Also available in Notecard Assortment Pack #AST-501
red with a conspicuous crest and black face, the male Northern
Cardinal is named for the color of the robes of Roman Catholic
cardinals. The female is light brown to gray with patches of red
on her wings, tail, and crest.
food consists of a variety of beetles, cicadas and other insects
during warm monthsand the fruits of trees, shrubs and vines
when available. In winter it is especially fond of sunflower seeds,
cracked corn, and safflower seeds found at backyard feeding stations.
to withstand the cold of winter, Cardinals have a lining of warm
down beneath their plumage. When temperatures plummet, they fluff
out their feathers for better insulation against the loss of body
heat, giving them a rounder looking appearance. Even the undersides
of their feet are padded in ridges, giving them a firm grip on
are found in open woods, forest edges, suburbs and parks. Their
loosely built nests are usually found in a thicket of dense bushes.
While most abundant in the eastern United States and parts of
Mexico, Cardinals are resident throughout the year as far north
as southern Ontario. The Cardinal is the official state bird of
Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and
Text © 1995 Dianne Harrah, Drawing ©
1995 Bill Harrah