Cardinal – State Bird of Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and more

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The Northern Cardinal is one of the most well known birds in America. It is undoubtedly a favorite as Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky all honor the cardinal as their state bird. Two professional sports teams and several universities have made the cardinal their mascots.

┬áIn most places, the cardinal can not be mistaken for any other bird. The Summer or Scarlet Tanager may look similar from a distance, but the cardinal usually gives itself away with its loud, musical whistle, or short “check” note. Upon closer inspection, the cardinal’s red crest, conical red bill, and black mask distinguish it. The female cardinal is tan with red feathers on the crest, wing, and tail. The bill is bright orange. Most cardinals measure about 7-8 inches in length. Both the male and female cardinal sing.


Cardinals are easily attracted to backyard feeders with sunflower seeds. Cardinals also eat other seeds and insects. They may also nest in backyard gardens or trees.


Cardinals are very common throughout the eastern and southwestern United States in yards, gardens, woodlands, and deserts. Male and females stay together for life, and can be seen throughout the year in most places.


Cardinals are very common.