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CARDINAL

The brilliantly colored Northern Cardinal has the record for popularity as a state bird: in the United States, it holds that title in seven states. This common bird is a winter fixture at snow-covered bird feeders throughout the Northeast, but it only spread to New York and New England in the mid-20th century.

Description
Medium-sized songbird.
Large crest on head.
Heavy, conical red bill.
Face surrounded by black.
Male entirely brilliant red.
Female grayish-tan with red tail and wings.
Size: 21-23 cm (8-9 in)
Wingspan: 25-31 cm (10-12 in)
Weight: 42-48 g (1.48-1.69 ounces)
Sex Differences
Male brilliant red, female tan.

Sound
Song a series of clear whistles, the first down-slurred and ending in a slow trill. "Cheer, cheer, cheer, what, what, what, what." Call a sharp "chip."

Conservation Status
Population density and range increased over the last 200 years, largely as a response to habitat changes made by people. The cardinal benefits from park-like urban habitats and the presence of bird feeders. However, it is listed as a species of special concern in California and may disappear there because of habitat loss.

Other Names
Cardinal rouge (French)
Cardenal rojo, Cardenal norteño, Cardenal común (Spanish)

Cool Facts
Population density and range of the Northern Cardinal has increased over the last 200 years, largely as a response to habitat changes made by people. However, it is listed as a species of special concern in California and may disappear there because of habitat loss.

The female Northern Cardinal sings, often from the nest. The song may give the male information about when to bring food to the nest. A mated pair shares song phrases, but the female may sing a longer and slightly more complex song than the male.

The male cardinal fiercely defends its breeding territory from other males. When a male sees its reflection in glass surfaces, it frequently will spend hours fighting the imaginary intruder.

Brighter red males hold territories with denser vegetation, feed at higher rates, and have greater reproductive success than duller males.

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