BD21315_.GIF (328 bytes)

cardinal.jpg (52633 bytes)cardinal2.jpg (34472 bytes)

BD14529_.GIF (274 bytes)  Appearance

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  Cardinals are about 7-9 inches long.  They have fat, cone-shaped beaks.  They are crested.   They have long tails.  Their legs and feet are dark red. 

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  The male cardinal is bright red.  He has a reddish-orange beak and a black face. 

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  The female cardinal is brownish-gray on top and tan underneath.  She has a reddish crest, wings, and tail.  She has a reddish-orange beak.  Females are a little smaller than males.

BD21315_.GIF (328 bytes)

BD14529_.GIF (274 bytes)  What do cardinals do?

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  Cardinals like to live in forests, fields, gardens and swamps, but they also live in cities.   Cardinals live in the eastern parts of the United States and Mexico.

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  Cardinals do not migrate.

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  Cardinals have a loud, clear whistled song.  It sounds like "cheer cheer cheer" or "purty purty purty".  They like to sing from a high tree top or a post.

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  Cardinals eat seeds, leaf buds, flowers, corn, grasses, berries and fruit.  In the summer, they also eat insects.

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  Cardinals use dust to take a bath.

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  Cardinals hop; they do not walk.

BD21315_.GIF (328 bytes)

BD14529_.GIF (274 bytes)  Mating and babies

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  When cardinals find a mate, they spread their tail, droop their wings, and lean to the left and then the right.

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  Cardinals nest 2 or 3 times a year.  The female builds a cup-shaped nest of small twigs and roots.  She uses grasses and hair inside the nest.  She builds the nest in a bush. 

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  The female lays 3-4 eggs.  The eggs are about 1 inch long.  They are grayish with brown, purple or gray spots.  The female sits on the eggs.  The eggs hatch in 12-13 days. 

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  Both parents take care of the babies.  Sometimes the male takes card of the first brood while the female sits on the new clutch of eggs.

BD21315_.GIF (328 bytes)

BD14529_.GIF (274 bytes)  Interesting facts

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  The cardinal is the state bird of Illinois and 6 other states. 

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  If a male cardinal sees its reflection in glass, it will spend hours fighting the imaginary bird.  Sometimes they will even attack small red things they think are other males.

BD14795_.GIF (219 bytes)  Male cardinals are not as brightly colored in the winter.