The Cardinal is probably one of the most recognizable and popular backyard birds because of its brilliant red color and crested head. It is a great bird to admire year-round. The color contrast of the brilliant red against fresh white snow really is a high point during the winter months. Early settlers were said to have named this bird after the Cardinals of the Catholic Church who wore red robes.
Both sexes are accomplished songsters and may be heard at any time of year. Cardinals will mate for life and remain together throughout the entire year. That's why you will usually see a male and female together at your feeding station.
Male and female Cardinals both sing. Songs are loud, beautiful whistled phrases. In some songs, you may hear a sound like "whoit whoit whoit" and "whacheer whacheer." These songs are used in forming territories and in courtship. Male and female cardinals use "chirps" as contact calls and alarms. They also have many visual displays such as "tail-flicks" to signal alarm. The crest may be raised and lowered. Strongly territorial, males will fight other males, along with their own reflection in windows!
January 3rd, 2013
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