Cardinals, Grosbeaks, and Allies
Throughout the Year
Northern Cardinal Facts
There’s no mistaking the bright red plumage of a male Northern cardinal, especially striking in wintertime against a background of snow. Common year-round east of the Rocky Mountains, these songbirds start serenading early in the morning, with a whistling tee-ew-tee-ew-tee-ew-tee-ew.
Males are “cardinal” red from head to tail, with short, thick red bills and black faces. Females are duller brown all over with reddish wings, tail, and crest. Juveniles are generally light brown with an orange-red underside and reddish tail.
Forest edges and urban settings (parks, backyards, gardens).
Northern cardinals make their nests in shrubs and thick vegetation, and tend to forage by way of short flights from shrub to ground. Like blue jays, Northern cardinals use their crests to signal aggression.
Seeds, fruit, insects.
Loud and distinct, the song of the Northern cardinal is a cheerful twoit twoit choo-choo-choo-choo-choo.
Northern Cardinals at BBG