Cardinal photos courtesy Pete Williams, Gulf Breeze, Florida
Copyright (c) 2006 Pete Williams
The Northern Cardinal reaches an overall length of 7 to 8.5 inches. Look for a prominent crest and a conical reddish bill. The male is bright red with black around the eye and bill. The female is brownish yellow with red on the wings and tail. The preferred habitat of this beautiful bird is open woods, forest edtes, thickets, suburbs and parks.
The rich coloring and its readiness to come to feeders have made it a favorite among bird-watchers. Its varied musical repertoire consists of loud, clear whistles that are usually repeated several times. Male and female may sing alternately, as if in response to each other. This species is one of a number of southern birds that have extended their ranges northward during this century. Among the others are the Mockingbird, Tufted Titmouse, Turkey Vulture, and the Red-bellied Woodpecker.