Bird of the Week: The Northern Cardinal

    11:32 AM, Dec 20, 2012   |    comments
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    A male Northern Cardinal. (Photos: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission)

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Every Thursday on "THV 11 News at Noon" we spotlight a different bird you can see in Arkansas. This week we're going with a bird everyone is familiar with: The Northern Cardinal!

    This bird is a favorite for many, and especially to casual birders. It is a "gateway bird", if you will; the bird that gets so many people to open a field guide for the first time. This is because they are common, present year-round, and non-secretive, and combined with the fact that males are such a gorgeous and striking color, with an equally striking crest of feathers on their little noggins.

    Also, some interesting facts are that most songbird females do not sing, but female cardinals do, and often while they are sitting on the nest. This is likely to communicate to the male about activities at or around the nest or when to bring food to the nest.

    Also, many people have been calling the Arkansas Game and Fish saying cardinals are acting a little crazy and attacking their windows. This is because they, especially the males, are fierce defenders of their territories during the breeding season and see their reflections in windows and think they are competitors so they may spend hours per day defending their territories from themselves!

    Cardinals are here year-round and do not migrate. People call them "Christmas birds", probably because of their Christmas-like coloration and of course now they are a popular image for Christmas decorations.

    Many people who have always lived in Arkansas would also be surprised to know that these birds do not occur in the western U.S. and that people visiting Arkansas have sighting a cardinal high up on their list of activities while they are visiting!

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