There are quite a few fun facts about cardinals I’d like to share with you. Cardinal couples are one of my favorite birds to watch on my patio.
The female cardinal came around to the patio yesterday, but her mate was not in sight. Trouble in paradise? Oh, I think not.
Even with her light-colored feathers she’s still pretty and blends into the background. Which, I suppose, is the whole point of her having light plumage.
Then the male came later. Easy to spot with his bright red feathers as he lands to perch at the bird bath.
Males & Females Have Different Colored Beaks:
Have you noticed that there is another distinction between the male and female cardinals? They also have different colors in their beaks, as males have red beaks and females have orange beaks.
The red coloration that males develop in their plumage is a result of carotenoids in their feather structure. And they ingest those carotenoids in their diet.
That’s another interesting little fact about cardinals.
Vibrant yellow northern cardinals may be seen on rare occasions, which is a genetic plumage variation called xanthochroism. I’d love to see one of these birds.
What Do Cardinals Eat?
Cardinals love to eat seeds, fruit, buds, and insects.
Cardinals are also non-migratory birds. They prefer to live within a mile of where they were born.
Where Did They Get Their Name:
Cardinals were named after the Catholic Bishops.
One of the northern cardinal facts that you may already know is that the bird was named for its color, which resembles the red robe worn by Roman Catholic Cardinals.
Cardinals Voluntarily Cover Themselves With Ants:
One of the most interesting facts about cardinals is that they practice what is called “anting.” In fact, over 200 species of birds, including the Baltimore Orioles and the wild turkey, also cover themselves with ants.
It is possible that because the ants release formic acids, cardinals help themselves ward off lice.
The ants come from two subfamilies, they produce defensive secretions to repel attackers, and they don’t sting.
The cardinal will hold an ant in its beak, spread and lower its wings, and brings its tail forward between its legs, wiping the outer wing and tail feathers with the ant.
Cardinals also represent balance as they serve as a powerful representation of a family. The father cardinal is in charge of nurturing young birds.
Parent cardinals live a well-balanced family life, giving both of them the chance to take care of and nurture their kids in turn.
Cardinals Mate For Life:
Cardinals are monogamous birds.
After a male cardinal bird has chosen a female, the two will begin building a nest.
They will use various materials like leaves, grasses, tree bark, and small twigs that they gather and weave together.
You will typically see a cardinal nest lined with animal hair and soft grass.
Female cardinals lay 3 or 4 eggs, which will be incubated for 12 to 13 days. The male occasionally helps with the incubation process.
If one member of the pair dies, the survivor will quickly look for a new mate.
Female Cardinals Sing To Tell Males When They Need Food:
Cardinal sounds vary between males and females. The male typically sings to attract mates or ward off intruders. The female typically sings to signal the male to bring food to the nestlings.
The cardinal bird call for males is aggressive singing to protect their breeding and nesting, whereas females will sing more elaborate songs.
The cardinal is the most popular state bird in the United States. There are seven states in America that have the northern cardinal as their state bird: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Virginia.
Ivy Watching Birds:
And oh, does Ivy love to watch the birds. She will stare out the window watching for them.
When she sees one cavorting around the patio, she will thump her tail in indignation.