinctive bright red plumage, no further specification is needed to describe the bird – simply Cardinal is sufficient.

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6. Cardinals are non-migratory birds

For birds to be considered non-migratory, it means that they do not migrate during the winter months. Cardinals are non-migratory birds, preferring to stay within a mile of their birthplace rather than traveling long distances. They are drawn to nesting shelves and cardinal feeders, particularly ones that provide a plentiful supply of food for the birds.

A hopper bird feeder would be the greatest type of bird feeder to use for attracting cardinals. Cardinals can perch on these feeders while they eat their meals. Despite the fact that male cardinals are bright red, they might be difficult to identify. Most of the time, they prefer to hang out in dense shrubs, where the tangled branches obscure their plumage.

Cardinals were named after the Catholic Bishops

7. Cardinals were named after the Catholic Bishops

One of the northern cardinal facts that you may already be aware of is that the bird was named for the color of its plumage, which is similar to the red robe worn by Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church. What exactly does the term “cardinal” mean? A Cardinal, according to the Roman Catholic definition, is a high ecclesiastical official of the church who ranks immediately below the pope and serves as a member of the Sacred College of Cardinals, which assists the pope in his duties.

Cardinals in this category act as principal advisors to the Pope, and their primary responsibility is to assist the Vatican government. It was in late antiquity when the Latin word cardinalis, derived from the word cardo (pivot or hinge), was first employed to designate a bishop or priest.

8. Cardinals voluntarily cover themselves with ants

One of the most remarkable things about cardinals is that they engage in what is aptly referred to as anting. In fact, over 200 species of birds, including the Baltimore Orioles and the wild turkey, cover their bodies with ants to keep them warm and protected from predators. It is believed that cardinals assist themselves in warding off lice as a result of the formic acids released by ants.

The ants are members of two subfamilies, and they secrete defense chemicals to discourage intruders. They do not sting, but they do bite. With an ant in its mouth, the cardinal will flap its wings and pull its tail forward between its legs, cleaning the outer wing and tail feathers with the ant as it does so.

The Cardinal is a symbol of confidence and balance

9. The Cardinal is a symbol of confidence and balance

The cardinal is seen as a symbol of a number of positive characteristics, and it is frequently depicted as a reassuring indication. The cardinal bird represents self-assurance mostly because it is considered to be a self-assured bird species. Cardinals are well-aware of their own unique traits and talents, which is why they are not willing to be treated in a light-hearted manner when approached.

The cardinals are also symbolic of balance because they are a powerful depiction of the family unit. The father cardinal is in charge of raising and educating his offspring. Parent cardinals have a well-balanced family life, which allows both of them to have the opportunity to care for and nurture their children in their own right.

10. Cardinals mate for life

Cardinals are a monogamous species of bird. After a male cardinal bird has selected a female, the two of them will begin constructing a nest out of a variety of materials such as leaves, grasses, tree bark, and small twigs that they will gather and intertwine together. A cardinal nest is often lined with animal fur and soft grass, and it can be seen in the wild.

Do cardinals have a long-term relationship? Some cardinal pairs remain together in their nesting region throughout the entire year. Cards lay three or four eggs, which are incubated for 12 to 13 days by the female cardinal. It is possible that the male will assist with the incubation process on occasion. If one of the members of the couple passes away, the survivor will hunt for a new partner as soon as possible.

Female cardinals sing to tell the males when they need food

11. Female cardinals sing to tell the males when they need food

The sounds made by male and female cardinals are different. The male sings to attract mates or warn off intruders, depending on the situation. The female sings to communicate to the male to bring food to the nestlings, which is customary.

Male cardinals would sing aggressively to preserve their breeding and nesting areas, whilst female cardinals will sing more sophisticated songs to attract mates.

Females sing in a more tactical manner than males do. A total of 24 different songs are available to Cardinals to sing. Cardinals, particularly male cardinals, can sing up to 200 songs in an hour on occasion. Sometimes, when you hear cardinals chirping, both the male and female may join together and sing upbeat duets for you.

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12. Cardinals are named as a state bird of seven states

The cardinal is the most popular state bird in the United States, and it is also the most endangered. The following are the seven states in the United States that have the northern cardinal as their official state bird:

Illinois (1929), Indiana (1933), Ohio (1933), Kentucky (1942), North Carolina (1943), West Virginia (March 7, 1949), and Virginia (January 25,1950) are the states that have been affected by the Great Depression (January 25, 1950).

Aside from professional sports, Cardinals are also popular as mascots, most notably for the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball and the Arizona Cardinals in football, among other teams.

Cardinals serve as the mascots for a large number of collegiate and high school teams as well. The University of Louisville in Kentucky and Ball State University in Indiana are two of the most well-known institutions that emphasize the cardinal as a symbol of faith.

Cardinals can live up to 15 years

13. Cardinals can live up to 15 years

What is the average lifespan of a cardinal? Northern cardinals can live in the wild for up to three years on average, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Some, on the other hand, have been known to live for 13 to 15 years. One remarkable fact about northern cardinals in captivity is that they may live for up to 28 12 years in captivity, which may surprise you.

In general, the majority of wild birds live for a very long time, especially if they are the kind of birds that prefer higher elevations and are therefore subjected to little or no harm during their lives. Cardinals enjoy longer lives because they prefer to live at higher elevations, which, when combined with the fact that they are wary of humans, allows them to live longer lives.

14. During winter they tend to create big flocks

What is the average lifespan of a cardinal? Northern cardinals can live in the wild for up to three years on average, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Some, on the other hand, have been known to live for 13 to 15 years. One remarkable fact about northern cardinals in captivity is that they may live for up to 28 12 years in captivity, which may surprise you.

In general, the majority of wild birds live for a very long time, especially if they are the kind of birds that prefer higher elevations and are therefore subjected to little or no harm during their lives. Cardinals enjoy longer lives because they prefer to live at higher elevations, which, when combined with the fact that they are wary of humans, allows them to live longer lives.

Cardinals are very territorial

15. Cardinals are very territorial

Male cardinals will defend their territory against intruders, including reflections in the water. This explains why you may have noticed a male cardinal attacking a window or mirror in your neighborhood. Despite the fact that females have been observed doing this as well, men are more likely to attack what they believe to be an intruder when in fact they are hurting themselves.

Cardinals become territorial across their whole area during the nesting and breeding seasons, as they are protecting their established habitat from predators. Even though they breed in close proximity to other bird species, male cardinals are so hot-blooded that they will never allow another male cardinal to infringe on their territory. Cardinals are among the most resilient wild birds, despite the fact that they are not the largest.

16. Cardinal protect their territory during breeding season

As the mating and breeding season starts, you’ll notice a change in the behavior of the male cardinals. Ornithologists associate this to high hormone levels of the bird, which makes it quite oppressive and suspicious of other male Cardinals.

During breeding season, you might see the cardinals nesting around you become pretty territorial, attacking and chasing away any intruders that they feel threatened by.

17. Cardinals are under The Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 was passed to provide protection for cardinals, which included prohibiting the trade of their feathers. Originally passed in 1916, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was intended to carry out the agreement between the United States and Great Britain, which was acting on Canada’s behalf at the time.

Without a waiver, it is unlawful to chase, hunt, take, capture, kill, or sell birds that are classified as migratory birds under the provisions of the statute. Cardinals were popular as cage birds in the 1800s due to their beautiful red plumage and ability to sing, which made them ideal for use in cages. Cardinals were once considered a menace to bird hunting, but they are now protected by this statute and other legislation.

There are 19 cardinal subspecies

18. There are 19 cardinal subspecies

How many cardinals are there in the world? Cardinals come in a variety of shapes and colors, with a total of 19 subspecies that may be distinguished mostly by their coats of feathers. Northern cardinals can be found in a wide range of habitats from southeastern Canada to as far south as the United States. The Florida Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis floridanus) is a species of Cardinal that can be found in Florida and Georgia.

Throughout Oklahoma and Texas, as well as throughout central and eastern Mexico, the Grey-tailed Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis canicaudus) can be found. The Cozumel Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis saturates) is a species of the cardinal that dwells in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It is a member of the Cardinal family. Cardinals are a member of the Cardinalidae family, which also includes Grosbeaks and Buntings, among other birds.

 

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