5 Things to Know About Cardinals
Cardinals are sweet birds that are the delight of birdwatchers.
This could be because they’re so easy to spot with their bright red plumage. Male cardinals can become quite territorial during the breeding season and will fight their own reflection for hours. Not very satisfying for the bird, but so amusing for birdwatchers.
Are you an avid birdwatcher? Read on to add some facts to your ever-growing wealth of bird knowledge!
1. Cardinals Food Makes Them Red
Female cardinals are a plain light brown color, but the male cardinals are typically bright red. While this is dictated by their genes, it’s activated by the carotenoids in the food they eat. In fact, if the right red-triggering food is in short supply, the usually red cardinal male’s colors will fade to something closer to brown.
2. Cardinals Mate for Life
Like true valentines, cardinals find their partner and remain attached for as long they live. During nesting season, the male bird makes it his mission to help his lady. He fetches nesting material while she builds.
Unlike most other songbirds, both male and female cardinals sing. Female cardinals sing while sitting on the nest they made. She does this to let the male in her life know that she’s hungry!
3. Cardinals Love Kissing
Not really, but during courtship, the male expresses his affection to the female by feeding her seeds ‘beak to beak’. It doesn’t take much imagination to think of it as the bird form of kissing.
Black oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and white milo are high on a cardinal food wish list. They also eat cracked corn, berries, and crushed peanuts. If you want to attract them to your garden, you’ll find the best cardinal feeder for your garden here: https://www.birdinformer.com/best-cardinal-bird-feeders/
4. Cardinals Can Go Bald!
If you see a bald cardinal, don’t worry. This usually happens late in summer when they lose all the tired, old feathers to make way for new ones. While this happens to all songbirds, cardinals tend to look bald as the head feathers usually fall out all at once.
5. Cardinals Are Dawn and Twilight Diners
Cardinals tend to be the first to feed in the mornings and the last to feed at the end of the day. While there aren’t clear reasons for this, the most logical conclusion is that they prefer picking their seeds without having to compete for them with other birds.
Survival instinct also plays a part in their unusual dining habits. With their bright colors, they are also less conspicuous during the gloomier times of the day.
As cardinals tend not to migrate, they are around all year to brighten your garden and fill the air with their songs. Get the right feeder, the food they like, and the common cardinal will become a regular visitor to your garden.
If you’ve enjoyed this feathery post, browse our lifestyle/nature tab for more articles about the beautiful world we live in.