Northern cardinal Facts

Northern cardinal Facts
Northern cardinal, also known as redbird is a songbird that belongs to the family of cardinals. There are 19 subspecies of northern cardinals that can be found in Canada, USA and Mexico. Northern cardinal inhabits bushy swamps, edges of the forests, parks and backyards. This bird was often kept as cage birds during the 19th century. Luckily, this practice is prohibited starting from 1918. Cardinals are welcome in many gardens because they feed on pest insects and sing beautiful songs. Population of northern cardinals in the wild is large and stable. These birds are not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Northern cardinal Facts:
Northern cardinal can reach 8 to 9 inches in length and 1.5 to 1.8 ounces of weight.
Gender of the northern cardinal can be determined via coloration of the body. Males have black face and bright red-colored body. Females are covered with grayish-brown plumage and have grey face.
Northern cardinal has strong, cone-shaped beak, crest on top of a head and long tail. Bird erects its crest when it senses danger.
Name "cardinal" refers to the cardinals of the Catholic Church which wear red vestments.
Northern cardinal searches food at dusk and dawn (crepuscular birds).
Northern cardinal is an omnivore (it eats plants and meat). 90% of diet is based on seed and fruit. Beetles, grasshoppers, ants, flies, dragonflies and many other types of insects are the primary source of food for the young birds.
Males are able to incorporate pigments (called carotenoids) from the food they eat into their plumage in order to produce and maintain red color of the feathers.
Northern cardinal is gregarious bird that lives in large flocks outside the breeding season.
Males can sing up to 200 songs per hour. Songs are often composed of series of whistles. Their goal is to deter competing males from the occupied territory.
Males produce loud, chipping noise when they detect predators near the nest. Same sound is used when bird wants to find its partner during the periods of poor visibility.
Cats, squirrels, raccoons, skunks and snakes target eggs of northern cardinal, while owls, falcons and hawks hunt adult birds.
Northern cardinals form monogamous pairs (they mate for a lifetime) and produce 2 to 4 broods per year.Northern cardinal is territorial during the mating season. Male will attack its own reflection in the mirror to protect territory from the "intruder". Male also provides food for the female during the period of incubation.
Female builds nest in the tree or bush and lays 3 eggs. She often sings from the nest. Incubation period lasts 12 to 13 days. Both parents provide food for chicks. Young birds leave the nest 10 to 11 days after hatching.
Northern cardinal can survive up to 15 years in the wild and up to 28 years in the captivity.

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