History & Culture / Home & Family

The Wonderful World of Cardinals

Cardinals are birds that belong to the family Cardinalidae. They are found in North and South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. These songbirds, known for their immense beauty, are beloved by many people. The males feature bright red feathers and are named for their rich colors, resembling the Roman Catholic Cardinals’ red robes.

These beautiful birds enjoy singing a variety of melodies throughout the year. And, both males and females sing. In most cases, the males sing to attract mates or warn intruders to stay away. The females frequently sing to signal the male to bring food to the nestlings.

These year-round birds are non-migratory; thus, they remain in the areas in which they live. They enjoy being active during the day, especially during the mornings and evenings. And, during the winter, they tend to flock and roost together. Northern Cardinals feast on diets of weeds, sunflower seeds, grains, and fruits and enjoy backyard birdfeeders. They drink water from streams, ponds, birdbaths, and other sources as well.

Female cardinals create cup-shaped nests in dense shrubbery, on small trees, or on vines, several feet off the ground. The nests are made of twigs, pieces of bark, leaves, grass, roots, and other natural materials. The females will line their nests with things like leaves, grass, or hair. A female cardinal typically lays 3 or 4 white eggs that have light brown spots and will incubate the eggs while the male is out gathering food.

Though cardinals are often considered “common” birds in the areas in which they live, they are quite special to see. And, they are often featured on holiday cards, in part because of their beauty and also because of what they symbolize to people. Some folks see them as symbols of hope and joy at Christmas. Others believe that sightings may signify something deeply spiritual, for example, that a family member is at peace or that seeing one is a sign of luck, devotion, or harmony. Whether those meanings are myths or not, we can likely all agree that seeing a cardinal is a profound experience.

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1 year ago

Cardinals are truly beautiful. They remind me of the intricate way God designed humans. With different colors and hair , so much more. The male is a deeper red than the female.

Debra Negron
1 year ago

What am I doing wrong. Please let me know. I can never comment. Commenting about the birds is hardly political. Please respond.

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