We Are Listening...
Say something like...
"Show me 4health dog food..."

You will be taken automatically to your search results.

Please enable your microphone

Your speech was not recognized

Click the microphone in the search bar to try again, or start typing your search term.

We are Searching now...

Your results will display momentarily!

My TSC Store:
Nearby Stores:
My Tractor Supply store

There are no items in the cart. Start shopping to add items to your cart. There are no items in the cart. Start shopping to add items to your cart. Log in to your TSC Account to see items added to cart previously or from a different device. Log In

 Subtotal:
See price at checkout

    Tractor Supply Company

    Find it in App Store

    Cardinal Facts: 9 Things You May Not Know

    Authored by Jodi Helmer

    Thanks to their bright red feathers, black face masks and orange beaks, male Cardinals are among the most recognizable songbirds—but it’s not just their iconic appearances that make Northern Cardinals, sometimes called Virginia Nightingales or Winter Redbirds, a standout species.

    Here are nine interesting facts about Cardinals.

    1. Cardinals belong to a colorful family.

    Other species in the “Cardinalidae” family include the Hepatic Tanager, Scarlet Tanager and Western Tanager, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting and Painted Bunting that turn heads with their colorful plumage.

    2. Cardinals make great mates.

    Male Cardinals know their flashy looks attract mates but they don’t just depend on their looks to attract females. Male Cardinals often feed females seeds during courtship.

    Males and females are often spotted together. Like male Cardinals, females also have long tails, crested heads and bright beaks but their feathers are a more subdued fawn color with a few red accents. In fact, cardinal couples often mate for life—or at least stick together over several breeding seasons. Research shows that just 20 percent of cardinal couples separate each year.

    3. Cardinals are popular mascots.

    The species is so beloved that Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia all chose the Northern cardinal as their state bird; professional sports teams like the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and Arizona Cardinals NFL team and colleges, including the University of Louisville, Concordia University and Ball State University chose the cardinal as their mascot.

    4. Cardinals are crooners.

    In most populations of North American songbirds, males do most of the singing, but female Cardinals are serious vocalists. Sure, male Cardinals sing louder and more often, but their mates join in, too. 

    Cardinal couples often sing duets during mating season and female Cardinals sing while incubating or caring for chicks or to communicate with their mates to bring food or scare off predators. 

    Scientists have recorded Cardinals singing 24 different songs with the most common described as “cheer, cheer, cheer,” “sweet-sweet-sweet-sweet” and “pew, pew, pew.”

    5. Cardinals are territorial.

    It’s common to see male Cardinals attacking their reflections in windows or car mirrors, especially during spring and summer. The behavior is an attempt to defend their territories and Cardinals are dogged in pursuit of the perceived threat. Females often engage in the behavior, too.

    In the winter, Cardinals band together to find food. These flocks of brightly colored birds are called a conclave, college, radiance or Vatican of Cardinals.

    6. Cardinals can be yellow.

    A genetic variation called xanthochroism can turn a male cardinal’s feathers from bright red to vibrant shades of yellow and orange. A separate species called Yellow Cardinal (Gubernatrix cristata) is an endangered bird native to South America where it’s often trapped and sold into the caged bird market. Both types of yellow Cardinals are rare but sightings are possible.

    7. Cardinals don't migrate.

    Unlike songbirds that set out in search of warmer climates in the winter, Cardinals stick close to home, which might be the reason the bright red birds are often featured against snowy backdrops on greeting cards. 

    The Northern cardinal, once abundant in the Southeast, has extended its range and can now be found in the Southwest, Midwest, Canada and Mexico. Experts believe that the Cardinals found in the Sonoran Desert might not be Northern Cardinals but a different species altogether because the birds have larger, longer crests and males are a paler shade of red.

    8. Cardinals have long breeding seasons.

    It takes Cardinals between three and nine days to build their nests out of materials like twigs, weeds, grass and leaves. Their preferred nesting locations are on high perches in dense foliage; Cardinals are often found in hedgerows, forests and ornamental landscaping.

    Females start laying eggs in the spring and often continue through August, hatching up to four broods every year. Cardinal eggs are off white or greenish white with pale grey to brown speckles that measure around in inch long. Cardinals have up to five eggs in a clutch; their incubation period is 11 to 13 days (about 2 weeks), and their young leave the nest after 12 to 13 days (about 2 weeks).

    Once the babies hatch, Cardinals feed them up to eight times per hour. Males help with feeding, staying near the nest to help with parenting duties.

    9. Cardinals have diverse diets.

    It’s not hard to attract Cardinals to bird feeders. In addition to their diet of berries, seeds and insects like grasshoppers, ants, caterpillars and beetles, Cardinals will flock to tube or platform feeders filled with all kinds of birdseeds; black oil sunflower seeds and safflower seeds are species favorites. Their short, cone-shaped beaks are just the right shape for cracking open hulls to get to the delicious seeds.

    More birding knowledge

    Choosing bird food for your backyard visitors can be as easy as buying a mix. If you want to entice specific birds, check out this list see which birds likes what seed.
    Learn how to attract wild birds to your backyard. Read more to find out the most common backyard birds, what plantings are attractive and the equipment you want to get the most from your bird watching.