Interesting Cardinal Facts
1. Cardinals are non-migratory birds that are attracted to bird houses and feeders especially those with a great supply of food.
2. They gather in big flocks of about 70 birds during winter time and often nest in bushy thickets.
3. When the female cardinal sings from the nest, it may be a sign to the male that she is in need of food.
4. Both male and female cardinals sing but the female normally sings longer and in a more complex melody.
5. The male cardinal is the defender of their breeding territory. In fact, it can spend long hours fighting his reflection he sees in glass surfaces. The brighter red cardinal males prefer territories in thick vegetation, they feed at faster rates and are more successful in reproducing.
6. The young cardinals often go hungry as they defecate after every feeding. After defecating, the parent bird usually takes away the fecal sac and brings it far away from the nest to hide their location from predators.
7. The cardinal is considered as the only red bird with a crest in the entire United States.
8. Its family was given the name cardinal as the bright red color of the male species is very similar to the vestments used by Catholic cardinals.
9. Cardinals are one of the favorite backyard birds in North America because they frequently visit backyards with feeders and bird houses.
10. These songbirds are a picture of sweetness especially when mate feeding. During this time, the male looks for food and feeds the female by putting the food into its mate’s bill as if kissing each other.
11. Cardinals were popular in the 1800s as cage birds mainly because of their bright red color and capacity to sing different songs.
12. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act which was passed in 1918 protects the cardinals and has prohibited their sale.
13. Cardinals are also known as red birds and Virginia nightingales.
14. A study has shown that northern cardinals eat 51 kinds of beetles, four types of grasshoppers, termites, ants, flies, dragonflies and 12 kinds of homoptera which includes leaf hoppers, cicadas and aphids.
15. Bird banding efforts have helped increased the population of cardinals over the years. According to the bird banding web site, more than 350,000 northern cardinals were banded between 1955 and 1997. Of the total number, 3.2 percent or more than 10,700 have been recovered.
16. Cardinals found in the wild can live up to 15 years as confirmed by banding studies.
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