The exceptionally vibrant Northern Cardinal, with its signature bright red feathers and orange bill, holds a distinction that no other bird can claim: it is the state bird of seven states (Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina)!
Ranging throughout the midwest and eastern states, it is also found in southern Arizona and northern Mexico, as well as most of Texas. This finch, for the northern cardinal is indeed a finch, is popular wherever it is found. Of course, you don’t always find it perched on cactus, as is the case here. This fine fellow stopped for a while in the crook of a piece of cholla cactus, making this a uniquely southwestern piece.
This bird does not migrate, meaning you can hear its clear call of “cheer cheer cheer” or “purty purty purty” year round, lending cheering and prettiness throughout the year. Best of all, the northern cardinal population is on the rise, and there are no conservation issues with this fine bird.
The next time you see a flash of red pass by, it just might be the cardinal, heading out to forage, or perhaps returning to its nest, but in any event, adding joy and beauty to the day.