Northern Cardinal - The Ohio State Bird

Cardinalis cardinalis

Northern Cardinal - The Ohio State Bird

Femal Northern Cardinal
Female Northern Cardinal

The male northern cardinal is probably one of the most easily recognized bird in this area.  It is frequently seen at bird feeders.  Its hard to miss the bright red feathers.  It also likes the vegetation in suburban settings like shrubs and bushes.  This fact also makes it seen more frequently.

The female cardinal is a little less noticeable.  It is some red around its head, and its beak is red.  Other than that, it is mostly a light brown color.


Cardinal Songs and Sounds

This bird has various sounds.  Click the "speakers" below to hear the sounds.

Sound #1

Sound #2

Sound #3

Sound #4
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Year-Round Resident

The northern cardinal is a year-round resident.  They do not migrate during the winter months.  They are most often seen at feeders during the early morning or late evening hours (dawn or dusk).

The male and females are often seen together.  Its rather unusual if you see one without the other somewhere in the vicinity. 

Pairs will typically remain with each other year-round.


They Like Sunflower Seeds

You can attract cardinals to you feeder with black oiler sunflower seeds.


Northern Cardinal Facts

  • Like to nest in thickets, bushes, or brush piles.

  • Females build the nests and incubate the eggs.

  • Males will bring food to the female during incubation.

  • Eggs hatch after about 11 to 13 days and the chicks leave the nest after about 10 days.

  • Both male and female will feed the young birds a diet of insects.

  • They raise two broods of chicks.  One in March and the second in June or July.

  • Cardinals eat weed seeds, sunflowers seeds, fruit, and insects.

  • Did you Know.......

    Cardinals were originally considered rare in Ohio.  When Europeans first came to Ohio in the 1600s and 1700s the state was covered with dense, old-growth forest.  There were not too many cardinals here.

    That's because cardinals like woodland edges and thickets to nest in.  They prefer the hard-to-reach shrubs and bushes.  When there were tall trees here the habitat wasn't conducive to the cardinal.

    When settlers began to cut the trees down to make farmland the cardinals then had more places to nest and feed.  The old trees were soon replaced with fence rows, thickets, and other shrubby plants. 


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