Get to Know the North­ern Car­di­nal

— Grade 6 Crolan­cia Pub­lic School, Pickle Lake, Ont.

Wild - - DID YOU KNOW... - By Evan Both

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.

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