Bird of the Month: Northern Cardinal

male

female

Northern Cardinal   Cardinalis cardinalis   L 8 3/4″   (22 cm)

Cone-shaped reddish bill (the colour of a Dogwood fruit, which they love to eat), females have a mauve or olive coloration & the mask is blacker on males. Juveniles are usually browner, dusky bill & males have blotchy patches of red. The male tends to do the feeding after the chick learns to fly. During mating season, the males become aggressive & tend to chase each other over territory & females.

Song is a loud, beautiful liquid whistling of many variations, one type of song is: cue cue and cheer cheer cheer and do do do do due…do do do do due…purty purty purty purty purty—. Call is a sharp chip, while feeding they call a low cheep & when angered they hisss. Range is throughout the east- in woodland edges, swamps, stream side thickets & suburban gardens. They eat berries-such as Dogwood fruit, mixed seeds- they especially like black oil (nyger) sunflower seeds.

My video of a male cardinal singing in spring:

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Categories: Bird of the Month, Birding, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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