Get to Know the Northern Cardinal
— Grade 6 Crolancia Public School, Pickle Lake, Ont.
The Northern Cardinal is an interesting-looking bird. The adult male is bright red, while the female is brown or green with a bit of red on its chest, crest and wing tips. Male cardinals have a black mask. Females don’t usually have a mask but have dark brown markings on their face. Each has a coneshaped orange bill, a long tail and a feathery chest.
Males are very territorial of their breeding grounds and will defend them. During the spring, you might see a male attacking the window. He is attacking his reflection in the glass, because he thinks the reflection is an intruder.
Cardinals communicate through calls and songs. Mating couples will sing a similar song of whistles. A female Cardinal will sing from her nest during mating season to tell the male she needs more food. But when predators get too close to the nest, she will chirp loudly to scare them away.