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The very distinct song of the Northern Cardinal can be easily recognized as you sit in your yard on a beautiful spring afternoon. Quite suddenly you will hear a bird calling, "birdie, birdie, birdie," in quick succession and if you recognize this call you will know that your visitor is a Northern Cardinal. When you spy this illusive bird you will notice that it has a heavy red cone shaped bill. The male is strikingly red overall with a black facial area around the bill. As he flies around the yard chasing insects he will always keep a watchful eye on his nesting area.
Both the male and female have a crested head. The female and juveniles are generally browner and duller with red areas in the wing and tail. These non-migratory are found all year round in woodland, swamps and suburbs. They feed mostly on insects and some berries. The Northern Cardinal will nest in thick vegetation that is close to open areas. The nest will be built in a low area and is loosely assembled out of small roots, twigs and shredded bark. These will form a deep cup in which the female will lay three or four light green eggs with reddish spots. Both the male and female will feed their young but the male will spend much of his time protecting the nesting area. Even though the song of the Northern Cardinal rarely changes, at times they will sing a varied song consisting of penetrating loud rich whistles, given from perches high within the trees.