Illinois State Bird
Illinois state bird: Northern Cardinal
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Illinois State Bird Description:
- Size: 8 to 9 inches (21-23 cm)
- Wingspan: 10 to 12 inches (25-31 cm)
- Weight: 1.48 to 1.69 ounces (42-48 g)
The Northern Cardinal is a medium sized songbird. It has a
crest on its head, a heavy, conical red bill and a face that is
surrounded by black. The male Cardinal is bright red with black
around the base of its reddish bill.
The female is grayish tan with reddish wings, tail and crest.
The face of both the male and female is black at the base of the
reddish bill. Their legs and feet are dark red. The juvenile Cardinal
resembles the female, but it has grey black bill.
The Northern Cardinal lives in woodland edges, swamps, streamside
thickets, and vegetation around houses in sub-urban areas.
The Northern Cardinal eats seeds, fruits, buds and insects. Can be
attracted to bird feeders with sunflower
. Is more likely to feed from platform
. Usually seen at feeders at dawn and at dusk.
Nests are usually built in small trees or shrubs, 1 to 15 feet
above the ground.
The nest is constructed from twigs, bark strips,
vines, leaves, hair, and grass. Clutch will contain 2 to 5 eggs and
incubation lasts 12 to 13 days.
A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Illinois
- At your feeder you may see mate feeding
between a mating pair of Cardinals. The male will pick up a seed
and take it to the female. They will momentarily touch beaks as she
takes the food. This may occur as often as four times per minute.
- The female will often sing from the nest to
alert the male that it is time to bring food.
- The male Cardinal is very territorial
and will vigorously defend his breeding territory. He may even fight
his own reflection if he sees it in a window.
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