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Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cardinalidae
Genus: Cardinalis
Species: cardinalis


This bird has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Albertville, Alabama
Bessemer, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Tucson, Arizona
Blythe, California
Imperial Beach, California
New Milford, Connecticut
North Haven, Connecticut
Sandy Hook, Connecticut
Dover, Delaware
Wilmington, Delaware
Alford, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Beverly Hills, Florida (2 reports)
Big Pine Key, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Brooksville, Florida (2 reports)
Daytona Beach, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Lake City, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
North Port, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Quincy, Florida
Sebastian, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Buford, Georgia
Byron, Georgia
Cumming, Georgia
Kingsland, Georgia
Locust Grove, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Snellville, Georgia
Algonquin, Illinois
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Collinsville, Illinois
Divernon, Illinois
Homewood, Illinois
Lombard, Illinois
Madison, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Coatesville, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana (2 reports)
Memphis, Indiana
Michigan City, Indiana
Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Sioux Center, Iowa
Sioux City, Iowa
Yale, Iowa
Herington, Kansas
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas
Benton, Kentucky
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Cadiz, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Alexandria, Louisiana
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Deridder, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Vacherie, Louisiana
Dixfield, Maine
Pownal, Maine
Cambridge, Maryland
Clinton, Maryland
Linthicum Heights, Maryland
Halifax, Massachusetts
North Attleboro, Massachusetts
Saugus, Massachusetts
Beaverton, Michigan
Dearborn, Michigan
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Paw Paw, Michigan
Remus, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Traverse City, Michigan
Albertville, Minnesota
Anoka, Minnesota
Hamel, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saint Michael, Minnesota
Biloxi, Mississippi
Golden, Mississippi
Natchez, Mississippi (2 reports)
Brunswick, Missouri
Cole Camp, Missouri
Conway, Missouri
Gerald, Missouri
Joplin, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Saint Robert, Missouri
Springfield, Missouri
Bellevue, Nebraska
Atkinson, New Hampshire
Brookline, New Hampshire
Merrimack, New Hampshire
Beachwood, New Jersey
Marlton, New Jersey
Toms River, New Jersey
Binghamton, New York
Brooklyn, New York
Croton On Hudson, New York
Fayetteville, New York
Himrod, New York
Livingston Manor, New York
Middle Village, New York
North Tonawanda, New York
Ridgewood, New York
Rochester, New York
South Richmond Hill, New York
Southold, New York
Staten Island, New York
West Islip, New York
Yonkers, New York
Asheville, North Carolina
Cary, North Carolina (2 reports)
Concord, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Graham, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Carrollton, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio (2 reports)
Corning, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio
Guysville, Ohio
Haskins, Ohio
Hilliard, Ohio
Lebanon, Ohio
North Ridgeville, Ohio
Oak Harbor, Ohio
Sidney, Ohio
Williamsburg, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Bangor, Pennsylvania
Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania
Erie, Pennsylvania
Irwin, Pennsylvania
Meshoppen, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Saint Thomas, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Whitehall, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
West Kingston, Rhode Island
Edisto Island, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina (2 reports)
Yankton, South Dakota
Clarksville, Tennessee
Elizabethton, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee (2 reports)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Ooltewah, Tennessee
Sevierville, Tennessee
Summertown, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Bullard, Texas
Cleburne, Texas
Conroe, Texas
Copperas Cove, Texas
Crosby, Texas
Deer Park, Texas
Edinburg, Texas
Euless, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Helotes, Texas
Houston, Texas (4 reports)
Kaufman, Texas
La Porte, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
Needville, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
Paris, Texas
Pflugerville, Texas
Red Oak, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Troup, Texas
Tyler, Texas
Waco, Texas
Weatherford, Texas
Essex Junction, Vermont
Alexandria, Virginia (2 reports)
Ashburn, Virginia
Chesapeake, Virginia
Edinburg, Virginia
Gate City, Virginia
Hurt, Virginia
Newport News, Virginia
Penhook, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Sterling, Virginia
Walkerton, Virginia
Petersburg, West Virginia
Appleton, Wisconsin
Chilton, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Waukesha, Wisconsin
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Aug 21, 2019, AmyInNH from Brookline, NH wrote:

They look to prefer evergreens. With a big feeder of sunflower seeds up against my bedroom patio doors, they're regulars at predominantly dawn and dusk. Generally very skittish, but occasionally give the squirrels a piece of their mind, when the squirrels are too long at the feeder.


On Aug 1, 2018, PriscillaKing from Gate City, VA wrote:

Not sure how many generations have been year-round residents and pets at my home...since 1971. From the human point of view everything about these birds is good. They're too small and too territorial to be messy, they look cute, they sound cheering, they eat insects, and they eat my privet seeds in winter and keep the privet from becoming the Invasive Nuisance some people fear! If they also eat an occasional berry or cherry, they've earned it.


On Jul 23, 2018, papa1 from Dearborn, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have a Cardinal in my yard that has learned he can "talk" me into putting seed out for him. Oftentimes, when he sees me in the yard, he will follow me around up in the trees peeping. That prompts me to put some safflower seed out for him and he readily devours it. Sometimes the female will show up to share.


On May 9, 2017, VooDooU from Yankton, SD wrote:

I found this guy happily riding my peonies of pests in Yankton , SD


On Feb 12, 2016, MICardinal from Beaverton, MI wrote:

After two years of planting just the right plants and setting up a few feeders, they have come. Lord, the Norther Cardinal is such a beautiful sight in the middle of a dreary winter. There are almost 20 of them living in my trees.

We are building a new home on 14 wooded acres and have already worked with a local nursery to add several bird-favorite plants in gardens being cut into the woods along our walking trail. My hope is, "If you plant it, they will come!"


On Jun 26, 2012, henrimonet from Cary, NC wrote:

Two years ago I noticed what I can only describe as a male 'bald-headed' Cardinal in my yard. At the time a visitor told me it was that way due to eating wet birdseed... Last year the bird simply disappeared and I assumed it had died. However this past spring he reappeared and since that time my yard has come alive with about a half-dozen bald-headed Cardinals, both male and female, all seemingly living in harmony and nesting with regular appearing birds. Today I counted another couple of young birds, all bald-headed. My question: Has anyone else noticed this among their backyard Cardinal population? If so, do you have any idea what causes this condition? And finally, is this condition hereditary or is it merely conincidence? Doc Thorne, Cary NC.


On Sep 25, 2011, 2onions from Naples, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

These birds visit my feeders mostly at sunrise and sunset year round. In the summer there is one pair that dominates. In the winter they flock together. It is a beautiful sight to see the brilliant red of the males and the softer buff of the females in the fading light against the bleak brown winter landscape. Sometimes there are as many as three dozen at one time.


On Jul 25, 2011, flashgarden from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I've recently hung bird feeders and it is wonderful to see these beautiful cardinals come to enjoy their seeds. I have two feeders in a tree and then I spread seed on the ground. They like to get on the ground almost more than the feeders. Both the females and the males take advantage of the free food! I even saw a small baby cardinal on the ground. I'm making a bird city with more feeders and a bird bath. I plan on buying quite a few bird houses and have about 6 or 7 on poles but fixed where I can clean them out. I will grow blooming vines up the poles. I've never done this so if not such a good idea, need comments. I have even had woodpeckers come to my feeders.


On Jul 25, 2011, pikeman from Pflugerville, TX wrote:

We have several families of these birds in our neighborhood and they frequent our yard every day. I've planted a bee, bird, butterfly and hummingbird habitat, so they like it. Additionally they are very enthusiastic in the bird bath. It always needs some more water when they are done. And they also are drawn to the sprinkler, perching in a bush while it gets hit with the water.


On Aug 8, 2010, Carolina_Birder from Summerville, SC wrote:

There is a male and female who visit my feeders year round. In the early summer I also had three juveniles visit for a short while. They are very pretty birds and are very loyal in coming to visit multiple times a day.


On Jun 26, 2010, tvksi from Paris, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

When I was a child I lived in an area of heavy winter snow and cedar trees. The snow was wet and piled up on the branches and in this almost totally white world only the green underside of the branches peeked out and darting and picking were seemingly a dozen of these beautiful birds, like live ornaments on a Christmas tree. 70 some odd years and the site is still clear and beautiful in my memory. I really feel blessed when Mother nature allows me to witness such beauty.

The photography is not no great, but here is a scene in my back yard of parents feeding a fledging.


On Jun 14, 2010, garden_geezer from Biloxi, MS wrote:

At least two pair are residents and look to me for their daily
sunflower seeds. One recently landed on my head while waiting.
Successful nesting this year has required a whole lot more seed
when they brought the fledgelings to the feeder.


On Jun 12, 2010, SaberLily from Winchester, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

You haven't really lived in Virginia until you've seen one of these beauties (VA is one of the states designating the cardinal as state bird). They can be seen at any time of the year, but they are most striking in the winter months when there is less foliage, and ideally against a backdrop of snow.

While rather shy, they aren't afraid to muscle in past the juncos at the feeder during winter (juncos are not particularly aggressive, but they tend to bogart the feeder).


On Apr 16, 2010, nutsaboutnature from Algonquin, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

We have a lot of these beautiful birds in our area. We see them all day long at our feeders, in the trees & on the ground, but their favorite times to feed are at dawn & dusk. If you look closely just before dark, you might see quite a few of them gathered around a feeder or on the ground.

In Spring a male will sometimes feed a female a "tidbit" of food. It's very sweet. It looks like he gives her a quick kiss, but if you're lucky, you might spot him pick up a sunflower seed or other goody & feed it to her.

There's so much to love about Northern Cardinals & apparently a lot of people do. I believe 7 states call it their "State Bird", including my state of Illinois.


On Oct 18, 2009, beckygardener from (Becky) in Sebastian, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

There is a nice sized population of these birds in my immediate area. They come to my single bird feeder several times a day. I see them flying in and out of my backyard in the late afternoons. They appear to be playing chase with each other. They aren't easily frightened by me. (Probably because I feed them.)

They are truly beautiful birds and a joy to watch!


On May 11, 2009, dwelpgarden from Beverly Hills, FL wrote:

A little bird flew into our home yesterday. We took it outside and after a few minutes it flew to a nearby bush. As soon as it took off a pair of cardinals followed into this bush. I'm trying to identify this bird. I have photos.


On Jan 11, 2009, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

For my yard, the Northern Cardinal is a shy bird who comes to the bird feeder certain times of year, mostly the coldest of winter, but also once in a while in spring and fall - usually the pairs are together.


On Dec 27, 2008, plantladylin from (Zone 1) wrote:

The Northern Cardinal is a very common bird, and a favorite for many of us! The male is very recognizable because of it's vivid red color and black mask. The female is more subdued in coloration, a brownish color with some reddish markings. I love it's sweet little song, and so enjoy seeing them at the feeders. Their diet consists of wild fruits, seeds and occasionally insects. They especially seem to love sunflower seed.