We have had so many cardinals at our house recently that I decided to try to find some facts about them. I’m in Texas and we have had two solid weeks of sleet, ice, and snow so we have been filling up three bird feeders and enjoying the birds – lots of doves and cardinals.
I wondered why all the cardinals (also called “red birds”) are still here and not down in South Texas. I found they don’t migrate. My husband had been telling me only the males are that bright-beautiful red color.
As I compared pictures, I noticed each one of these males had a little different black around their faces. He brought a bird book into the kitchen today as we were watching and
My husband went to the bookcase and brought a bird book into the kitchen today as we were watching, and yep he was right.
We also realized the ones we thought were new, younger males are really the females – they are a much tan/gray color.
The younger ones don’t have the colored beaks. They are the only one with a crest in the United States.
Cardinals are the only one with a crest in the United States so, for me, it’s a give away when I see that crest.
As we watched out the kitchen window we saw at least four bright red ones and two of the tan/gray colored ones so looks like we’ll have many more in the years to come to enjoy.
Last week when it snowed, I would stand my grandson on the kitchen counter top and he would squeal and wave his little hands each time one of the bright red males flew in. We had to be careful because they are spooky and fly off.
It appears the male birds like many others, feed and help take care of their mate during mating season. They usually have about three to six eggs. I love this because next year we’ll have babies. Wish I could spot a nest and watch them hatch.
In National Geographic I found that “their average life span is 15 years, they are 8-9 inches, they weigh 1.5 to 1.8 oz., and unlike many songbirds both male and female sing, and the female often vocalizes from her nest.”
In Birdhouses101 I found something very interesting I loved. They “eat 51 kinds of beetles, four types of grasshoppers, termites, ants, flies, dragonflies and 12 kinds of homoptera which includes leaf hoppers, cicadas and aphids.” Oh yea, red birds come eat those grasshoppers, termites, flies and ants, but PLEASE leave my dragonflies alone.
I also read today they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Who would want to kill one?
And here is a picture of two that were on the other side of the driveway so hard to shoot under some trees, but they appear to be male and female mates. Sooooo stinkin’ cute.
SLOW DOWN and catch a glimpse of a beautiful cardinal! Thanking God for these moments these past two weeks and so many, many more.