Spotlight on Ohio Birds

Northern Cardinal-Cardinalis cardinalis

Family: Cardinaldae

Order: Passeriformes

Description: 8-9″ (20-23 cm)                                                                                                      Male: Bright red with crest, black face and stout red bill.                                           Female: Buff-brown tinted with red on crest, wings and tail.

Voice: A rich what-cheer, cheer, cheer  or sweet, purty, purty, purty or a metallic chip.

Habitat:                                                                                                                                Woodland edges, thickets, brushy swamps and gardens.

Nesting:                                                                                                                                                 3 or 4 pale green eggs spotted with red-brown, in a deep cup of twigs, leaves and plant fiber concealed in a thicket.


FYI’s: Named after the red robes worn by Roman Catholic Cardinals, these territorial birds are found year round throughout their range.

Being a permanent resident, in the Winter they can congregate into flocks numbering as many as 60 individuals. It’s not uncommon to see 20-80 Northern Cardinals in a single day of Winter birding.

In late February and March the flock will disband into nesting pairs and claim their territory for breeding season.

They rank as one of our most familiar native song birds, and has been adopted by 7 states as their state bird, outnumbering all others. For this reason is why I choose the Northern Cardinal as the 1st bird to be listed for my new feature.

Resource material provided by:

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology/

The Birds of Ohio by Bruce G. Peterjohn


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