Home Page

Live Cams


Photo Gallery



Contact Us



~ Northern Cardinal ~
(Cardinalis cardinalis)


You will see lots of Northern Cardinals at TheCritterWindow. They seem to be everywhere around here and are one of my favorite birds to watch!

IDENTIFICATION : Length: 10 - 12 inches Wingspan: 7.5 8.5 inches Weight: 1.6 ounce

Male is red overall with a reddish cone-shaped bill and crest. He has a black mask around his eyes and black at the base of his bill which extends down the throat>

Female is beige golden-brown around the head and under parts and a beige olive color on the upperparts. She has a reddish cone-shaped bill and a red-tipped crest. She has reddish color on her wings and tail.

Juveniles resemble the adult female but have a blackish instead of reddish bill.

LOCATION: Eastern half of the U.S. and some Mexico.

VOICE: Cardinals sing a variety of gurgled and clearly whistled songs. In fact, they sing more than 25 different songs.

HABITAT: Woodland edges, undergrowth, residential areas and thickets.

BREEDING: Monogamous and solitary. The male will feed the female during courtship and the incubation period.

NESTING: The Northern Cardinal will nest in the forks of low trees or bushes or may nest in tangled twigs or a vine up to 15 feet off the ground, but it is usually less than 5 feet. The female builds the nest out of twigs, weeds, grass, bark and leaves and lines it with hair and grass. She lays 3 to 4 oval eggs that have pale green, blue or gray hues to them with dots and flecks of gray, purple and brown. Incubation is 12-13 days with the young staying in the nest for 9-11 days. Both parents feed the young. The parents raise 2-4 broods a year so the male may continue to tend the young fledglings while the female begins incubating a new set of eggs.

FEEDING PREFERENCES: Eats insects, seeds, grain, fruit and snails as well as cracked corn, sunflower seeds and birdseed. Drinks sap from holes drilled by sapsuckers. They will also bathe in birdbaths.

INTERESTING FACTS: Hops instead of walking on ground. The Northern Cardinal is the official bird of seven US states including Indiana. They are common hosts to cowbird eggs. The male fights with other birds to defend his territory. He will sometimes try to attack his own reflection in windows, chrome, hubcaps and automobile mirrors. The Northern Cardinal is a regular visitor to backyard bird feeders and will sometimes take food from the hand.

SOURCE(S): Alsop, Fred J, III, Birds of North America, Eastern Region, 2001, p678.

| Home Page | About Us | Live Cams | Videos | Photo Gallery |
| Wildlife | Watched Birds | Watched Critters | Donations | Contact Us |

2010 TheCritterWindow

The Critter Window Hosted By: Lunar Web Hosting