Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis
Male cardinals are bright red and much easier to spot — but if you are skilled and lucky, you might be able to see a camouflaged brownish female nearby, too!
The northern cardinal, also known as the redbird, is native to the eastern US, parts of Canada, and most of Mexico. It lives in woodlands, shrublands, swamps, and has been known to inhabit people’s gardens. These birds eat mainly seeds and fruits, and sometimes scavenge for small insects to feed to their young.
Once a pair of cardinals mate, they are together for life. The male sometimes provides food for the female and materials for the nest, but the relationship can go both ways. Cardinals typically lay 3-4 eggs at a time and can do this 2-3 times each year.
As Wisconsin’s climate warms, tree species will move northward into more habitable lands. This tree migration will open up a broader range for the cardinal’s habitat, and can be a good thing for the bird’s survival in the near-term. Along with a warming climate, cardinals’ habitats are becoming more developed and inhabited by humans. Because cardinals are able to make their homes in people’s yards and gardens, how might you help create more habitat for these beautiful birds?