Cardinals, (Cardinalis cardinalis), are commonly seen in backyards in the eastern half of the United States. More states have adopted the Northern Cardinal as their state bird than any other bird. These states are: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. Their range is primarily in the South, East and Midwest, although a few have been reported in California.
The male's bright red plumage is matched by the clarity of his varied calls.
The male has a black patch around his beak and a tufted crest. Even the female, whose plumage is a duller red with brown, is an accomplished singer. And they both will sing all year-long, brightening the snowy backyards as well as the warm spring mornings, sometimes singing a duet.
Cardinals mate for life. If you see one, look closely into the trees, bushes, or brush for the other. They prefer a dense area, such as a thicket or thickly branched tree to make their nest of twigs and grass. Mom will lay 3 - 5 eggs and incubate them, while Dad will bring her food. When the young Cardinals can fly, Dad may watch over them while Mom may begin a second brood.
Cardinals have cone shaped bills adapted to eating seeds of all sorts. In the wild, this bird has a varied diet of fruit, seed, and insects. Attract Cardinals to your backyard birdfeeder by offering sunflower seed and cracked corn. Watch as they feed their mates at your feeder, especially during the spring and into the summer. As they offer each other a seed, the pair will touch beaks briefly, almost as if they were gazing longingly into each other's eyes. Also for your Cardinals, plant some shrubs with berries as well as some dense shrubs where they may nest and raise their young.