Fun Facts You Never Knew

About Cardinals

Only male cardinals have fully red feathers, and some males have a brighter red coloring than others.

2. Male cardinals’ red coloring comes from  their food.

Cardinals enjoy foods rich in carotenoids, such as berries, wild grapes, apples, and safflower seeds homeowners place in feeders.

To do so, they press their beak right up against the female’s beak, making it look as if the two birds are kissing.

Cardinals sing beautifully—and can produce more than 24 different songs.

5. Cardinals were named after religious figures.

Their red coloring reminded people of the red cassocks (robes) worn by the Catholic cardinals.

Instead, they may have either orange or yellow pigments.

Cardinals are territorial and can mistake their reflection for another male threatening their space.

8. Cardinals don’t migrate.

They stay in the same area where they spend the spring and summer and continue to forage for food through fall and winter.

During early morning and dusk, there are fewer other birds around, so cardinals may be trying to get food when there's less competition.

Two professional sports teams feature the cardinal as their mascot: the Saint Louis Cardinals (Major League Baseball) and the Arizona Cardinals (National Football League).

11. The Northern Cardinal  is the state bird for seven states.

The Northern cardinal is the official state bird of North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky.

In 1918, when the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed, it was no longer legal for individuals to keep a wild bird as a pet.

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