The red cardinal is a small bird with bright plumage and a wonderful voice.


In some US states, one small but very beautiful bird is recognized as a symbol. It is also called very representatively - the bird cardinal. This is a very loud and important name for such a small creature of nature. Why did this bird deserve such respect? Beautiful singing or bright, cheerful colors? Who hunts the red cardinal and what does he eat? These and other questions can be answered in this article.


What do the cardinals look like

The Northern Cardinal is a small bird living in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Its other name is red cardinal or virgin cardinal. For the fact that, in addition to the beautiful appearance, this baby also has a chic voice, she is also often called a virgin nightingale.

The most famous feature of this bird is its bright red plumage. The most beautiful are males. Their feathers are bright crimson, and around the beak and eyes they are black. It seems that he is wearing a mysterious black mask, which gives the cardinal a special mystery. Their paws are also reddish-brown.

Females are much less bright, mostly they have a grayish-brown color of feathers. Red blotches are present only on the wings. But from this they do not become less beautiful.

The size of the red cardinal rarely exceeds 23–25 cm, and the wingspan can reach 30 cm. They also weigh a little: a large adult male barely falls to 50 grams.

Where such beauty is found

The red cardinal is a bird with bright plumage and a beautiful voice. The natural habitat of its habitat is considered the territory of many eastern states of America, as well as cardinals can be found in Mexico, Canada and Guatemala.


At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the virgin cardinals were artificially introduced to Bermuda. The nature there is quite to their taste, so they enjoy living there today.

Artificially, the Virginia Cardinal began to be bred also in California and Hawaii. The experiment was successful, the birds were well acclimatized and settled down.

The first legend of the cardinal

The Indians of North America have their own theories, or rather, beautiful legends, telling how the red cardinal got his gorgeous plumage.

The first one is this. Once a wolf wanted to hunt a cunning raccoon. Saving his own skin, the raccoon hid in a bush by the stream and hid. Feeling intense thirst, the wolf approached the water and saw in the waves a reflection of its future prey. Without thinking that he sees only a reflection of a raccoon in the water, the wolf jumped on him and almost drowned.

With great difficulty, the predator got out of the water to the shore and fell asleep from fatigue. While he was sleeping, a cunning raccoon crept up to him and slapped him with clay eyes in retaliation. When the wolf woke up, he could not open his eyes and thought he was blind. Out of desperation, he wept for the whole forest, but no one wanted to help him.

A wolf crying heard a little bird, she flew in to help and removed the clay from the eyes of a predator. Gray wanted to thank his savior. He led her to the red rocks and colored the plumage of a bird there. Since then, the cardinal has such beautiful crimson feathers.


Legend number 2

There is another legend, according to which the red cardinal is the daughter of the sun. Once the Sun was offended by people for the fact that when they look at him they always squint. From resentment, it began to fry so much that many people died.

The sorcerer intervened. He said that in order for everything to work out, the sun must be killed. For this purpose, he turned the two men into snakes and sent them to the luminary. But it turned out that not the Sun itself, but his beloved daughter suffered from snake venom. Then the light was offended and left forever from the firmament.

The heat subsided, but complete darkness came, the people were again unhappy and went to the sorcerer. He said that in order for Sunny to forgive them, you need to return his beloved daughter from the world of the dead. The sorcerer gave people a special box to carry it, and ordered not to open the lid on the way. People kidnapped the daughter of the Sun from the dead, put it in a box and carried it back, but on the way she began to complain and cry that she was choking. Then the porters opened the lid for a second to let in some air and slam it shut, but it did not help.

When they came to the luminary, it turned out that the box was empty. Then people remembered that at the time when they opened the lid, a little beautiful bird fluttered around them. It was into her and turned girl.


The behavior of birds in nature

Most often, the red cardinal settles where people live nearby - in gardens and parks. May also inhabit forest zones, in swamps and in thickets of bushes.

The main natural enemies of these beautiful birds are larger birds of prey: hawks, owls, shrikes. Also, cardinals are harmed by squirrels, chipmunks and snakes - they spoil and destroy eggs and chicks left unattended.

Nutrition and reproduction

The red cardinal is quite unpretentious in food. Food is berries, various seeds and cereals. With pleasure, he can eat and cicada, grasshopper, various bugs and even snails. If you place a feeding trough near the habitat of the red cardinal, he will not pick and choose and any grace offered will be pecked with gratitude.

The red cardinal is a Monogamous bird; he chooses his companion for living together once and no longer changes his preferences. The female Virginian cardinal herself builds a nest for future offspring. She usually lays 2–4 eggs in one laying and incubates the babies for about 2 weeks.


A caring "dad" feeds his darling and sometimes even substitutes her in the process of hatching. But when the chicks are born, the process of education goes into the "paws and beak" of the father.

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