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Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Natural History

The Northern Cardinal is a member of the Cardinal Family. The male is bright red with a reddish bill and black face. The female is light brown or tan and red, with a red bill and crest. It has a large range which extends from southern Ontario to South America. It prefers woodland edges, mesquite thickets and riparian areas.

The photo at right is of a female Cardinal.

Cardinals feed on insects, berries and seeds. In the spring the birds build a cup-shaped nest of twigs and plant stems, lined with grasses and hairs, usually in a dense shrub or mesquite 5-10 feet off the ground. Females lay 3-4 eggs that are incubated for 12-13 days. Cardinals typically raise 2-3 broods per year.

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