Each state in the United States has a designated official “State Bird”. Trying to see each state’s bird while in that state can be an exciting way to keep your family alert to the environment while traveling and camping.
The Cardinal, more than any other bird, is claimed for the State Bird. It’s claimed in seven states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia! It is also interesting to note that four of those states are in a cluster, mainly: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. The Western Meadowlark comes in second with six states, followed by Mockingbirds with five states.
The Cardinal is about 9 inches long (about 22 cm). Males of this species are of various shades of red, depending on their subspecies, and have a black “mask” from the eyes to the throat. Females and young of this species are buffy brown, with touches of red on the crest, wings, tail and breast. Both sexes have red bills.
Cardinals do not migrate. Their loud song is given by females too, which is unusual in northern songbirds. It may be heard on the first sunny days of late winter. They live mostly in thick bushes or vines. Their nests are bulky masses of twigs, rootlets, and strips of bark, lined with grasses and other finer material. Both male and female Cardinals build their cup-shaped nest, and the male helps rear the young. Cardinals are essentially monogamous, and are not very gregarious. Because of this, they might stand out if you’re specifically looking for both male and female, as well as spotting the male’s unique and bright scarlet coloring. The special adaptation in the male is red and lures enemies away. Also, the female can blend in with the nest.