Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
The Northern Cardinal has a broad distribution in eastern and southwestern portions of the U.S., and has expanded its range northward due to moderating climate and availability of bird feeders. The Northern Cardinal lives up to its name by the male’s bright red plumage, and studies have shown that the brightest males are the most successful at raising young.
Many but not all pairs of cardinals remain together throughout the winter. Breeding territories are strongly defended but loose flocks of cardinals often form in the winter months. Exposure to inclement weather and predation by both avian and mammalian predators such as cats are known sources of mortality in cardinals. The oldest known wild cardinal was over 12 years old.