These beautiful birds are common visitors to backyard bird feeders and are well known for both their appearance and their song! While there are many species of cardinals which vary in appearance, the most noticeable is the northern cardinal. The male northern cardinal features a red body with a bright red pointed crest on the top of its head. Females of this species have mostly brown bodies with bright red accents on their crest, wings and tail. Since these birds do not typically migrate, it is common during winter to see a bright red cardinal in beautiful contrast against a snowy white background!
In spring and summer, cardinals sing a unique song comprised of a two-part repeating whistle or tweet. Cardinals also have as many as 16 different calls used to communicate! The most common is a metallic sounding chirp that is used to warn off intruders or predators or alert their mate as they approach the nest with food. During mate-feeding, a behavior where the male bird feeds seeds to the female, a softer took sound may be heard.
Learn to identify various cardinal sounds today and listen for them in your own backyard!
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