110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Nature Scenes: What is this handsome bird?
By Lynn Bowen
posted Sep 29, 2013 - 8:41:33am
As Alex Trebek's stand-in, let me present these clues to the panelists:
1. This beautiful, robin-sized bird loves Central Florida.
2. He has a crown like a king and a black mask like a bandit, but is neither one.
3. This petite male aviator's coloring rivals rubies and garnets.
4. This bird gets its name from the red robes worn by Roman Catholic cardinals.
Oops — that clue gave away the answer! "What is a Northern cardinal?" was your response in the form of a question, and is correct!
One of the easiest birds to identify is the 8.75-inch crimson-red Northern cardinal that flies and flits at parks and neighborhoods, delighting its audience. The male is red-plumed, but the female is just as pretty, even though she has pale orange, yellow and tan feathers. Male and female each weigh 1.6 ounces and live in the eastern half of the U.S. and Mexico in small trees at edges of forests, swamps and suburban areas.
Insects and fruit are the diet of cardinals, and they also love to eat at bird feeders. Bird lovers put up feeders, not only to feed birds, but for the pleasure of seeing them.
Male Northern cardinals are quite aggressive, especially when defending their territory, but the females are generally shy.
There is always joy in seeing a Northern cardinal.
— Bowen lives in DeLand. Send email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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