5 Facts About Cardinals

The northern cardinal. Photo by Keith A. Anderson.

Cardinals are everyone’s favorite bird! Here are five fun facts about the birds that will make you like them even more!

  1. Males and females can both sing very well. Many people mistakenly think males are the only birds that sing. Not true with these singing beauties! They do something called countersinging in which one bird will sing a song several times and the others will match it.
  2. The males love to feed the females. At your feeder, you might see a male picking up a bit of food and giving it to the female. After the pair nests the male will continue to feed her this way.
  3. There are four layers in cardinal nests. They start with a platform of stiff weeds and vines, then they create a layer with leaves or paper. The third layer is finer weeds and grass and the final layer is fine roots and grass stems. Nests take four to six days to complete.
  4. Cardinals usually lay two to five eggs and incubation is only 12-13 days. Only the females sit on the nest.
  5. Listen closely when a cardinal lands on your feeder. They almost always flick their tails and put out a call that sounds like  “CHIP.”



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