Meet Big Red - The Cardinal
Do you know Ohio’s official state bird? It's the cardinal! Cardinals are found across our state, both in cities and in the country. But only male cardinals are red. Female cardinals are a reddish-brown color that helps them hide while nesting.
Cardinals are also common at bird feeders. What do you think they like to eat? By looking at a cardinal's cone-shaped beak, you can tell that it is a seed eater. They will also eat some insects. Cardinals find their food in a mixed habitat of woods, brush, and forest edges.
Nest building for cardinals usually begins in April. A female will build her nest in a bush using leaves, twigs, grasses, and strips of bark. She then lays her eggs and sits on them for 12 to 13 days to hatch them. Her brightly-colored mate helps by bringing her food. The male also feeds the young cardinals when the eggs hatch.
Once the young leave the nest, the male cardinal cares for them for about three more weeks. In the meantime, the female is already starting another nest. Cardinals may nest two or three times each year. Like most songbirds, cardinals live only about one year.
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